The first wedding was very traditional, and I have grown accustomed to these affairs not being very 'vegan friendly'. I plan to eat a late lunch on the day of the event, and pack a snack to have in the car after the event. Usually there is SOMEthing I can snack on though, some plain lettuce or a plain potato, but this event was strictly non-vegan. Every single potential food source had been made unhealthy and inedible by me.
I had hopes when a large salad bowl was passed around to dig in the bottom of it and by-pass the thick helpings of sliced cheddar cheese, but the cheese covered practically every piece of lettuce. I found one of the wait staff and pulled her aside to ask if there was possibly a bag of lettuce without the cheese in the kitchen somewhere, but she quickly (and not very politely) dismissed me with a curt "no".
I surveyed the buffet line and was excited to see a large vat of green beans, but then quickly saw that the beans were covered in bacon and glistened with some kind of oil.
So, I spent the evening awkwardly at my table while those around me ate a 5 course meal and I had my empty plate and my iced tea.
It was really an interesting experience though, as I noted the LACK of upset I had at the event. I truly don't expect others to cater to me, but had thought possibly our society had evolved a bit and that maybe there would be something for those not wishing to ingest animal products, some fresh fruit or fresh veggies. Still, even with the mild awkwardness of not eating, I enjoyed myself, centered my attention on the happy newlyweds, enjoyed conversation with people I had not seen in a long time and realized that this is the price of standing for what I believe in, for being true to my commitment to my health, my body and my ideals, and it truly is who I am. Somehow that was far more filling than anything I could have put on my plate.
Fast forward a short 2 weeks later and we found ourselves at a 2-day wedding affair for our niece, who was marrying a man from India. The two had decided to combine cultures and had set out to try to interlace as much of the Indian culture and traditions as they could into their ceremonies. We had an entire dinner and celebration the night before the wedding, with family and close friends. I was excited to find a huge bowl of salad WITH NO CHEESE! I was set for the evening. (There was Indian food available, but I wasn't sure of ingredients and really was fine with a huge salad, so didn't bother anyone to inquire about ingredients). It was a great experience and there was loud Indian music that was very entertaining and off the beaten path of my musical tastes. I loved being exposed to a bit of a different culture.
The next evening was the main event which was beautiful and fascinating in so many ways. I again went into it with no expectations for food, but did notice as the buffet was being set up a small card with a "V" on it close to one of the heated containers of food.
When our table was called up to go through the line, I approached one of the servers behind the table and asked her if the "V" was for vegetarian or vegan. She said that the "V" is vegetarian and that the vegan dishes are labeled 'vegan'.
I tried to control myself, but asked, you mean there are vegan dishes? She gave me a quizzical look and said, 'well, of course!'
She proceeded to take me down through the containers of food and pointed out the first vegan dish...I looked further down to see FIVE vegan selections! And actually, there were six because there was a bowl of plain spinach available.
(Pic of my plate at the wedding)
Now I suppose the vast selection of vegan foods was mainly because of the Indian cuisine influence, but I still am choosing to believe that times are changing and here in the west we are beginning to break free of the unhealthy traditions that have contributed in no small measure to the growing health crisis of this country. And this change can't come soon enough!
Sue in Ohio