|Me and Victoria, in love.|
But I was still nervous at the prospect of staying in a non-vegan household for a week. How would I approach mealtimes? I didn't want to make these wonderful people feel uncomfortable, but neither did I want to eat their Swedish meatballs and Colombian... whatever meat they eat in Colombia. Ham? I don't know. It would be tricky to handle.
I took a red-eye flight and arrived yesterday morning while Victoria was at work as a substitute teacher. Her father made me some fancy Irish oatmeal in hot water and added golden raisins and apples - so far, so good. I decided to go to sleep for as long as possible to avoid any more food encounters until Victoria got home.
It didn't work. I woke up at noon, totally starving. Victoria's father had told me to help myself to whatever vegan things I could find in the kitchen, so I opened the cabinets and discovered a whole container of Seeds of Change quinoa + brown rice packets. Jackpot! I heated one up and ate the whole thing.
When Victoria got home, the first thing we did was go grocery shopping. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as Trader Joe's in Florida, but there was a Whole Foods nearby. I stocked up on bulk quinoa, Daiya vegan mozzarella shreds, Earth Balance, almond milk, and all kinds of veggies. I was prepared for the week!
Victoria had a great idea for approaching mealtimes with her parents. They would cook and eat whatever they would normally cook and eat, and I could make a vegan dish to share with everyone (and obviously eat most of it myself).
Last night when we got home from grocery shopping, only Victoria's mom was around for dinner. So I decided to make a lot of my favorite go-to vegan dinner: quinoa + Daiya + whatever veggies I have + soy sauce. In this case, the veggies on hand were kale, zucchini, and summer squash. Neither Victoria nor her mother was familiar with quinoa, so I got to show them how to cook it (which is not too exhilarating, but I get my thrills where I can).
When the quinoa was ready, we melted the Daiya into it so it got all sticky and clumpy. Cheezy quinoa! Yum. With veggies and soy sauce, it's a perfect meal. Victoria and her mom loved it and helped themselves to seconds. It felt good to share a vegan meal I had invented myself with them. We sat around and finished off two bottles of wine while chatting about love, cultural differences, and Republicans.
So far, so good. My philosophy when staying with non-vegans, I decided, is to let my commitment to being a good house guest trump my commitment to being an obnoxious vegan. I'm not going to stray from my vegan diet, but neither am I going to talk anyone's ear off about why my meal is better than theirs. I'll let you know how it goes!