Mixed household and cooking

Dougrus

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Hi,

I have been lurking around reading some great threads on this forum. Very informative and I am learning quite a bit. New to veganism myself (about a month) I would like to get some advice/input on cooking in a mixed household. I do all the cooking for my family. 2 Teenage sons, a 4 year old and my wife. I went Vegan for both health and ethical reasons...all is well with me and my body and mind are adapting well. However, the rest of my family want to continue eating meat. Up until now, I have been preparing dishes that are easily "converted" to meat friendly dishes with a little finagling etc...if that makes sense...just so I dont have to prepare 2 different meals. Some of the stuff I have made, like vegan chili, went down without incident but, overall I guess I am thinking about the ethics of it as I am actually preparing and cooking the meat. Looking around the webs, I have seen a range of philosophical insights on the issue. Some won't even sit at the table where there is meat and some are perfectly comfortable doing what I am doing.

Id like to hear thoughts on the matter.

Thanks!
 
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Emma JC

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I think that everyone's journey is different and you should do whatever is best for you and your family. The aim may be to eventually have them all join you as a vegan and that may take some time. It will also be so much more meaningful, when they do, that they have done it because they wish to and not because they were coerced. Your wife may wish to watch some of the videos of the families with vegan toddlers and children as switching younger children to a plant-based whole food lifestyle may benefit them later on in life in so many ways.

Cooking amazing food for them will bring them onboard and if you and your wife agree together that not always telling them it is animal free it okay then you should do that. Watching docs together like Game Changers and What the Health may also be helpful and having videos playing on your TV like Dr Greger's nutritionfacts.org youtube videos and so many others may be helpful too.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us as it will be very helpful for others.

Emma JC
 
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Dougrus

Dougrus

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Thanks. I specifically like your approach of perhaps having them come around naturally as they see the positive changes that it can bring. And also absorbing some of the info just being around me. I have been consuming tons of YouTube stuff in the evenings. My wife and I have agreed that there is no need to tell them that a dish is animal free as long I am providing all the proper nutrients and as we know vegan does that pretty naturally, despite the stereotypes about protein etc.

On your other point you are absolutely right. And what a cool culinary challenge....The other day, she initially refused my vegan eggs but acquiesced and tried them. She finished the whole bowl. :)

Also to that point perhaps trying to give them some surprises...My older boys, in particular, love buffalo wings. Ive been eyeing some of those seitan wings recipes....just serve em up see how it goes?

Thanks for response

Doug
 

Emma JC

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Thanks. I specifically like your approach of perhaps having them come around naturally as they see the positive changes that it can bring. And also absorbing some of the info just being around me. I have been consuming tons of YouTube stuff in the evenings. My wife and I have agreed that there is no need to tell them that a dish is animal free as long I am providing all the proper nutrients and as we know vegan does that pretty naturally, despite the stereotypes about protein etc.

On your other point you are absolutely right. And what a cool culinary challenge....The other day, she initially refused my vegan eggs but acquiesced and tried them. She finished the whole bowl. :)

Also to that point perhaps trying to give them some surprises...My older boys, in particular, love buffalo wings. Ive been eyeing some of those seitan wings recipes....just serve em up see how it goes?

Thanks for response

Doug

That is great news!!

As for wings, maybe before trying the seitan ones, try the cauliflower ones, it works really well and as we know now the amazing taste comes from the spices and the condiments... very few people eat bare chicken wings.... so if you put on all the same flavours then they will enjoy it no matter what the taste is wrapped around and they can eat as many as like at a time.

Emma JC
 

MoreGreens

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I'm in a similar situation but have it a bit better because my husband grills his meat. It would be much more difficult to be expected to handle and cook meat. As it is, having meat and dairy in the house gets under my skin and makes me uncomfortable, but I can't force him to give up meat and dairy. Since I make the meals, he eats more vegan meals than most people… probably 80/20 vegan, and most of the omni food is takeaway like pizza. I've found if we only have soy milk, he will use it for his cereal. Rarely does he ask me to buy cow milk, but if he does, I will… I just go back to buying only soy the next week!

It's hard to be empathetic yet compromise like that. I rely on accidentally vegan meals and subtle subs. I have a happier family when they're eating and not thinking about it being vegan. A lot of ethnic dishes are vegan or easily altered to be vegan… like stir fry, curry and burritos. Pancakes are super easy to make vegan (also a great place to hide vegetables... probably only second to tomato sauce for hiding the healthy things) and people never notice. Subbing tofu for ricotta in dishes like stuffed shells, ziti and lasagna usually goes unnoticed. (I can't tell you the number of times I've fed my father tofu and he didn't know. He announced at the Christmas table just last month that he'd never eat tofu! I laughed and told him all the different ways he'd eaten it at my house and given he knows I don't eat cheese, what did he think it was?) Besides, there are loads of things people eat all the time never realizing they're vegan: pasta salad, fruit salad, hummus, baba ganoush, refried beans and oven potatoes.

