This Vegetarian’s Dilemma

March 29, 2011

With apologies to Michael Pollan, of course.

Do not be afraid.  I am not climbing up on a soap box here.  I have never, nor will I ever, tell you how or what to eat.  The only people who get that from me are my children and that is another story for another post.  I sincerely hope this does not come off as a rant.  I have been thinking about writing a post like this ever since I started this blog and I guess it is just time.  Bear with me.

People often ask me why I am a vegetarian.  There are a lot of reasons – environmental, ethical, health – but I would have to say that the main one is that I just am.  Even as a child I never liked meat and so giving it up has never been a struggle for me.  I did so at an early age and have not looked back.  I never “wish” I could have the steak in a restaurant.  Being vegetarian comes naturally to me and it is as much as part of my makeup as being right-handed.

Having said that, I do struggle with the foodie side of things.  Most of the time, I am a glass is half-full vegetarian.  I celebrate the bazillion things I do choose to eat rather than focus on the four things I don’t.  But those four things (red meat, white meat, poultry, fish) make up a very large percentage of what is thought of as food – in this country at any rate.  I get several food magazines and only about one-quarter of the recipes are things I can make.  The summer grilling issues usually just get tossed in the trash.  Restaurants that I read about sound tantalizing to me, until I realize that I would mostly likely have a sub-par plate of pasta and that I am better off eating at home.  Imagine me on Top Chef – what would my “protein” be?

Again, it’s not that I want to eat meat and am just not letting myself.  I spend a lot of time eating food, thinking about food, photographing food, writing about food, but this huge chunk of that world is not available to me.  I struggle with that.  I struggle with feeling left out.  I struggle with not being taken seriously.  I was inadvertently sent an email the other day in which I was referred to as a “veg-head”.  Really?  In 2011?

I fight against the stereotype of the hippy dippy vegetarian who makes nut loaf and grows her own wheat grass.  I endure jokes from acquaintances, even friends, even my own family about whether I am making hamburgers for the next dinner party.  I nod and smile when someone says that they didn’t “miss the meat!” after eating a meal that took me hours to prepare.  Or when they say that my food is really good – for vegetarian food.

From what I read, more and more Americans are trying to eat less and less meat.  Meatless Mondays and all that.  I’m glad.  I’m excited.  I want to teach people what to cook and eat on those days they choose not to eat meat.  This is precisely the reason that I decided to start teaching regular and ongoing classes in my kitchen.  But why does it feel like the perception of vegetarianism is stuck in the 1970’s?  You know, the nut loaf and the wheat grass.  My husband is fond of telling people that I have been cooking for him for over ten years and that there have only been a handful of repeat dinners, and those are usually at his request.  That is not much of an exaggeration.  Our diet is incredibly interesting and diverse.  We eat really well.  Plus we are healthy and thriving.  Most of the time, I am very happy to say just that.  But sometimes, I feel left out.


  1. Thank you for posting this. I think more people need to speak up about this issue. It has been proven over and over again that this country eats too much protein, but the second anyone talks about being vegetarian, the first question that comes up is where do you get your protein? As if there weren’t a hundred different (incredibly well-balanced) proteins in the vegetarian diet. I was a vegetarian for a couple years, mostly because I never crave meat. Now, I’ve just decided to eat how I want without labeling myself, which means I’ll have fish every now and then (maybe chicken once every couple of months if I’m at someone’s house and they’re preparing it), but mostly I eat a varied diet that just happens to not contain much meat. It’s amazing how often I am asked “Are you vegetarian?” when I am at a restaurant and choose the vegetable dish. People just have trouble understanding that some of us don’t crave meat and aren’t sacrificing anything by choosing to eat the non-meat option.

