Chances are, when someone invites you to their summer barbecue, they aren’t talking about barbecuing cauliflower (which is delicious, by the way). They don’t call it a “Pig Roast” because they are planning on delivering tasteful comedy in the form of insults at the expense of an animal. Yes, we’ve all been there as vegans: attending any kind of social gathering can be tough when meat is the center of attention.
However (believe it or not) it can be done! There are plenty of other sources who would agree with me on this one. Here is my meat party survival guide for vegans:
Bring Your “A” Game
Generally when it comes to parties, the host asks you to bring a dish. Even if they don’t, I would encourage you to bring two, if you can. This ensures you have at least something to eat, worst case scenario, and you’ll look like you’re being super generous: a win-win.
If you are all out of ideas on recipes to make for a crowd, try fresh veggies and Lucky Green Dip, Rainbow Slaw, or maybe hit them with Vegan Jalapeño Poppers. Bonus points if someone asks you for your recipe; not only did you survive, but you conquered!
Explain; Don’t Linger
Imagine a conversation going:
“Hey, are you going to try the burgers? You look like you are starving with nothing but rabbit food on your plate.”
“Yeah, I bet that meaty dish tastes great, but I am vegan. I haven’t eaten meat since [insert approximate date, i.e. x number of years/months] because [insert brief personal explanation here].”
Expect to be confronted about your diet and come prepared. Food is, after all, a big part of everyone’s life.
People are curious, but you don’t want to over-explain yourself. Don’t be so blunt that they think your rude and don’t want to talk about it, but be concise enough to let them ask more questions if they want to know more instead of word vomiting your life all over them. Walk this fine line with poise and you should be alright.
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
Try to imagine how you are going to handle a situation before it presents itself to you. How are you going to handle that judge-y guy that worships the meat goddess? (Pro-tip: be the bigger person.) If someone tries to be considerate and cater to your needs, how will you react?
Thinking about how you would respond to negative comments or well-meaning gestures gives you an advantage. You have the chance to think of something kind and clever, as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction which you may regret later.
Evaluate Your Priorities
Why are you actually going to this party? What are your expectations? Are you going because of the food, or because of the company?
Contemplating these questions will help you decide how to handle any situation you may encounter while you are there. The important part of attending a party is enjoying it yourself; anything else is secondary. The goal as a vegan isn’t just to survive and live to tell the tale; you should also thrive!