Tales from the Vegan Army: Thanksgiving Plans

This installment of Tales from the Vegan Army is not as “combat-y” as the words “vegan army” imply*. Because it involves my dear ma.  Okay, here’s the deal. I never explicitly told my mom I was “vegan”.  Since English is her second language, I felt explaining to her that I didn’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, etc was just easier.

tales-from-the-vegan-army-Luminous Vegans

She’s been supportive about it since then. If I ever came home from college and she made me Thai food she’d know — no eggs, no fish sauce and add tofu and veggies. We’ve been doing this for more than a decade.

Which is why the following bit from a phone conversation that took place A WEEK AGO befuddled (and tickled) me. And I assure you that all conversations with my ma are this wonderfully strange. Love ya ma!

…..

Mom: Are you coming home for Thanksgiving?

Me: Yup. Are you going to go to *insert my sister’s name here* place?

Mom: Ok. What you want me to make for you? I can bring something.

Me: I dunno. I’m sure whatever you make will be good. You don’t have to make anything if you don’t have time.

Mom: Do you eat eggs?

Me: No ma, I thought you knew that.

Mom: [very seriously] Why not? What happens to you if you eat eggs?

Me: Ma, nothing happens to me, I jus…

Mom: [interrupting] What will happen? If you eat eggs?

Me: Ma! Listen to me. Nothing happens. I just choose not to eat eggs.

Mom: Why not? What will happen to you?

Me: [contemplates going into long ethical explanation but opts for...] I don’t want to eat something that comes from a chicken…or any animal.

Mom: [pauses] Ketty. It’s okay to not eat meat and be a vegetarian….[does not finish sentence].

Me:  Ma, I coulda swore you knew this. Remember? I would go to the restaurant (my ma had a Thai Restaurant for a while) and you would always tell the cooks to make my food — no eggs, no fish sauce? Remember?? [wonders if last 10 years were all a dream]

Mom: [pauses]…………Well, what about if I make something and you can’t taste the egg in it?

Me: [sighs] No ma. I don’t eat eggs even if I can’t taste it.

Mom: What about if I make sticky rice dessert with custard?

Me: What’s in the custard?

[silence]

Mom: [says quietly but very matter of factly]….Eggs.

…..

:-|

I love ya ma! Talking to my mom is always a rockin’ fun time. She has that dead-pan-can’t-tell-if-it’s-a-joke-or-not comedic act down. But she totes isn’t joking!  I probably could fill a tome with all the funny things she has said. Like that time she told me that tasting food should be done with none other than……my mouth. Genious!

*Tales from the Vegan Army are not meant to be combative or promote ill will. They’re just a fun way for me to find humor in a non-vegan world.

47 thoughts on “Tales from the Vegan Army: Thanksgiving Plans

  1. Kristy

    Hahaha! I have the same issue with my dad. If I’m not feeling well, he’ll tell me I need to eat some yogurt. I remind him I only eat non-dairy yogurt, and he’s like “Why?” even though we’ve been through this a dozen times. He’s been better lately, though. He watches so much food network and travel channel that he’s always telling me I should try Indian food because so much of it is already vegetarian- I wouldn’t have to change a thing. ;-)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Good to know that it isn’t just my mom! I think part of the reason is that I went vegan when I was already out of the house. And I don’t see my mom that much so she just forgets. It makes for great stories though.

      Does your dad read your blog? I don’t think either of my parents do which is probably another reason they don’t remember my crazy vegan ways. :-)

      Reply
  2. Cadry's Kitchen

    That is so funny! It’s a different thing, but it reminds me of when I was having problems with allergies when I moved back to Iowa. My parents suggested that I start eating local honey, because they’d heard that it would help a person get antibodies to the local allergens. They already knew I was vegan and had been for several years, but the fact that I wouldn’t eat something from a bee totally perplexed them. They seemed befuddled and asked, “Well, what if it’s just extra honey from the bees?” I asked, “Who gets to decide what honey is extra?”

    The whole honey thing is funny to me, because honey was absolutely the easiest thing for me to give up. I never cared about it anyway, but others really get hung up on it. It’s like, wait, ALL animal products AND honey too? It’s the honey tipping point.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I think you and I have mostly the same tastes in food (well, maybe except for beets). I never really cared about honey either. It was just something that I sometimes would put in my tea. But it wasn’t like I always had to have it with my tea. More like —- oh cool, my roommate has some honey, I’ll squirt some in this tea.

      Honey tends to be that mind blowing thing for people for sure. I think it may be partly due to that imaginary hierarchy for animals too…you know, like 4 legged animals then two legged, then no legs (fish) and lastly insects.

