when people offer anyway

i’ve talked about this once before, but it happened again today so it’s on my mind again. i’ve been vegan now for three-and-a-half years. my family has known since the beginning (i’d say within the first month). and yet my mom STILL periodically offers me things that aren’t vegan, and i can’t figure it out. today we had a joint birthday party (for my sister and my husband) on my mom’s side of the family. there were two birthday cakes; neither one was vegan. my mom was in charge of cutting and serving the cakes, and when she got to me, she said, “are you going to have any cake?” and i was like, “doy.” well actually i just quietly said, “no,” but in my HEAD i was like, “doy.”

she moved along to the next person, so it didn’t create a scene or anything, but i just don’t get why she does that. is it because she thinks i’m going to say, “aw what the heck, it’s birthday cake and it looks tasty,” and have a piece? or is it just that she feels awkward that she isn’t offering me anything; like it’s rude? i can’t figure it out. i probably should just ask her, but i haven’t bothered yet. it’s just so weird to have to say no, because i feel like that’s something she should be well aware of by now; there shouldn’t be a question in her mind as to whether i’m going to have the non-vegan cake. i guess i need to start working on a snappy comeback that isn’t too sassy.

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14 comments

  1. Maybe you can just play dumb and be like, “Oh! Is it vegan?” and sound sort of eager and non-sarcastic. And then when she says, “No,” you can refuse. That will help her realize a) that you’re vegan (not that she doesn’t know) and that this plays into whether you’ll eat her food or not and b) maybe that there’s vegan cake.

  2. I think you’re right – some people feel awkward leaving someone out of situations like that. If she was going around the table, she would feel rude not offering to you. Is your mom playful at all? Maybe the two of you can come up with something she can say or do so she acknowledges you during those situations without offering you something that is offensive to you. Like a secret code 🙂

  3. The thing is that they always think that you’re going to go back to ‘normal’ eating. They never quite get it. Well it’s not moms & dads, it’s pretty much people that don’t understand it or don’t really bother to think it through.

  4. The thing is that they always think that you’re going to go back to ‘normal’ eating. They never quite get it. Well it’s not moms & dads, it’s pretty much people that don’t understand it or don’t really bother to think it through.

  5. How do you handle large gatherings and vegan food? I went to a funeral today for my uncle – I am vegan and my daughter is vegetarian(everyone knows-and usually has a dish for us at family events). I heard the entree at the luncheon was Chicken so I snagged a waitress and told her there were two vegs. My daughter thought this was making a scene and that we should just eat around the chicken so as not to upset my mother and the other family members with our dietary choices during this sad event. The kitchen sent out two nice vegetable platters so all was well. How does everyone usually handle this? Does diet trump all other concerns? or do you just suck it up?
    Where is Emily Post when you need her?

  6. How do you handle large gatherings and vegan food? I went to a funeral today for my uncle – I am vegan and my daughter is vegetarian(everyone knows-and usually has a dish for us at family events). I heard the entree at the luncheon was Chicken so I snagged a waitress and told her there were two vegs. My daughter thought this was making a scene and that we should just eat around the chicken so as not to upset my mother and the other family members with our dietary choices during this sad event. The kitchen sent out two nice vegetable platters so all was well. How does everyone usually handle this? Does diet trump all other concerns? or do you just suck it up?
    Where is Emily Post when you need her?

  7. ok, i am totally guilty of this in a way. i have friends who are sometimes on-sometimes off healthy eating plans and weight loss diets, etc. if i am hosting or helping pass out food, i always ask if they want some of the food even though i am pretty sure they don’t want that piece of junk food or whatever. it’s hard because i don’t want to exclude them or assume anything, but at the same time i am almost positive they do not want the food i am offering them. and though i feel slightly guilty for asking, i’d feel worse for hurting their feelings by not including them, so i just leave it up to them to tell me ‘no’.
    and because i have been in that position i can understand why other people still sometimes “offer” me non-vegan foods. my family is good about not doing that, but some others who don’t see me around meal times very often, they forget or don’t remember/recognize that something isn’t vegan. most of the time i simply say no.
    that said, for me and for most people, being vegan is on a completely different level than a being on a ‘health kick diet’. it’s a lifetime commitment rather than a temporary thing or just a regular diet with some special occasion exceptions.

  8. Maybe the most generous approach is to take a vegan cake to a birthday…I actually see this as an opportunity for some subtle indoctrination, so I make things as pretty and appealing as I can so people can’t resist trying it, and are surprised that they like it. I know it takes some effort, but you can join in with everyone else, and not feel wierd.

  9. Maybe the most generous approach is to take a vegan cake to a birthday…I actually see this as an opportunity for some subtle indoctrination, so I make things as pretty and appealing as I can so people can’t resist trying it, and are surprised that they like it. I know it takes some effort, but you can join in with everyone else, and not feel wierd.

  10. I usually just say, “no thank you but I appreciate the offer”. I’ve been vegan for eight years and I still get offered ice cream, cheese, cake and the like. When I visit my grandparents, they still ask me if I want anything from KFC or McDonald’s.

  11. I always just ask if it’s vegan – even if it’s my mom or someone who should know better. Then their light-bulb usually goes on and they say, “Oh, sorry.”

  12. I always just ask if it’s vegan – even if it’s my mom or someone who should know better. Then their light-bulb usually goes on and they say, “Oh, sorry.”

  13. becci and atouria–you’re right, this is totally the most direct approach and maybe it would help drive the point home in a quick & easy way. i’d just have to work on tone of voice. heh.
    mishka–i love your idea, but i think it gives my mom too much credit. she is somehow confused and i daresay threatened by my veganism, so i think attempts at being playful might backfire. it’s something to try, though! it’s definitely MY personality so i could give it a go. thanks!
    dhaval and SCvegan–i hear you. meh, it’s so frustrating.
    ella–yes! i love bringing the dessert, and in fact last year for my own combined birthday party (my mom’s is three days before mine, and her brother and i share a birthday), i brought the cake and everyone loved it. but this particular party was hosted by my grandma, and she always likes to make the birthday cake “to order” for the birthday kid. so if i had offered to bring the cake, it might have been seen as me pushing her out of the way. :/ in general, though, i find that bringing dessert is my safest bet!
    river–word.
    eileen–i would have done exactly what you did; quietly talked to the server and asked what they had available for veg*ns. i don’t think it was causing a scene at all; at least not the way you described it! most restaurants can make do pretty well, as long as they have a heads up. 🙂

  14. becci and atouria–you’re right, this is totally the most direct approach and maybe it would help drive the point home in a quick & easy way. i’d just have to work on tone of voice. heh.
    mishka–i love your idea, but i think it gives my mom too much credit. she is somehow confused and i daresay threatened by my veganism, so i think attempts at being playful might backfire. it’s something to try, though! it’s definitely MY personality so i could give it a go. thanks!
    dhaval and SCvegan–i hear you. meh, it’s so frustrating.
    ella–yes! i love bringing the dessert, and in fact last year for my own combined birthday party (my mom’s is three days before mine, and her brother and i share a birthday), i brought the cake and everyone loved it. but this particular party was hosted by my grandma, and she always likes to make the birthday cake “to order” for the birthday kid. so if i had offered to bring the cake, it might have been seen as me pushing her out of the way. :/ in general, though, i find that bringing dessert is my safest bet!
    river–word.
    eileen–i would have done exactly what you did; quietly talked to the server and asked what they had available for veg*ns. i don’t think it was causing a scene at all; at least not the way you described it! most restaurants can make do pretty well, as long as they have a heads up. 🙂

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