Tag Archives: vegan army

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?


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.

Tales from the Vegan Army: Lost in Translation


Original image was posted to Flickr by Matanya (Creative Commons)

This installment of Tales from the Vegan Army takes place about 10 years ago. I was in Italy for a conference. Ten years ago, I wasn’t confident about my veganism. I didn’t know many vegans and I rarely liked to call attention to it*.  I also had zero experience with veganism and international travel.

Eating outside of the conference wasn’t an option since it was on an isolated beach.  Most meals were buffet style.  I stuck to the salad and the plainest pasta with tomato marinara.

One night, we had a formal sit-down meal in the dining room.  I sat at a large round table with about 10 people.  My two closest table-mates knew I was vegan.  That evening I experienced the meaning of “lost in translation”…

Table-Mate 1, TM 1:  [looks around at the table settings] Man this is fancy!

TM 2: I know. I wonder what we’re having.

ME: [looks around nervously, worried]  Yeah….

TM 2: [gives me a sympathetic look] I’m sure they’ll have stuff you can eat.

At this point, fancy Italian waiters disperse around the room with the first course.

ME: [realizes it’s just a salad and breathes a sigh of relief]

As the meal progresses, more Italian waiters swarm around to take our plates and bring us our second course……plain pasta with tomato marinara. Whew! I’m thinking the meal is done at that point, right? Salad and pasta. Ri-i-ight.

ME[looks down at the MEAT dish the waiter has just put in front of me] Oh, um, I didn’t know there was more. I actually don’t eat meat.

Since I don’t want to even attempt an Italian accent for the waiter, just imagine this guy’s voice for the waiter.


image from closermag.fr

Trust me…it’ll work. Plus despite what transpires, the real life waiter was just as friendly and animated as Roberto Benigni seems to be. So if this were a movie, he would be playing the part. Um, right. Maybe just go with it.

WAITER: Oh, you don’t like the dish?

ME: [not wanting to offend]  Um well, I don’t eat meat. I’m also really full on the pasta and salad.

WAITER: [takes the food, not offended] Okay, I will bring you something else then? 

ME: [nods and thinks…sure, whatever dude. Just keep it down, people are staring at me]

WAITER[comes out and puts down a new dish]  You like this dish?

ME: [stares down at a whole FRIED FISH] Um, I don’t eat any meat. Or any dairy either.

WAITER: [looks sad] Oh, no fish either eh? Okay, I’ll be right back. [swoops up the fish] 

ME[feels like a pain in the ass and says feebishly to the retreating waiter]  Sorry…really, I’m fine. I don’t need anything else.

TM 1: [wants to dissociate himself from the vegan freak and so says loudly enough for others to hear] That fish looked good! I should have taken it for myself. You know…since I eat meat like normal people.  Did everybody hear me?

The waiter, anxious to please, comes out again and plops an omelette down, certain he’s found a winner. I thought to myself — Shit…I said no dairy but I should have mentioned eggs…aren’t eggs considered dairy?  Back to the kitchen it went.

The fourth time he came out, despite me telling him I needed nothing else, he slapped a big piece of fried cheese down in front of me. The size of this cheese was enough to feed a small army, not something someone would ever eat as a meal.  As if the chef just fried the first non-meat, non-egg item he saw in the kitchen to try and please “the crazy American”!

FINALLY the waiter just brought me out more pasta. Now why didn’t I just think to ask him to do that in the first place?

What’s your “lost in translation” or vegan travel story?

*Today, I wear the vegan-freak flag proudly.  Admittedly, it has gotten a lot easier to do since veganism is more prominent in the mainstream.

Tales from the Vegan Army

This original image was originally posted to Flickr by isafmedia. (click)

Original image was posted to Flickr by isafmedia (Creative Commons). (click)

When we first moved to Atlanta, we lived within walking distance to a very hip, happening place called Little 5 Points. In said hip area, was a small Thai restaurant that we ambled into one day hoping against hope that there might be some vegan offerings. There were! But they came with something extra…

NEAL: [opening the menu after being seated] Oh, they have tofu. That’s promising.

ME: Yeah, they have a lot of tofu options actually.

WAITRESS: [walking up to our table] You guys ready to order?

ME: I think so, but we have a couple of questions. Do you know if these dishes have eggs or fish/shrimp sauce in them? [points to menu items]

WAITRESS: [looks at the menu items I am pointing to] Ummmm, I dunno. Lemme check with the cook. Are you guys like vegetarian or something?

NEAL: Actually, we’re vegan.

WAITRESS: [starts nodding head up and down and eyes get all knowing] Oh, ok. Lemme see.

After a couple of minutes, she returns.

WAITRESS: Those dishes are fine. I made sure they didn’t have any animal stuff in it. [looks really pleased with herself]

NEAL: Wow! That’s great! Thank you so much for checking! [smiling and grateful]

ME[nodding and smiling in gratitude] 

WAITRESS: Yeah, well. I know how you vegans can be. [rolls eyes]

Awkward silence.

ME: Uh. [looking confused]


wait for it…


wait for it…

WAITRESS: You know!! All ANAL and stuff.

The end.

It was strange being insulted and yet nicely accommodated (food-wise) at the same time.  We never ate there again. The food wasn’t that great. The business in that building has since changed like three times.

Expect more tales from the vegan army* in the future where I’ll share those oh-so special moments that we’ve experienced (either recently or way long ago like in this post) that only a vegan can relate to.

*The title of this blog post is inspired by a friend who described my blog as being about “that vegan army stuff”. Thanks guy. The resistance is here.