Jane and I were at a holiday party Saturday night (that's where the pie went to that I mentioned in my previous post). It was hosted by neighbors down the block with whom we have a casual, nodding-hello, friendship. The party was a sit-down dinner, and was our first dinner party as vegans.
How to handle this? We really didn't know the hosts all that well prior to the party, so we didn't want to inconvenience them. But if they were planning on a "surf and turf" plated meal, we certainly weren't going to be able to participate in that, nor did we want them to waste their money on food we wouldn't eat. We decided that we would tell the hosts we were vegetarian, but didn't eat much cheese, and hope for the best. When Jane called to RSVP she reassured our hosts that we didn't require any special efforts on their part, and if they were worried we'd be more than happy to bring a vegan dish. Otherwise, we'd most likely be fine with the salad and sides they were serving.
Indeed everything did work out fine. We had a number of vegetarian sides to choose from, and our hosts prepared a few of their items meat-free specifically for us. Somehow the conversation got around to our "peculiar" eating habits so Jane outed us as vegans. The couple from the mid-west didn't know what "vegan" meant. When Jane explained we eat no animal product, the wife asked us if we ate fish. I guess if you come from cattle country, fish aren't animals...
We were asked to all bring a dessert, and the dessert table looked wonderful! There were brownies and caramel squares, and lemon bars. In addition to those goodies, there were two cakes and three pies: Jane's Apple Pie, and two pies from Marie Callendar's (a family style restaurant that is most famous for a wide variety pies). I can't speak to the quality of the other desserts because they all contained eggs and butter, so I didn't partake of them, but Jane's Apple Pie was wonderful. In fact, it was the most consumed dessert on the table. There were only two slices left at the end of the evening, and the poor Marie Callendar's apple pie sat there untouched.
Being a member of the estimated 1.4% of the United States population that is vegan certainly makes party-going a challenging event food-wise. But with a little planning and a bit of communication, everything can work out well in the end.