Sunday, October 25, 2009

VeganMofo: Vegan at weddings

::sigh:: Going out to eat is hard enough. Weddings are even harder.Yesterday, a friend of mine from middle school got married. I was prepared for the worst, but it actually wasn't that bad, comparatively. I didn't think to take pictures until the dinner portion, so some of the best stuff from the cocktail hour is missing. They had bread, pasta (which I was able to get plain), sun dried tomatoes with spinach in garlic oil, some eggplant-y stew-y thing, marinated mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, and plenty of raw fruits and veggies. I mixed it all together and made a really yummy pasta salad.

(Apologies for the bad pictures. The lighting was awful.)
Later, we went into the other room for the main portion of the reception and this was on everyone's plate. It's a salad, with grilled veggies and fresh mozzarella. I gave another friend my mozzarella and she gave me her mushroom. Grilled portabella mushrooms are fantastic, but the rest was just okay to me. It wasn't spectacularly seasoned or anything.
The second course was pasta, but it wasn't vegan. After that, they gave everyone Italian ices. Mine was lemon flavored and quite enjoyable. I wasn't expecting to have anything dessert-y, so it was a pleasant surprise. Meanwhile, they took the orders for the main course. There was a vegetarian option (a vegetable lasagna), but of course no vegan option. My friend had told them ahead of time that there would be a vegan, but the waiter looked at me like I had seven heads. I explained that I needed something with no cheese or meat or dairy, etc. and he offered grilled vegetables. Fine.
As expected, the vegetables in question were almost exactly the same as the uninspiring vegetables in the first course but the mushroom was traded for asparagus and there were strips of roasted red pepper strips instead of tomato. Overall: blah. Now don't get me wrong. Grilled vegetables are great....when they are prepared correctly. At my sister's wedding last year, they made me the best grilled vegetables I have ever had. Ever.

What makes it worse is the fact that grilled vegetables are the standard go-to vegetarian option so I end up eating them all the time. Why is that the only thing omnis can think of? It's not even easy. It's actually really hard to make good grilled vegetables. They'd be much better off with a pasta dish like the one I made in the cocktail hour. The dish they gave me was so boring. The vegetables were poorly cooked so they were rubbery in some parts and oily in others. The only exception was the asparagus. It was perfectly cooked and well seasoned. And where did my mushrooms go? Mushrooms are the best. That was a serious fail for them.

And of course, it wouldn't be a wedding if I didn't have to answer a million questions about veganism. It was the usual questions: Why are you vegan? How long have you been vegan? Isn't it hard? and the standard statements: I could never; I like cheese too much. I could never give up seafood. etc. I know these questions are fueled by curiosity and, for the most part, genuine interest. Still, it's annoying because I have to be careful not to sound judgmental and not to insult the grand omnivorous diet and not get defensive and not sound too fanatical, etc. But the girl I was talking to seemed very nice and genuinely interested, so I didn't mind too much.

Ah weddings. But the point that really matters is that I had tons of fun at the wedding and it really was a lot of fun and beautiful and completely spectacular. Congrats to the happy couple!

1 comment:

  1. weddings can be hard! Looks like they at least had some good stuff! I was at one once where the vegan meal was plain pasta with (un)frozen lima beans and carrots. Really strange, but i like it when folks make an effort! It looks like a beautiful wedding!