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Mother-related post: I need to vent

I have been vegetarian for 20+ years.  My husband is almost vegan. My children are veg.  The oldest one is 12. That means my mother has had 12 plus years to figure out how to make a vegetarian meal for us.  Or get her butt to the library or Barnes and Noble.

St. Patrick's day is pushing me over the edge. She's got two huge pieces of corned beef and some cabbage and has no idea what to make for us.  I've just had it.

Someone on this board needs to write the cookbook:  "What to cook for your vegetarian friends and family."  I'll buy ten copies.

Ugh, I got a simmilar attitude from my in-laws in the past only I was "making them suffer" when I would not cook what they wanted.  I offered them my old recipies but they did not want to cook.  There are a ton of Irish recipes out there that do not include meat.  Heaven forbid a quick internet search or trip to the library.

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Ugh, I got a simmilar attitude from my in-laws in the past only I was "making them suffer" when I would not cook what they wanted.  I offered them my old recipies but they did not want to cook.  There are a ton of Irish recipes out there that do not include meat.  Heaven forbid a quick internet search or trip to the library.

EXACTLY.  And I am ticked at her not because of me, but I would think she's got three grandchildren coming to her house and maybe she could think about something decent to make.  I usually bring my own food or make something there or suggest something but I've recently begun to wonder why the heck she hasn't figured something out by now?  I was going to get everyone in my family a veg cookbook for Christmas but backed off at the last minute because I didn't want to be foisting it on them. But I should have gotten one for my mother.  Maybe I'll get her a subscription to VT.

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Ahhh yes, the old mother-daughter divide. In her head, you're still her child, accent on the word child. And she's been cooking longer than you and therefore must know better. She sees your different lifestyle as "a phase" you haven't got over yet, but nothing to be taken seriously. Change her ways? Surely you jest! She knows (she thinks) that if she just ignores it, you'll come around.
Classic power-struggle. She can't cut the umbilical cord, even though it dried up and fell off about 10 days after you were born. There's a reason for that.

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She's being belligerent and lazy.  12 years later she should have it down.

Years ago when I was vegetarian, I belonged to a group of friends and once a week we had dinner and played cards.  We rotated whose house we would be at.  I was the lone vegetarian and without fail each house I went to was able to accommodate me.  Many made a separate side dish for me.  Sometimes this was as easy as scooping out the spaghetti sauce and setting some aside prior to adding the meat.  It's not rocket science. 

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Thank you all. I agree it is a classic power struggle and she's being passive aggressive and lazy and it's been 20 years for me but only 12 with my kids.

My husband tells me to just get over it and the cookbooks and/or magazine subscription is a bad idea.

We didn't stay for dinner Sunday and she looked very upset explaining she had bought four pounds of asparagus to feed my family.

So maybe she just needs ideas.  Or maybe she's insane!

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Thank you all. I agree it is a classic power struggle and she's being passive aggressive and lazy...

So maybe she just needs ideas.  Or maybe she's insane!

Wait....are we sisters?

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Wow... why do you think you're entitled to someone cooking something special for you?  I NEVER go to someone's house just expecting they will have made something separate and special for me.  I eat beforehand, take something of my own, or eat sides.  And I do it graciously.

I have been a vegetarian for 20 years and stopped expecting others to cater to me a long time ago. 

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i'm with mrsrazon.  i've been veg for over 17 years and vegan now for four.  my mom has finally gotten around to veganizing a small portion of a side dish for me and my little guy, but i always bring a vegan main dish, side dish, and dessert (with enough to share with others).  while it'd be nice if family would completely accomodate (sp?) me just once, it's not something i'll ever expect.  besides, i'm sure they're not as "picky" as i am about what actually constitutes as fully vegan ingredients.  i'd rather cook for myself than wonder if maybe the veggie loaf has eggs in it or if the pie crust contains whey.  :P

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As the host/ess of a dinner that includes extended family, that person should accomodate dietary restrictions within reason.  When family members were diagnosed with diabetes, I made sure there was a dessert choice that was sugar free or fruit with no added sugar, low fat items for those with high cholestrol or watching their weight, etc.  My veg DD would never get upset at a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving but we better have enough sides she will eat to be happy. 

I would have concidered it seriously rude for someone who knew I am lactose intolerant to serve a cheese smothered meal when I was an omni.  If you invited me, you should make something I will eat even if I won't eat everything.  If you have no clue what to make for me, I am more than willing to bring something or give suggestions. 

I think is is good that JKL's mom bought the asparagus.  It was a move in the right direction

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Wow... why do you think you're entitled to someone cooking something special for you?  I NEVER go to someone's house just expecting they will have made something separate and special for me.  I eat beforehand, take something of my own, or eat sides.  And I do it graciously.

I have been a vegetarian for 20 years and stopped expecting others to cater to me a long time ago.  

This isn't just anyone. This is my MOTHER. And she's Italian.  In Italian households (in case you're not Italian) the rule is food = love.  Hence my rant.

