I’m a vegan, which poses no problems except when I’m with my carnivorous family. I don’t expect them to change the way they eat, but it is difficult to share meals both at home (it’s insulting to them if I cook for myself, but they insist on buttering the vegetables) and out (“What’s vegan?”). My mother gets annoyed that I don’t partake in traditional activities like making s’mores. I’ve tried cooking for my parents, but they don’t like anything I make and resent my “preaching” to my siblings. How do I meld these two lifestyles?
Beth Smith, Dallas, Texas
First, nobody likes a hectoring vegan. Unassuming vegans are fine. Your parents undoubtedly love you, but don’t test the proposition. They already accept your dissidence, and this is what counts. So, none of that veganish whinging—you know, the “Oh, God, put away the cottage cheese before the Auschwitz-like cruelty of modern dairy farming makes me throw up in disgust” sort of whinging. Bring food home with you, if you must, and live by example, not rhetoric. You’ll gain more converts that way. Another way to gain converts would be to introduce your family to vegan marshmallows, which would let bloom a renewed spirit of togetherness on your family s’mores-making nights. And I happen to know a great recipe for Mexican s’mores, or “s’macos,” so you can get started: you’ll need one package of tortillas, a bag of carob chips, one bag of vegan marshmallows, and a jar of peanut butter. Spread the peanut butter on the tortillas, then add in the carob chips and marshmallows. Roll up the tortillas, wrap them in foil, and stick them in the fire for three or four minutes. Delicious.