    Now I feel like I’m on a rant! ;) Sorry for the long comment, but all of this to say that I’m glad you spoke up. And I do think things will change (are changing), but it’s a slow one. Just hang in there, one day non-meat eaters will be closer to the norm than we think. At least that’s what I’d like to believe! :)

    Comment by Spicy Bohemian — March 29, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  2. I absolutely understand what you mean. My mom being a vegetarian for over 20 years, I’ve witnessed how she had been “questioned” and subject for “investigation” during dinner parties.

    We all have the free will to make choices and making a conscious effort in choosing what to put in your mouth is truly liberating.

    Comment by Irene — March 29, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

  3. While I can relate to feeling left out (in other areas of life) you should not defend yourself (in the last paragraph). You are an amazing cook. Period.
    I have, I am sorry, no explanation for the backwardness of lots of people when it comes to vegetarianism. Prejudice runs deep?
    And although it is a good step in the right direction, I don’t really understand what’s all the fuss about Meatless Mondays. More often than not I cook vegetarian at home and only on the weekends is “the protein” involved. Those summer grilling issue that center around meat are simply an example how uninspired lots of journalists still are.

    Comment by Annika — March 29, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  4. Dana – thank you for expressing many of the same feelings I have every day about being a vegetarian and the struggles that come with that when you work in food. My extended family is about as traditional as it comes, a very meat-and-potatoes bunch, as is my fiancee’s family. The concept of being a vegetarian is strange, and because of that, they often crack jokes or comment on each meal we eat together. Although I know they aren’t trying to be rude, it frustrates me many times that I have to justify what I eat because they are uninformed.

    Keep up the good posts!

    Comment by Madison @ Espresso and Cream — March 29, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

  5. Thanks for sharing Dana. I often get asked the question why I am a vegetarian and people don’t understand that I just don’t care for meat. I eat a variety of other foods but some people think I am SO restrictive because I don’t eat meat. Everyone is asking me if I will eat meat while I am pregnant and are shocked when I say no. I can get adequate protein from other sources and the baby will be fine. I am not craving meat and don’t need it to have a healthy baby. Anyways, I am rambling, but thank you for this post! I love your vegetarian recipes!

    Comment by Maria — March 29, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  6. What a great post, Dana. I can relate to every word you wrote, as I am sure so many others can as well. Thank you for posting this. So agree on the 70’s perception…I often get called “crunchy granola” – and I don’t even eat granola!

    Comment by Nina — March 29, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  7. Dana, I can relate to so much of this. Though I haven’t been vegetarian for anywhere near as long as you (it’ll be three years next month), and I still eat seafood on occasion, I can still occasionally feel left out of the foodie world, and deal with friends and family who just love pointing out the difference of my diet or the “problems” it causes.

    Other people might think of vegetarianism as a limitation, but to me it’s been the opposite. Since giving up meat my diet has become more interesting, I’ve become more adventurous, and I think I’ve also become a better cook. As a creative I compare it to designing- I always get the best results with a limited brief!

    Comment by Ele — March 29, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  8. Dana, I loved reading this post. I’m currently very seriously dabbling with the idea of giving up meat entirely (although I’d still eat fish) because I just don’t feel good about it anymore. I hate the meat and cheeseburger and steak obsessed mentality that it represents, the ridiculous agricultural crisis that our country is in at least partially because of it, the spread of antibiotic resistance because of all the antibiotics that are injected into cows on a daily basis. And I also don’t like the way it makes me feel. And foodwise…it doesn’t inspire me.

    My parents are currently rejecting the idea and my father keeps asking me why I’m so “obsessed” with vegetables. And it’s frustrating. So though I can’t really understand what it’s like to have had to contend with this for years, I think I can relate a little. I personally think that vegetarian food is way more inventive and tasty than meat is. Each component has it’s own personality as opposed to pork or chicken, which honestly…are pretty bland on their own.

