Last weekend we visited with my in-laws, who were down from DC for a presentation my father-in-law was giving in Tampa. A great opportunity for a family visit and a trip to the beach, we loaded up the car and headed south.
Not, of course, without first cooking a weekend worth of eatables for the family.
Most people consider a vacation a time to forget about all the daily chores and household duties; a time to kick back and relax. Eating out is par for the course–how else would you get your meals when away from home without a kitchen?
Because my husband and I both share in a commitment to eating pure vegetarian food, preferably home cooked with a whole lot of love thrown into it (it makes a difference, let me assure you), we hardly ever get to eat in restaurants. As I’ve mentioned before, we won’t eat where meat is served. At the very least, we are freaked out about cross-contamination. What to speak of the fact that the smell kills our appetite (and totally upsets our kids).
So going away–be it for a day or a weekend or even an extended period of time–requires real forethought. And work. For our trip, which was just an overnight jaunt, I prepared pizzas, slabs of pan fried tofu and salad/dressing. I also washed a whole lot of fruit, bagged up pistachios and bought along some string cheese for the kids.
There are moments when I think, “This is crazy!” but this is the choice we’ve made. And we explain that to our kids, giving them room to make their own decisions about their eating habits when they get older.
It would be nice to think that my kids are developing such a love for cooking and homemade meals that they would never contemplate ordering in a pizza or getting the veg meal at a meat restaurant, but that would be naive of me. (I do sure as hell hope, however!)
Most vegetarians don’t think twice about ordering a meal at a restaurant that serves meat. It is a non-issue for them. My husband and I have discussed this at length and have also discussed people we know who have stopped being vegetarian (thanks, Facebook, for cluing me into this phenomena). And we’ve concluded that these kinds of self-imposed restrictions are socially limiting, and people don’t want to do that.
Unless one surrounds themselves with like-minded eaters, it becomes difficult and awkward. Depending on the social situation…if you are the only one with such restrictions…you may be seen as difficult or awkward. Trust me, I know.
I could go on and on about it but this is a blog, not a book.
One thing I said to my husband during this discussion was that I hope people who find our eating habits (which are in some ways based on religious ritual and GOD–an often unpopular guy) irritating and limiting can at least respect that yeah, we do too! No, just kidding—kind of sort of–but anyway, I interrupt myself. Okay, what I was saying is, I hope that they can overlook the inconvenience of it and respect that we are truly dedicated to a world of non-violence. That we value life–all life–and cannot see our fellow inhabitants of this material and spiritual ecosystem as our entrees (or even our appetizers!).
We cannot sit down to a meal where violence is naturalized and socialized. Non-violent eating is not just ritual for us; it is a deep understanding of and protest against the suffering of this world.
But yeah, it is a total pain in the butt. But I guess that’s part of what makes it so meaningful.
They know the drill: Room Service