There’s a letter to the editor in the Washington County Daily News today advocating for a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal. Here’s a part:
Plant-based holiday roasts don’t have to carry government warning labels. You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family out of the hospital.Your body will appreciate a holiday from the fat, cholesterol and hormones.
You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip. You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.
Seriously, this Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health and happiness with a life affirming,cruelty-free feast of plant based holiday roast, vegetables, fruits and grains.
Good for them. To each their own. I have begun to notice a societal trend that annoys me. As a society, our eating habits are changing. Some people don’t eat meat, fish, gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, pork, or any number of things due to choice or some medical reason. I’m a carnivore, but when I plan a group meal, I always include a vegetarian option, a non-pork option if I have a Muslim or Jewish attendee, and try to accommodate any allergies if a guest lets me know ahead of time. I’m not crazy about it. I’m not going to try to accommodate every preference or eating habit under the sun, but it’s just being a good host to make your guests feel comfortable and give them options if you can.
Conversely, I don’t like to eat very many veggies. Sometimes I attend group events and there is very little there that I want to eat – and that’s totally fine. My eating habits are my own business. If I don’t find something I want to eat, I can still be a gracious guest and pick up a burrito on the way home.
But there seems to be a developing conflict in our cultural expectations. On the one hand, guests are getting more demanding that hosts cater to THEIR eating requirements – and they are getting uppity about it. A friend recently told me about how she was scolded for taking cup cakes to a birthday party because the boyfriend of the nanny of one the other guests (something like that… it was an obscure relation) doesn’t eat things made with eggs. The other guest couldn’t just skip past the cup cakes and have something else. She had to make a point of telling my friend that she was being insensitive with her choice of treat.
On the other hand, some hosts are militant about their own eating preferences. I guarantee you that if I went to Thanksgiving at the house of the person who wrote the letter above, they would make no attempt to accommodate my eating preference. They wouldn’t make a ham – just for people who don’t want to eat a vegetarian roast (whatever that is). They would insist that a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal is the only way to go and treat those of us who like to eat the flesh of animals with disdain.
These two evolving cultural phenomena are on a collision course.