When our adult children told us they were going vegan in January, aka Veganuary, that triggered our attention. And our competitive streak.
Hey, we can do this, we thought. In preparation, we watched the Netflix documentary that was convincing hordes of hulking carnivores to become vege-buff superheroes. I’m talking about “Game Changer.” And it surely was. Who wouldn’t want to drag an oxcart filled with oxen after beefing (I mean beaning) up on bread and bananas? Sign us up!
We drank the Koolaid (sugar free). With the purest of intentions, we entered the plant-based, anti-meat arena.
Each day, we started off with clear-eyed ambition. We tried every brand of non-dairy milk looking for an edible, plausible cream substitute for our usual coffee and cereal. Soy=yuck. Almond Milk= double yuck. Pea Milk (it’s okay to laugh) was actually decent at first sip until it wasn’t. Finally, we tried Oatly oat milk. And it was good. Pretty damn good…but still not milk. So, we used Oatly in our cereal. But we still needed milk in our coffee. Progress… not perfection.
Lunch wasn’t too hard to maintain most days. Salads, grain bowls, avocado or almond butter toast, etc. But then we had out of town company and made tuna sandwiches for lunch. After weeks of meh midday meals, canned tuna tasted divine (and I won’t mention that we also used mayonnaise in said sandwiches).
Another afternoon while exploring a new neighborhood, we discovered The Friendly, a pizza place that was highly recommended by one foodie son. As lifelong pizzavores, we had to—had to— try it. Another vegan lunch thwarted.
But the hardest part of Veganuary was dinner. Specifically, our freezer. It was chuck full of meat meals that we spent good money at Costco to acquire. We couldn’t let all this red, pink and white food go to waste. That would add insult to injury to all the carcasses who would then have given their lives in vain. Also, we were about to start a major kitchen remodel so we needed to empty our fridge. Pronto!
Each night, we filled our dinner plates with roasted veggies that were accompanied by various meat stuff that we embarrassedly devoured. As a child of depression era parents, we do not waste food in our house.
As for dessert, I’m sorry but, in my book, cookies and ice cream are not meat products. They are essential food groups without which I would be a depressed, miserable heap of deprivation. As the poet e.e. cummings wrote “there is some shit I will not eat” but Trader Joe’s mini ice cream cones is not that shit!
Meanwhile, our kids were succeeding wildly with their Veganuary. They were happy, healthy, losing weight and discovering new taste sensations. In fact, they signed up for Purple Carrot, a vegan food delivery service that provides the complete fixings for three creative meals per week and were finding the vegan life both tasty and filling.
Finally, after a month of highly flawed veganism, our daughter-in-law gave us a free week of Purple Carrot meals to try ourselves in February. They arrived last week. The first meal was gnocchi and green beans with pesto sauce. It looked delicious in their recipe book. It actually tasted delicious on our plate.
However, truth in eating requires me to tell you that that was not all we ate that night. Two days earlier, we had gone out for Isola Restaurant’s meatballs and spaghetti Sunday special and had leftovers. And I CAN’T WASTE FOOD. So, my beloved carnivore husband devoured a platter filled with the pesto gnocchi AND spaghetti and meatballs. What’s below is not an instagram pic…but it is the truth!
We are simply vegan failures.