How many times have you, as a vegetarian or vegan, tried to convince your family at Thanksgiving that your Tofurky tasted better, or at least was comparable, to the slow-roasted turkey your grandmother perfected over the last 40 years? After no one was convinced, at what point did you start ranting about how your Tofurky was environmentally friendly and no one had to call fire marshall because someone damn-near burned down the house frying a turkey like your Uncle Buster, who thought watching YouTube instructional video would turn him into Emeril Lagasse.
The pro-vegetarian argument falters every time in the face of a meat-eater’s opposition because most of us are always trying to push our Fraken-meats (veggie bacon or un-chick’n), which, unfortunately, makes us look like we really miss the taste of flesh.
“You just foolin’ yourself … you know you want this steak son,” says my father, who loves to play up my veganism at every family holiday. Underneath the jest, my father is really just expressing his anxiety about his lost connection with his son at the dinner table (Every time I visited my hometown, Los Angeles, he would excitedly invite me to dine at a new steakhouse he had found for us). We used to revel in our refined palates in regards to flesh, especially steak.
I have no regrets about choosing veganism; honestly, it’s the best decision I have ever made in my life. I’ve enjoyed all the wonderful soy products — chicken fried tofu from Atlanta’s Midtown Whole Foods is addictive! But at some point, I made a conscious decision to leave the plethora of mock meats alone, surrendering to the even wider range of fruits and vegetables.