And then, Beets, you wrote:

i'm with mrsrazon.  i've been veg for over 17 years and vegan now for four.  my mom has finally gotten around to veganizing a small portion of a side dish for me and my little guy, but i always bring a vegan main dish, side dish, and dessert (with enough to share with others).  while it'd be nice if family would completely accomodate (sp?) me just once, it's not something i'll ever expect.  besides, i'm sure they're not as "picky" as i am about what actually constitutes as fully vegan ingredients.  i'd rather cook for myself than wonder if maybe the veggie loaf has eggs in it or if the pie crust contains whey.

However, I note you still have a "little guy."  I am wondering if you are going to feel the same way when your little guy is bigger and he goes to Grandma's house and it is pretty clear Grandma has nothing for him to eat.  I am not so angry that she isn't making special dishes for me, but that she has failed to figure out how to cook something for her grandchildren.  She is a smart, well-educated woman who often finds herself in libraries and bookstores and . . . I've been shocked to learn . . . online.  She could find apprpriate recipes if she cared.

Also, you guys are just way more charitable. The asparagus was not a "step in the right direction." What 9 year old kid eats a plate of asparagus for dinner?  By getting the asparagus she demonstrated her awareness that the rest of the menu was inappropriate for more than half of her guests.  And then she didn't cook it and was angry at us when we left without eating it.

I've been carting foods to family events since forever. So I have no expectations. But if someone came to my house for a meal who had a special dietary need, I would be sure there was something tasty and appropriate.  To me that is what being a good host is, and that is a value taught to me BY MY FAMILY.  So if I am willing to do the same for strangers, why is it too much to expect my mother to do the same for her grandchildren?  And why shouldn't I be angry that she's completely unwilling?

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JKL,
I think you are in the right here. I understand why others have said that you shouldn't always expect people to make something special just for you. But I would say that only goes for large gatherings or parties like work functions or something. If you are the special invited guest (and I will assume you were for this family dinner), it is only right that your mother should make something appropriate for your family. My mother in law always does her best to atleast have pasta and marinara sauce on hand for us even at Thanksgiving. She may not really understand vegan cooking but she knows enough to do that, or make veggie sides. Of course she always asks if we want just a little turkey, but ehhh that is just her way. Have you just sat your mother down and asked her why she can't learn to cook veggie? Maybe she isn't cruel, but just a little ignorant.

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Yes, there is such a thing as courtesy. You are an invited guest, and as such, it's voluntary to ask you over. If she knows your personal choices, she should either respect them to a degree, or invite you to come at a time when food isn't an issue. Or go out somewhere where you know you can get something to eat, or perhaps prepare food together...as someone else said, something that can have additions to the main family's dish but can be made vegan for you--like sauce added after it's ready, or such as that.

I used to turn-about invitations each month with an American couple here. The husband was pre-diabetic, and a Rechabite Presbyterian. Which means old-side covenant, which means noooo alcohol. Which here in Spain is just so not usual. But if I invite a person to dine with me, they are my guest and it's about being comfortable together. So, no wine, low salt and always a diabetic-friendly meal, particularly desserts. I might have cake or icecream for the other 3 people at table, but always, always provided fresh fruits for Ed. When we went to their house, well-she wasn't the best cook in the world, despite being a chemical engineer (and you'd think they would know how ingredients in foods interact, but I realise I'm being silly). But we ate whatever she provided, and she respected that Jose doesn't like plain veggie salads and stuff; she'd always have a vegetable-and-sauce side that he could enjoy, even if there was a salad for the rest of us.
In the last couple of years before they left, I would occasionally have wine on the table but made sure there was iced tea or soft drinks and plain water too. And Ed learned not to have a panic attack at the sight of a wine bottle. Once or twice his wife even had a glass!

Mutual respect is the key, I guess that's what I'm saying. Obviously you don't expect the entire world to revolve around your food choices, but one would hope that family would want you to be comfortable visiting them...if besides being family they are your friends, that is. I have heard of such things being possible, even if it wasn't in my bunch!!

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JKL,
I think you are in the right here. I understand why others have said that you shouldn't always expect people to make something special just for you. But I would say that only goes for large gatherings or parties like work functions or something. If you are the special invited guest (and I will assume you were for this family dinner), it is only right that your mother should make something appropriate for your family.

Exactly.

My mom insisted on hosting the baby shower for my first child, even though I had my doubts (I had a feeling this would just be a big party for her friends with my baby as the excuse). When I arrived (as the presumed guest of honor), there were deviled eggs, sausage & peppers, chicken salad, macaroni salad, cheese cubes, cheese crackers, and other meat/dairy stuff already prepared and ready for the guests. There was nothing (except the raw veggies accompanying the non-vegan sour cream dip) that I could eat. Even the shower cake was a dairy-fest so I couldn't eat the cake.

Oh, but there were two avocadoes. Which my mother said she didn't have time to cut open and mash for me, although she assured me she would make guacamole so "I'd have something to eat." Guess she was too busy making the sausage & peppers, deviled eggs, and chicken salad??

Nice, huh?

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Oh, but there were two avocadoes. Which my mother said she didn't have time to cut open and mash for me, although she assured me she would make guacamole so "I'd have something to eat."

Actually, I think we ARE sisters.  Blood test tomorrow?

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Oh, but there were two avocadoes. Which my mother said she didn't have time to cut open and mash for me, although she assured me she would make guacamole so "I'd have something to eat."

Actually, I think we ARE sisters.  Blood test tomorrow?

It's a deal, sis.

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