Monday, November 3, 2008

Being Vegetarian in the Family--The Ward Family, that is.

When you bring another family dinner, because you found out about their situation in Relief Society and signed up to bring a meal, do you bring a vegetarian meal?

When you go to the Ward Potluck, do you bring a vegetarian dish?

The Potluck is easier than the "compassionate service." You can entirely sidestep the issue by bringing dessert or rolls. Usually several people bring carbohydrate-based eats that are vegetarian by chance.

I think it's cool to bring a full-meal vegetarian green salad, maybe with little squares of firm tofu tossed in with the dark greens, chopped vegetables, and balsamic vinaigrette. Or, at least I hope someone else brought one. Yum.

Bringing a meal to a particular family is a little trickier. My purpose is to serve, not to educate, and certainly not to browbeat. When I was a full-time vegetarian in a full-time vegetarian family, I often brought meatless lasagna with green salad and bread, and chocolate cake. I wanted to bring something familiar, and something the kids would eat. Sometimes I would just make them a meat lasagna while I made my meatless ones.

Two meals that were brought to me in my life, perhaps I wouldn't have dared to bring to someone else. The week I had my first baby, a friend brought me a curry-cauliflower-carrot soup that I still dream about. Ditto to the zuchini-tomato-rice with cheese casserole in another state after my son was born.

I don't have the recipe for either one.

I did used to gleefully make the missionaries my weirdest vegetarian creations, like good gypsy soup. I figured they weren't getting enough vegetables. With a side of sausages, just from frozen and cooked in the microwave. Since I didn't know how to cook meat. And some wheat rolls, in case they were homesick.

What do you like to bring?

What do you hope they'll bring you?


Scarehaircare said...

Absolutely take a vegetarian meal. My sweet veggie neighbor in a previous ward would make Chilaquiles casserole or a veggie lasagna with salad and dessert. No carnivorous family in the ward ever complained when she brought a meal.

I picked up the Chilaquiles recipe from her. I will also do a veggie version of my Creamy Chicken Chili when the occasion requires it.

Elizabeth-W said...

I've certainly done both. I'll do soups because they're easy to do.
I'm thinking we need to recreate that curried cauliflower/carrot soup....

FoxyJ said...

I generally bring something vegetarian--if it's someone I know well then I bring something more adventurous (I have a yummy rice and lentil dish), if it's someone I don't know so well then I bring something fairly familiar (lasagna, cheese enchiladas, etc). I've never had anyone complain about getting a meal without meat. There are quite a lot of tasty dishes that are pretty familiar and don't need to involve meat.

I also think that when we plan ward dinners we can be considerate of the dietary needs of those around us. Stuff like potato bars or taco bars are great because you can have a variety of options. That's also why I usually bring a main dish so that there's at least one non-meat option. Last year the stake I was in served a dinner before the women's broadcast. They actually made a vegetarian meal: polenta with a grilled vegetable/tomato sauce, salad, and garlic bread. Many of the women at my table had never had polenta before but they all loved it. Most people I've met are OK with an occasional non-meat meal, especially if it's not too exotic.