Personal Habits

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?
I wish.
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.
Trip Pics:

Late January Evening Swim

Cover your ears from the dinning!

They know the drill:  Room Service

A Room With An Urban View

Buddha’s Delight


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7 responses to “Personal Habits

  1. Herc

    When I lived in central PA, if you wanted to eat out, you pretty much had no choice but to go to a meaty place. Luckily, I got to know the cooks and they were very good about the cross-contamination. Still though, it didn’t excite me. However, in Seattle, there’s a ton of all vegan and all vegetarian places (all vegan donuts, all vegan pizza joints, all vegan chinese, thai, indian, etc – and the devotee-run “free cafe”). That’s great, it really is. But lately, I’ve rediscovered my love for cooking and only go out to eat about once a month …except for donuts – that’s once or twice a week – don’t panic, they’re organic!.. hehe.

  2. Trupti

    have you been to “Udipi” in Tampa?? its a vegetarian South Indian restaurant….at least it was there when I was living in Tampa 3 years ago….you and your family might enjoy it….just a your blog!truptithe spice who loved me

  3. Devadeva Mirel

    thank you trupti…i dig your blog too! so many tasty recipes…i read about udipi but i heard it was not so good. but you say it is good? i will have to check it out. i like to eat in restaurant….sure beats packing a picnic everywhere we go…lol!!!

  4. Trupti

    oh, really? hmm….maybe the quality of the food has gone down since it opened….I remember the first couple of months it opened, It was a full house every day….I love their Spring Onion Dosa….Let me know if you go….also, there’s another one “Mirch Masala” somewhere near USF (fowler) that is all vegetarian. I do miss Tampa for its restaurants! 😦

  5. Devadeva Mirel

    thanks, trupti. and now i have this problem…i can’t stop saying your name. TRUPTI! TRUPTI! TRUPTI! quite a fun one!

  6. nithya at hungrydesi

    Wow, I am in awe at your ability to pre-plan to avoid eating at places that serve meat. My husband and I are strict vegetarians, but I don’t think I could do that 🙂 I do, however, plan to brainwash my children into being vegetarian under a guise of letting them choose…I know it’s slightly unethical but I just can’t stand the thought!

  7. Devadeva Mirel

    actually, i think you have to brainwash kids to get them to eat meat. they seem to naturally think it is horrific!!!

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