Monday, April 23, 2012

Meat and My M.I.L.

Ian and my parents and I always joke that I'm so fortunate to have such a generous and creative "future M.I.L." who is willing to create vegetarian and pescetarian dishes specifically for me, even though her three main men are carnivores. Yesterday, as we were meeting Ian's parents for lunch, I was playing tug-of-war in my head: When do I tell her? How do I tell her? Will she be disappointed? Will she be relieved? I needed to find the perfect time and way to tell her that I've been experimenting with meat. I knew she would be understanding, because that's just who she is. My parents have been more than accommodating of my dietary changes over the years; I figured her reaction couldn't be but so different.

She handed me the prime opportunity to tell her as we were discussing OBX next month. She suggested that Ian and I take one night at the beach and prepare dinner for everyone (Bonnie, Jimmy, Ian's bro Tyler, Tyler's lady Liz, and possibly the family's friend Keith). I had already suggested to Ian that we do this, (1) as we're in our 20s and more than capable of preparing meals, and (2) as a gesture of gratitude for such a nice vacation. We (Ian and I) tentatively discussed this idea last summer, but the meal calendar had already been calculated, and our restaurant nights were planned. Bonnie told us that Tyler and Liz had already okayed the meal-prep plan, and I was gung-ho about it. Tyler, however, has worked in the restaurant industry as a chef, and he has experience preparing meals for groups. Ian and I are challenged in that respect, but it's a challenge I'm more than willing to accept! I don't have a clue yet what we'll make, but we have 34 days to figure out logistics. Bonnie will even grocery shop for whatever ingredients we need!

Later during the meal, I circled back around to OBX and slyly mentioned that I've been experimenting with various non-vegetarian foods. I'm still not really eating red meat, and I have no intention of eating "real" hot dogs or hamburgers in the foreseeable future. I wanted her to know that, because we typically grill out at least one night on vacation. Her reaction was less surprised than I had anticipated, but curious and very receptive. Whew! What a relief :) Oh, did I mention that I had been munching on the Calypso Spinach Salad (with grilled chicken) during the entire meal? Ian knew that I had been debating about when and how to tell her, but she didn't say a word. Ian even requested that the spicy chili that came with our appetizer arrive on the side.
I don't know why I was nervous to begin with. Yes, Bonnie has gone out of her way to accommodate my vegetarianism for two-and-a-half years, so I didn't want her to feel as though her efforts had been for naught. I should have known, after all this time, that she would support me no matter my decisions about meat.
Now that that (surprisingly brief) conversation is out of the way, all I need to worry about is what Ian and I will prepare for the group next month!

P.S. Is your family supportive of your dietary decisions? Does your family understand your food choices and your reasoning?

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