      Reply
  3. acookinthemaking

    OMG Ketty! I had a similar experience with my mom a few weeks ago! My husband and I were visiting my parents in NJ, and my dad and I were figuring out what to cook for dinner. We decided to do a bunch of grilled veggies and some rice and beans, and then the 5 omnivores were also going to have hamburgers. My mom came over and said, “Wait, we can’t do burgers though because we only have 5 patties and there are six of us,” and I was like, “Umm…I’m not going to have one, Mom.” Her response? “Oh, are you not eating red meat now?”

    What the what?! My husband’s shock was probably the funniest part.

    P.S. – The last time I was “eating” red meat was in late 2007.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Haha! It’s comforting to know that my parents aren’t the only ones! Maybe they like block it out when we tell them the first time….like—no, no, no I’m not hearing this, la la la la….

      Actually, it’s probably just because I don’t see my mom that often and I went vegan after I had already moved out.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      My mom can definitely be super cute. I used to be really uptight about non-vegan situations (when I first went vegan), but these days all I do is laugh which is much better for my soul.

      Reply
  4. kwdickinson

    You should get yourself some Bird’s Custard Powder. Mr Bird made it for his wife because she couldn’t eat eggs. It’s pretty good made with soya milk.

    I assume that’s the type of custard you mean, though maybe not. :)

    Reply
  5. Andrea

    It’s obvious how much you love your mom, and how much you use loving good humor to ease the dietary issues. I had a conversation recently with a woman who could not, and would not understand why I didn’t eat honey. When we were in Thailand, our Thai friends did everything they could to make sure we had vegan food, even though they didn’t quite understand why we did it. During vegetarian week though, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. They just don’t understand about the rest of the year!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Most of the time I can laugh things off. It’s difficult when talking to people who won’t listen at all though. It seems a lot of the time that these types of people have already entered into the conversation with no intention of actually conversating and hearing other ideas. That’s a shame.

      I would love to go to Thailand during veg week. I’ve seen the pictures that Rika from veganmiam has posted and it looks like a dream world fantasy!

      Reply
  6. Angel

    When my fiancé was in town a few months back, my mother asked me via Facebook message, “we’re going to grill some burgers for us, we can make ya’ll something else. Do ya’ll eat chicken?” That was a total surprise. She knows I’m vegan and don’t eat any animals. I can understand forgetting eggs or dairy every now and then, but chickens are animals last I checked. Silly non-vegans. :P

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yes, that is strange indeed! Reminds me of a time I met a girl in college who said she was vegetarian. I was sooo super excited because I didn’t know any other veg*ns. We went to the food court together and she bought chik-fil-a. wtf??

      Reply
  7. Cheerfully Vegan

    I don’t know why it is so hard to comprehend someone plant food. My mother did it, too, when we were just vegetarian and not yet vegan! I arrived home for a visit and she’d fixed tuna sandwiches, because they had been my favorite. She was completely confused as to what she was going to feed me!

    There’s a flip side to this lack of knowledge thing. You are not going to believe this one! Somebody my son knows used to be a waitress. A woman came in and asked what they had on the menu that was vegetarian. After listening to the options, she ordered chicken alfredo. The waitress is vegetarian so she was very confused. She said, “That’s not vegetarian.” The woman argued that it WAS vegetarian and that chicken was her favorite vegetable. (I am NOT kidding!!) Finally, my son’s friend went to her manager who also came out to ask, because they didn’t want any trouble. Finally, he came back to the kitchen and said incredulously, “I THINK she’s just stupid!” When her order was delivered, she stabbed a piece of chicken and held it up to the waitress and said, “See? Vegetable!” and ate it. The waitress took out her phone with a picture of a chicken and said, “THIS is a chicken.” The reply? “Oh, that’s the other kind of chicken. That’s different than this.” Can you believe it???

    All you can do is laugh! Thanks for the great post. Hug your mom for all of us! :)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      What in the what??? I can not even believe this lady. The other kind of chicken? What was she even talking about?? I’d really like to know how someone grows up thinking there are two types of chicken–one that is a vegetable. Sheesh. That truly is a crazy story. For that one, I not only laugh but also shake my head in amazement too. I like the manager’s response — I THINK she’s just stupid. Seems like it might be the case..otherwise, what’s the explanation? ;-P

      I will totes give my mom a big hug for you!

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Hey Brad!

      Ok, you wanna hear about the chimp friend? There’s not much to say. I don’t remember much because I was like 5. But the chimp belongs to that dude you see in the maroon-ish shirt. When we sat down to take the picture, the chimp ran from him to sit next to my mom. I remember being a little scared, yet oddly it just felt right.