    Comment by Joanne — March 29, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  9. i have managed somehow not to get bothered too much by similar comments and confusion among people in my life and i feel very lucky to live in seattle, where being a vegetarian (or locovore, vegan, progressive, etc) is so freely accepted relative to other parts of the country/world. the three other people in my family all eat meat and i happily cook meat for them (and reportedly somehow manage to do it well, interestingly).

    oddly enough, i have run into the most trouble with other vegetarian friends. one in particular spends a lot of time pushing fake meat products on me (which are highly processed and just taste icky to me) and is completely puzzled that i don’t want them. she doesn’t seem to believe me that i don’t want fake meat… i just want a big bowl of lentils with roasted veggies and balsamic vinegar dressing or something similar. real food, in other words.

    anyway, your mini-“rant” is well-thought and well-stated. thank you for your delicious recipes.

    Comment by DVS — March 29, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  10. Thanks for this post, Dana. I can relate to feeling frustrated at restaurants–especially the ones that are all “local! seasonal! sustainable!” and then you look at the menu and you’re like, “sweet potato gnocchi with sage butter? really? that’s the best you can do?” Most of the time, I’m not all that interested in meat recipes–I think I tend to gloss right over them in cooking magazines and such because, just, meh. But I do struggle with feeling left out when meat is an integral part of food-as-culture–wanting to know the collective cultural experience that is cassoulet, or gravlax, or whatever. There are lots of meatless dishes with deep cultural heritage too, but, well, you know…(I confess that I do eat a little meat once in a blue moon, but I certainly don’t think that is the only solution to the dilemma.)

    Comment by Sarah (becoming gezellig) — March 29, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

  11. Excellent post/rant Dana!! Thank you for telling us how it feels… I love your honesty and bravery ;o)
    Cheers to Dana!!

    Comment by Lisa Faley — March 29, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  12. Oh stop complaining and feeling left out!
    You will live longer in the end. Haven’t you noticed my trend towards less meat? Today beets with lentils in your honor, and yesterday, Mexican stuffed peppers w/ black beans and vegetables….then some bozo writes a comment “white rice is unhealthy”.
    Everything in moderation.
    I love animals as much as people and I wear leather, fur and eat meat. What the hell is wrong with ME?
    Ranting is good.

    Comment by stacey snacks — March 29, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

  13. Great post, and well said. I am a newcomer to your blog and feel like your recipes really speak to me. Now I know why. I too have never liked meat and finally stopped eating it in my twenties after I no longer felt obligated to please others (mom!) by eating things I didn’t enjoy. And now my five year old son tells everyone he is a vegetarian — his favorite food is miso soup! He has never had a taste for meat either but not from lack of trying. His two year old sister is a meat lover along with her dad. My daily meatless recipes are generally loved by the whole family — thanks for the assist! We vegetarians have come a long way in 20 years, and your creativity is helping push us along.

    Comment by Jody — March 29, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  14. I’m surprised at how many people STILL don’t know what a vegetarian eats. “Oh, there’s no meat in that, honey. Just chicken.”

    Comment by Carrie N. — March 29, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

  15. Good for you! We are what we are.

    Comment by Joana — March 29, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

  16. my family used to mock me at easter/christmas when i woudnt’ eat the dry turkey. never felt i was missing much when there were so many side dishes on the table. i’ve been an off/on again veggie for the last 12 years, i usually go back to meat when im lacking imagination or vacation and eating in restaurants that have almost zero vegetarian choices. I feel so much healthier when i’m not eating animal flesh. thanks for this post/rant. :O) i read your blog every day.

    Comment by angela — March 29, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

  17. Thank you! I am not a cook, just a 20-year vegetarian with 2 small children (who lurks and loves your website) and I have many of these same thoughts! I love your answer to the “why” question – I just am. I am going to start using that. Much more succinct and accurate response than my usual!

    Comment by Lg — March 29, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  18. I absolutely agree. It is difficult. I find myself just opting to eat at home over going out to eat at traditional restaurants. My food is so much better. I just wanted to comment on your site (as I’ve been a follower and haven’t posted ever) and thank you for your blog.

