Confessions of a Closet Vegan

Yesterday my friend, Sandy, and I went out to lunch at Briar Rose, a great little bakery just up the road from me here in Farmington.  Both Sandy and I ordered a spinach salad.  No bacon.  No egg.  No cheese.  The waitress was friendly.  The people at the next table made eye contact and smiled in the way of small town people the world over.   The sun shone brightly through the windows.

All was well.

Then Sandy forgot herself and said, and I want you to see her pretty mouth open, the words emerging distorted into the floury air as though in slow motion.

“Weeee’re Veeeegaaans.”

The couple next to us dropped their eyes, hid behind their menus. The waitress developed a small twitch in her left eyebrow, leaned her body as far away from us as possible given her trapped position between the tables. The sun disappeared behind a cloud.

And here’s the thing.  I completely understand the reaction.  Even the hiding sun deal.  Holy cow, er, holy tofu, most Vegans are annoying as hell.

Just as some innocent carnivore is biting into a big, juicy cheeseburger, the bastards launch into a description of the pitiful life of the cow from whence the pink goo enhanced meat came.  And yes, they often use words like whence.  Or, and this habit produces in me a desire to bitch slap the offending food Nazi, they take twenty minutes to order a simple salad because they simply MUST use the occasion to lecture the waitress, and thus everyone within ear shot, about the horrors of factory farms and, by implication, their own sainthood for not contributing to animal cruelty.

Here’s the thing.

I don’t care what you eat.  I don’t care who you sleep with.   I don’t care what God you worship.  I don’t care whether you vote democrat or republican.

These are all personal decisions that, as an adult, you are free to make all by yourself.  I trust you will deal with the consequences of your choices and I will do the same. Oh, I love exchanging ideas with you.  I enjoy hearing how you came to your decisions.  But, ultimately, they are your decisions, not mine.

You will never hear me explain to a waitress why I’m ordering the salad.

When you ask me where I’m from, I’ll tell you, “A beautiful little town in the redwoods, right on the coast, just south of the Oregon border.”

Some things shouldn’t be spelled out in annoying detail.


About Author and Speaker Pamela Foster

Pamela Foster is a speaker and author. Her first book, Redneck Goddess, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Her second book, Bigfoot Blues, will be available in August 2012.
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18 Responses to Confessions of a Closet Vegan

  1. Jan Morrill says:

    Well said, Pam. And as always, with humor and wisdom. I, like you, could care less . . . except to the extent it could provide some interesting discussion. If only we could get that far . . .

  2. Jan Morrill says:

    Reblogged this on The Red Kimono and commented:
    A thought-provoking post by my friend, Pamela Foster. There are differences beyond politics, religion and skin color?

  3. Jess says:

    I’ve been vegetarian for little more than a year. I’ve been a little shocked at how it affects others, as if what I want on my salad is a personal affront to my friends and family. Crazy, huh? My husband, daughter and I became vegetarians when the two of them read the book, Eating Animals, and shared details with me. I’m very visual so I didn’t need to read the book. 🙂 For several years, I’ve subscribed to a newsletter advising me of all the food recalls because of eColi, samonella, mislabeling, foreign products in the foot, etc. Believe me, most of the time I’m glad I don’t eat meat any more–but there are days I’d kill for a good old cajun spiced steak! I’m glad to see more restaurants offering veggie items on the menu but not nearly enough choices.

    Good post.

    • It’s the craving for sugar that does me in, Jess. And I only have to succumb once to kick in the jonesing for six month. At the moment I don’t seem bothered by the cakes and cookie at the bakery or the rows of candy at the supermarket check-out line, but that could all change tomorrow after popping one tiny M&M.

      • While I’m not a vegetarian in any way shape or form, Pam, I respect your choice. For me, for health reasons, I blotted sugar and sweeteners from my diet. So I know what it’s like to be looked at as strange.
        You don’t eat sugar? How horrible for you. Are you sure I can’t get you something for dessert. No thanks. I don’t miss it. It’s been over 12 years ago. I suppose my day job as a cake decorator make my choice even more of an oddity.

      • Rochelle, I love the juxtaposition of the cake decorating with the sugar-free diet. I find that, when I’m very hungry, just baking bread, watching the yeast rise in the bowl, kneading the dough, often satisfies my craving for carbs. Once the bread is baked I quickly slice and freeze it before I can change my mind about eating the entire loaf. As you can see by the previous post, I am not good at moderation. Abstinence or gluttony seems the only options for me.

  4. Pam, what a wonderful post that brightened my morning and had me nodding in agreement. I always want to say to those who dare tell me about my eating habits, “Have you killed any carrots lately?” You always make me laugh and I’m now following your blog. I’ll email you my link and add yours to my Word Press when I figure out how to do it. Love you, lady

  5. Pam I love speculations on where to draw lines (and the entire topic of sentience as a reason for any particular dietary regime is a whole different topic than regimes based on health reasons), and I’ve often marveled at how people get so angry over things we do or don’t do in our personal lives that have no impact on anyone else’s personal lives. It’s a rare collection of people that can keep civility while discussing religion, politics, sexual orientation, and now diets should be added to the list I guess. Great post.

  6. Linda Apple says:

    I love your message Pam, and wrapped with humor, the lesson goes deeper. Thanks dear friend!

  7. Greg Camp says:

    A sister-in-law that I had once was a food technologist. She’d go into excrutiating detail about what was wrong with everything we were eating. Now, I enjoy learning. I’ve even had a bit of that there book larnin’ myself. But when I sit down to eat, the choice–informed, most of the time–has been made.

    I have to admit to feeling a measure of militancy, though. I was raised vegetarian. I am grateful to have escaped that pit of despair, and I feel the need on occasion to save the souls and stomachs of those who are still trapped in the sin of eating only leaves. I will try to be gentle in my efforts to convert.

  8. Denton Gay says:

    Pam, you’ve got to consider the place. In Farmington, they may have confused vegan with lesbian.

  9. Hahaha! You reminded me of the looks I saw locals give a tourist at a hip cafe in Berkeley when he naively ordered a cheeseburger without whispering to the waitress – if looks could kill! I think you’re right – all that judginess does far more harm to us than trans-fats and corn syrup. We are what we eat BUT it is what comes OUT of our mouths that truly defiles us, not the reverse! (MATT 15:11)

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