      We have more pictures with the chimp just chilling with us but I don’t know where they are. When we finished the pics, the guy took his chimp back.

      There were also a lot monkeys running around Thailand. I remember another time getting back to our truck and seeing the whole bed of the truck just full of monkeys. They all ran and scattered when we got close.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      So true about a mom being a mom. That is great that it has finally sunk in for yours. I have this feeling that it’s not gonna ever sink in for mine. But that’s okay. I enjoy our humorous conversations.

      Reply
  8. coconutandberries

    Haha, you have to laugh at these things. I’ve given up trying to explain to my Granny about me being vegan. She just doesn’t get it.
    You were such a cute little kid! And I want a chimp friend!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I totes agree that laughter is the best response, especially when family is involved. I can understand your Granny not “getting it” as she comes from a completely different generation. Neal’s grandma doesn’t get it either. They just think he’s weird. :-P

      Reply
  9. Elena

    I love it. After years as a vegetarian, my mom thought it was completely nuts when I went vegan and told me that not wearing wool was “really over the top”. Ummmm…

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      LOL @ “over the top”. I think things like wool and honey seem “over the top” because people think that in both cases the animals are not harmed and that the wool and honey are just “extra”. So why not?

      Even if animals were not harmed by taking their wool and their honey, it isn’t ours to take. I think people just have a really hard time with that notion. I’m gonna stop there before this gets ranty…anyways, you know what I’m talkin’ about. :-)

      Reply
  10. Sister Legumes

    My step mom is from China and she liked (when I lived back in the midwest with my dad) to try to put meat in my food. I wish I would have been nicer about it like you. I was like 17 though and so mad about it. She would tell my other family members to keep the secret.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Wow, that is really sneaky of your step mom and not cool. I can completely understand why you would be upset about it. I don’t think I could have laughed that one off. It sounds like she knew what she was doing. In my mom’s case, she doesn’t “get it” but she would never sneak something in my food….at least I don’t think she would.. :-|

      Reply
  11. Hannah

    Oh goodness! You can’t help but giggle. My grandfather still refers to vegan food as fake. And not even outwardly vegan things! He’ll call bread “fake bread” if he knows it’s vegan (as in see’s me eating it.). But he still eats my cooking so I just have to laugh because it’s so silly.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      LOL at “fake bread”! That is so funny. It’s great that he still enjoys your vegan cooking. Next time you should just play/joke along while you’re both eating —-mmm, this bread tastes so fake, who knew fake could taste so good??

      Reply
  12. Bobbie {the vegan crew}

    That is so cute! Even though my mother-in-law has known for years that we are vegan — and she usually goes out of her way to read/ask questions about ingredients — last Christmas she shipped us these expensive candies made with milk. I’m not clear whether she knew they were made with milk before she shipped them, but she told us, “Oh, eating them won’t hurt you” (as though my ethical concerns about milk were about me). Sometimes you just have to laugh. :)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      LOL at “they won’t hurt you”. This makes me think that maybe a lot of our friends and family get our vegan thing but at the same time, don’t *really* get it. Ya know?

      I’ve never talked ethics with my family because, well, I’m not really sure why. So I think they just think I’m just the weirdo vegan who just doesn’t eat X, Y and Z because I just want to be different.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      My mom is totally awesome and she totes doesn’t realize how awesome she is! I wish I could record some of our conversations so I could keep them forever. I think it’s a great idea to tell your mom what it is you DO eat…but that list would be crazy long right? Just tell her you eat ALL the plants! :-)

      Reply
  13. RG

    What an awesome photo! Your mom is so cute and funny, reminds me of that twitter account “sh*t my dad says” except it’s the mom’s version lol. Now I know where you get your sense of humor :)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Ha ha! I know that “sh*t my dad says” thing that you’re talking about. Sometimes I wish I had a tape recorder for all the convos I have with my mom. She says the funniest things. Like when my niece mentioned going shopping on Black Friday and my mom gasped and said — “don’t do that! They’re gonna shoot and stab you!” She was referring to the crazy shoppers. Oh ma!

      Reply
  14. Randi (laughfrodisiac)

    Hahhaa. Even the most well-meaning and understanding parents have their moments. My mom brought me some groceries recently and handed me a tin of sardines and said “Let’s eat these now!” and I just looked at her blankly for a second and then said, “Uh…mom?” and she goes, “What…OH my goodness it’s fish! I didn’t even think about it!” oh man.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Ha ha! Your mom sounds just as funny! What can you do but laugh, right? Neal’s mom did something similar the other day when she suggested we get egg rolls for an appetizer at a restaurant…and we were just kinda like..um, EGG rolls? Then she laughed when she realized that, oh yeah, those have eggs!

      Reply

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