    Comment by Lori — March 29, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

  19. I think that you are inspiring. Yours is one of the few blogs that I will read all the way through and don’t just skim.
    I’m not a vegetarian but cook mostly veg for my family these days and I think that veg cooking utilizes so much diversity and creativity.
    Just keep strong and proud and loving yoga and life. We love you for it… and don’t want you to stop… please don’t stop!!!
    p.s. RANTS are awesome.

    Comment by Wanda Thorne — March 29, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  20. I like that you write what you think. I eat a very small amount of meat and feel good about it. I respect people around me that needs to eat meat 3 meals a day. Often I prefer a bean dish or a large salad for my meals. We all have different reasons for not eating meat or eating less meat. Mine is just that I love to eat other food than meat. It’s not ethical or environmental, it’s just that there is so much to discover and taste.

    Comment by Helene — March 29, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

  21. I couldn’t have said it better and I’m so glad you put it out in the open! If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me why I became a vegetarian or compared me to a hippie I’d be rich! I also wish that more restaurants would be a little bit more creative with vegetarian dishes, I get excited over a restaurant with great reviews only to be let down when I go there. Thanks for the wonderful post!

    Comment by melinda ke — March 29, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  22. I’ve never committed to vegetarianism. But I definitely prefer vegetables and have always leaned that way in my cooking. A few years ago my husband went vegetarian and every time I would look at a menu for a restaurant I’d be dismayed to realized just how few (if any) vegetarian options were available – and this is in Portland, known for being veg-friendly. Looking through his eyes made me realize how often I defaulted to meat because there were no better options. But what I find sadder (since I can navigate a mish-mash of side dishes) is when I’m somewhere and the only veg option is faux meat.

    Comment by Michelle — March 29, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  23. I couldn’t agree more with your post. I just recently became totally vegetarian. For the past couple years I would only eat chicken on occasion. Although as long as i can remember meat in general has never been a big deal to me. Being a cook I understand your feeling of being sort of left out seeing as how alot of society today expects meat to be the main component to a dish. It doesnt need to be!! Vegetarain dishes are still damn delicious and I think more people should embrace that.

    Comment by Ashlee — March 29, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  24. Dana, what a great post. Especially since I am expecting, people often ask me – where are you getting your protein? I want to ask them what else they satisfy outside of protein with their steak and potatoes meals.

    It’s also tough watching food shows and reading the magazines – there’s normally only vegetarian side dishes. Honestly – that’s why I love blogs like yours. It gives me inspiration to know I can fix a healthy, beautiful, delicious meal for my family! :) I like the rant and the food!!

    Comment by Monique — March 29, 2011 @ 11:31 pm

  25. I agree. I love food and I do love to cook, but my husband (also a vegetarian) enjoy eating out and exploring new and sometimes nicer restaurants when we can. But I always forget that it might not be worth checking out a new place or something that is more high end because there will only be a couple of options (if that).

    Comment by Anna — March 29, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

  26. You put exactly into words what every vegetarian (or at least most) deals with on an every day basis. When I became a vegetarian 10 years ago it was an easy decision for me because I never had a desire for meat. I honestly don’t really enjoy going out to eat with friends sometimes because I don’t want to end up with a sub-par veggie meal or have to deal with finding a place for me to eat when I can whip something 10 times better on my own.

    If your blog alone does not convince someone that you are an amazing cook and have a healthy, happy family then I don’t know what will. Every single thing I’ve made from your archive has been just as incredible as you’ve described it and I often bounce over here to look for something for dinner. In fact, I just saw your post for that soup and I might just be able to tweak it enough with what’s in my fridge for dinner tonight! And please don’t ever feel left out because I don’t think you’re really missing anything anyways.

    Comment by Jacqui — March 30, 2011 @ 12:48 am

  27. My dad is like you and has always been a vegetarian since he sprung from the womb. He doesn’t like the smell of meat cooking and it has been that way all of his 82 years. If only he were a less fussy eater a whole world would open up to him. Veggie dishes can be just as interesting as those that are not.

