The day started off well. I put on my nicest dress and picked up my grandma and her friend Lola. My grandma (Or Bubbie, as I call her) is a Holocaust survivor, and she is part of an organization called the 1939 club. Today was a luncheon where survivors, their families and college students gathered to celebrate life, Purim, and the '39 Club's president being reelected for the 12th time.
At the luncheon, I grubbed on some bread and stared longingly at the slabs of butter as I cut off a hunk for Bubbie. Salad was first, and it had crumbled up hardboiled egg. I scooped it onto Bubbie's plate; no harm. Although as a vegan I'm not supposed to eat animal products, I've heard many times that I shouldn't be wasteful.
The waiter came around with a gravy boat of salad dressing. Before he doused my salad, I asked "Are there any animal products in it?"
"No," he said."Are you vegan?" Wow, somebody who spoke my language!
I ordered the vegetarian option for lunch: a satisfying portion of angel hair pasta with marinara on a bed of roasted vegetables. It was really quite good.
Then it happened. I had a moment of weakness. It was Purim, and one of the speakers mentioned that hamantashen would be served. Hamantashen are buttery little poppy-seed- or fruit-filled, triangle-shaped cookies that are served on Purim. I wanted that hamantashen. I decided I was going to have one.
I didn't stop there. They had passed out small plates of desserts, so I also had a small brownie (which was good) little chocolate cookie (which was not so good). Was it worth it? I'm not sure.
When I told John about my dietary indiscretion, he said "I've lost all respect for you." I'm sure he was joking, but perhaps he did lose a bit of respect. But it got me thinking. My friend Lauren from the newsroom is vegan, and we had previously spoken about special circumstances. Her family friend who is a French chef. Whenever he comes to visit he cooks for them personally. Though it's not vegan cuisine, Lauren will partake, not only because he cooks a delicious meal, but would it not be offensive to deny a friend's meal that they prepared especially for you from the heart? What's one meal?
I've heard several vegetarians say they will buy vintage leather. The moral justifications can be downright confusing. What if you buy some leather boots before you go vegan? Should you throw them away? Wouldn't that be wasteful? And isn't that just as bad?
And take Bubbie for example. She's the best cook. Ever. Her brisket melts in your mouth, and her stuffed cabbage is to die for. But Bubbie's 85. She's getting up there in age, and doesn't have the energy to cook like she used to. Would I deny her cooking to observe my being vegan? It would not only offend her, but I know I'd be missing out.
I don't think the point of veganism or limiting animal product consumption is to feel bad if you break it. I think it's to become more aware of our impact of the environment and the way the food industry treats animals. Guilt, smack talking and judgement of those who don't follow your lifestyle seems like the wrong ideals to have here. We don't support the food industry because they exploit animals and make them feel bad, but we make fellow humans feel bad in fighting for this cause? It just seems absurd. There's got. To be. A happy medium. Here.