You'll have your family happily eating vegan or mostly vegan before they even notice, unless you tell them.
 
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Dougrus

Dougrus

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Hmmm...interesting. I see these recipes now. I think maybe I will try those first see how it goes.
 
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Dougrus

Dougrus

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@MoreGreens Thanks for chiming in. I think your approach really makes sense.....cook great food, put love into it and people will come to the table happy. I think the biggest issues, like you mentioned, revolve around having to handle and cook meat which has become quite unappealing to me now. Hopefully I will be doing it less and less as I introduce more vegan recipes and get better at cooking them. There is a bit of learning curve (cooking legume pastas just right, etc) Some indigence I have never even had an occasion to use before I was vegan.

Yeah thats so funny about your dad! Yup and my son asked me wth is tofu? Cheese? Totally going to steal that idea for stuffed shells. Brilliant. Never thought about how similar tofu is to ricotta.

And then the cheese issue...which isnt so much of a big deal compared to the meat thing. I think I honestly could do a lot of stuff unnoticed like with your pop. I handed my 18 year old, who loves cheese, a slice of the Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda. He asked, "whats that" I said "Smoked Gouda" he ate it and gave a hearty "mmmm".
 

Qwaychou

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Welcome! I am in the same boat you are, i do 80%of the cooking for my family and my husband wants to continue to eat meat. I basically cook a big batch of plain chicken for him to add to my vegan meals, if he wants it, and sometimes he doesnt bother. My 16 year old is teetering on the edge of being vegan now with me, so yay!
 

Emma JC

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Speaking of cheese - here is a link to high carb hannah's nacho cheese sauce, which is amazing and can also be used as a mac and cheese sauce or if you google vegan mac n cheese you will see a ton of great recipes that have potato/carrot/onion etc as a base. Your kids will love it!!

Emma JC

 

Emma JC

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also, CookingWithPlants has a new video out (her website has an amazing collection of great recipes and videos) and it is for a pasta sauce

BTW the potatoes she uses in the recipe are COOKED she just forgot to mention that fact in the video

Emma JC

 
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Dougrus

Dougrus

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Ive been looking around for Mac and Cheese sauce/dipping sauce! The first vid looks waaaay better than the nooch sauce recipe that I had watched. Im definitely going to try this.
 

KLS52

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I’ve been making “cheesy” sauce with raw unsalted cashew butter, nutritional yeast, non dairy milk and a small bit of Miyokos butter (or EB), salt and pepper. It’s amazing.
 
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Dougrus

Dougrus

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Yeah so far the only experience I have had with vegan cheese stuff is the premade slices so Im looking forward to making myself. Although the Follow Your Heart smoked Gouda was stupid good.

I have ambitious test kitchen plans for the weekend :)

Thats actually something I like about being a noob...get to do lots of experimenting.
 
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Dougrus

Dougrus

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@Emma JC - oh btw...I have the head of cauliflower ready to go. Im going to try a buffalo style and then maybe do a small portion of them bbq or something else not spicy so my 4 year old can enjoy. Will let you know how they turn out.
 

Poppy

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Your wife and your teenage sons are probably quite capable of cooking any meat the rest of family thinks they need. Provide ample, tasty vegan options for everyone and if they want to add to your benevolence, then they can do it on the side. And clean it up as well.

You may want to provide the meat eaters with their own cutting board and a knife or two that you won't have to share. Raw meat can be germy.
 
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Dougrus

Dougrus

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Good advice. I already have a million cutting boards and cutlery.

I asked my wife and she said shed be glad to...no problem. She cooked eggs this morning and I prepared sides (peanut butter toast etc) that were vegan...and also put some tofu and nooch on the backburner for myself :)
 
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Dougrus

Dougrus

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That is great news!!

As for wings, maybe before trying the seitan ones, try the cauliflower ones, it works really well and as we know now the amazing taste comes from the spices and the condiments... very few people eat bare chicken wings.... so if you put on all the same flavours then they will enjoy it no matter what the taste is wrapped around and they can eat as many as like at a time.

Emma JC

The cauliflower ones were so so so good. my wife and I ate the whole thing in about 15 minutes . I used the recipe from Tasty...When I do them again I will do some breadcrumb or another before roasting to get more crisp....