    Comment by bellini — March 30, 2011 @ 1:42 am

  28. I feel similarly to you, except perhaps even more left out because our family recently decided not to eat dairy or eggs either. There are pretty much no recipes in mainstream cooking magazines. And even some friends who I used to consider very vegetarian friendly have made some weird comments about how it must be so hard to find something to make for dinner. Um…no actually, it’s not! I’m like you Dana, I love to think about food and cook and eat good food and so do my husband and our four boys! We eat extremely well, if I do say so myself. I think other people are so clueless in so many ways about food and a balanced diet. Feel free to rant away – maybe you will get a few people to realize that they have been very narrow-minded!

    Comment by Ames — March 30, 2011 @ 2:09 am

  29. Excellent post Dana. I’m not a vegetarian but that is my choice and I think you post some of the most interesting recipes around. We love veggies in this house and eat “meatless” many times a week just because that’s what is for dinner, it’s what we like and how we eat, not because it’s Monday or any other day. I was taken aback a bit when a friend visited a while ago and at the second supper said “you aren’t vegetarian are you” in kind of horror as I’d served two veggie suppers in a row. I was a bit insulted – if the food was good why did it matter whether I was or not. As for feeling left out with regards to recipe magazines and restaurants – I think lots of people do. My husband doesn’t eat fish, seafood, lamb or tomatoes and finds that limiting.

    Comment by Charlotte — March 30, 2011 @ 3:29 am

  30. If each one of us would just be who we are, and eat what we eat, without worrying what anyone else eats or doesn’t eat, the world would be much more peaceful. I’m stuck in the middle between a meat eating family, and an online veggie community that thinks I should forsake my family for the good of all things vegan. I get it from both sides!

    Like you, I say “I am what I am, and I eat what I eat, can’t we all just get along?”

    I read your blog and try your recipes because they appeal to my appetite and are visually stunning. Thank you for being true to yourself and having the courage to say what you feel. I applaud you!

    Comment by Tina — March 30, 2011 @ 3:47 am

  31. Thanks Dana. I have been a vegetarian most of my life – by palate, mostly. Born and raised into a meat and potatoes family, it was an obligation to eat meat. Once I was able to make my own choices, I found no meat, fish or egg ever found its way to my plate. Nothing political (although, I am happier knowing an animal did not have to die for me to enjoy dinner)was considered in the decision. In fact, I hardly realized it was a decision, until a friend pointed out that I was not eating meat. Meat just simply does not occur as a food option – – except, yes, when we dine out or are invited to a friends house. Without wanting to ask our host to create “separate” or “different” meal, I keep mum. Which, of course, usually backfires…. So my challenge is – how to eat what we love without alienating others and without having to have a discussion about my food choices. Best answer – eat at home and have friends over to share in the bounty!

    Comment by Dawn — March 30, 2011 @ 3:49 am

  32. Thank you so much for posting this! I have only been a vegetarian for … huh. 3 years? I don’t even know. But, not as long as you have, and I’ve struggled a lot with some of this similar things without being able to put it into words. I do know that people assume that I’m some sort of PETA-member hippie when I say I’m a vegetarian, and automatically assume that I don’t eat meat because I want to save the animals. That’s not why I’m a vegetarian. In fact, I’ve never even been able to determine why I am a vegetarian. Like you, I just… am. I never ate much meat before anyway, and after getting divorced and discovering cooking for *myself* instead of my husband, I realized how much I really prefer to just be meat-free.

    The hardest time I have is at family events – thanksgiving, christmas, etc. The meals are always meat-centric, and I’m able to eat sides and be satisfied, but my family always seems offended that I don’t eat the meat, like I’m looking down on them or think I’m better than them, which isn’t the case, but… it’s a struggle. If I bring my own food, they think that’s rude, but if I don’t eat theirs, that’s rude, too! I feel like I can’t win.

    Comment by Jennifer — March 30, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  33. I’ve been a healthy, happy, food-loving vegetarian for 15 years, since I was twelve years old, and I’ve learned two things. First, the ‘hectoring vegetarian’, lecturing anyone and everyone about the perils of eating meat, is an absolute meat. Second, *some* meat eaters can get incredibly defensive when you say you’re a vegetarian.

    I have never – will never – try to tell someone to become a vegetarian, but I do get irritated when someone tells me to just eat organic meat, or tells me that being a vegetarian is ‘unhealthy’, or says they tried being vegetarian but got ‘really really sick.’ Last year I wrote a blog post about how fed up I am with people who say they got sick after trying vegetarianism, and I still regularly get hateful posts from meat eaters accusing me of all kinds of things.

    As for restaurants, if a restaurant can’t produce innovative, interesting vegetarian food, the chef isn’t much of a chef.

    But I do feel your pain!

    Comment by Rach — March 30, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  34. GAH. Obviously I meant ‘absolute myth,’ not ‘absolute meat.’ I have the stupidfingers tonight.

    Comment by Rach — March 30, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  35. Thanks for this, Dana. I don’t eat meat but I do occasionally have fish because I enjoy it. Like you, I was never a fan of meat, so it was no pain to rid it from my diet a few years ago. I am a true believer that you do not need to be a meat eater to be a knowledgable, experimental, appreciative foodie. None of the best meals in my life have contained a trace of beef, pork or poultry, and I know that my future will contain many more glorious meals of this kind. Thanks for always sharing such thoughtful posts and delicious recipes!

    Comment by Nicole — March 30, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  36. I have come to read ‘Dana Treat’ because it shows up on our ‘top sites’ list thanks to my wife. Great blog, the writing, the photos, all inspiring. You shouldn’t feel bad in the least for your decision to eat the way you do. America has a strange way of categorizing or compartmentalizing life with very concrete partitions. Eat the way you want to, eat the food you love. Someday though, if it strikes you then, try that lovely prepared whatever-it-is that has meat because it looks like great food.
    In our house we eat what turns out to be vegetarian most every night because its quicker, we feel like eating such-and-such, or because its ready in the garden and a great meal in itself.
    This coming from the guy who supplies his family with their meat, every fall (free-range, organic, processed at home, wild, and prepared excellently), to be eaten all year long – when it will complement the meal well.

    Comment by Erik — March 31, 2011 @ 3:01 am

  37. Beautiful and honest post, Dana. I’ve tried to write a “why I’m vegetarian” post over the last two years and haven’t managed to do it yet, so I applaud you.

    My least favorite part of being vegetarian is how defensive I’m made to be about my food choices. I’m not preachy, I’m not an activist, I just choose not to eat meat. It rankles that I’m somehow fair game to pick on even though I don’t criticize their choice. Thank you for posting this.

    Comment by Stacy (Little Blue Hen) — March 31, 2011 @ 6:21 am

  38. Great post! I’m a vegetarian, and I went to visit my friend this past week, and she was so sweet and concerned that she planned where we would eat because she didn’t want me to feel left out. She is the rarity in my life! It amazes me when I go to a restaurant with a group of people, and there is only ONE dish on the entire menu that doesn’t have meat in it. And of course it’s usually some alfredo covered pasta…Sometimes I’m just over that! Thanks for expressing what I’ve been feeling lately!

    Comment by Poppy @ From Fried Chicken to Tofu — March 31, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  39. I just found your blog via Jen’s post (userealbutter). I love meat, but we often have vegetarian meals because that’s what sounds good to me. It’s not a conscious decision, as in, “we must eat vegetarian today”; I’m just often in the mood for a good chana masala or a pasta with vegetables. I never point out to my husband that the meal is meatless. He usually enjoys it and doesn’t even notice.

    I’m glad to have discovered your blog. I’m looking forward to exploring it some more!

    Comment by Kath — April 1, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  40. I am I guess what we’re calling “flexitarian” these days, and I’ve found that exploring vegetarian cooking has offered far more diversity and choice than when meat was the center piece of a meal. But, I do still eat meat at half my meals or so, including dining out, so it makes it less frustrating, I’m sure.

    There seems to be a rash of these types of posts lately – people upset with others judging/making comments on their food habits/diet choices. I wish we could all just live and let live!

    Comment by Charise — April 1, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

  41. Ditto your post and most of the above comments! :)

    I was raised and remain, a vegetarian. I am totally stealing your “I just am” answer…maybe you should copyright that.

    I also feel totally left out of the culinary world sometimes. But, I hope that over time more vegetarian food will be explored and publishedin mainstream mags and people will start to realize that is doesnt have to be a side dish, bland, or hippie.

    Thanks for puttin your thoughts out there!

    Comment by Errin — April 1, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

  42. I love this post because I feel the same way. I was vegetarian for most of my life, and we still eat about 90% veg, and I have had to endure many of the things you articulated so well here. I can’t tell you how many times someone would look at us with concern when they found out we were vegetarian say “Well, but what do you do for protein??” And it’s all I can do not to point out their waist line and say it looks like most Americans get TOO MUCH protein, not enough. I don’t know if you saw that Prince William and Kate are going to serve vegan food at their wedding (at the Queen’s request!!), so my fingers are crossed that some minds (and palates!) might soon be changed. Cheers!

    Comment by brooke — April 1, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

  43. […] (from Dana Treat) did a great post on the Vegetarian Dilemma trying to figure out “why does it feel like the perception of vegetarianism is stuck in the […]

    Pingback by a little bit of blog love « She said. She said. — April 4, 2011 @ 1:45 am

  44. I completely relate–and I do eat fish and fowl, just not red meat. There are so many special events that I avoid because I know the menu will not be of interest to me. And, likewise, I don’t wish I could order the steak. I have no interest in the steak. Grilling a steak or even slow roasting a larger cut is nothing compared to seeking out seasonal, perfect vegetables, prepping them well, seasoning them correctly, adding other flavors through sauces or accompaniments, and making a meal of it. It’s great to see more people choosing meatless meals at least once in a while, so the 70s perception has to go!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — April 4, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  45. Dana – I have been uninterested in meat since childhood. I would sit at the dinner table for hours refusing to eat my meat, with my worried parents begging and cajoling me to “eat my dinner!” I now have an career that takes me throughout the world, and in some other countries the reaction is so severe that it becomes the only topic people discuss with me. I try, like you, to approach the issue with patience and love, but it is frustrating to neverendingly defend the way people like us just are. I have never understood the biased and “humorous” reactions to us, but it’s good to know there are many of us trying to combat it as well. Your post was perfect. Thank you.

    Comment by Karen — April 25, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

  46. I love this post, Dana. Last year, my husband had his gall bladder removed and due to the trouble he had with meat and high-fat foods before the surgery, we both cut those things out of our diets. When he’d wake in horrible pain at 2am because I made French dip sandwiches for dinner, we quickly learned what was good for him and not, and opted for mostly vegetarian meals.

    It’s been just about a year since his surgery and though we eat meat a few times a month, we’ve both never felt better. I’ve become so much more adventurous in the kitchen and have lessened my own picky eating habits, which I’m so happy about. My husband’s parents, who are extreme “you need your protein!” people don’t understand the change we’ve made and I’m pretty sure my never-without-a-worry mother-in-law has stayed up at night stressing about it. I’m surprised she hasn’t gifted us with an Omaha Steak-of-the-Month membership.

    At any rate, thank you for your thoughtful post and for all of your great vegetarian recipes. You’ve been a big help in our kitchen.

    Comment by Steph — April 27, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  47. […] in my shameless scouring of her blog, I found her post “This Vegetarian’s Dilemma.” To sum up the main points, she’s disappointed in the way that most peoples’ […]

    Pingback by Dear Dana: I Feel Your Pain « Healthy Ellie — November 27, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

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