What Does Vegan Mean? and Other Questions My In-Laws Ask

Now that we've given up "the world's smallest apartment" and are officially homeless (until our plane takes off on Tuesday...yep, still terrified) we're staying temporarily with the in-laws. This is quite comfortable, as they do most of the cleaning and cooking (if you as much as try to help an Italian mother while she's doing anything remotely related to the kitchen, it's likely you'll get your hand chopped off with the bread knife), and David's brother's around. But it does have its complications.

Since I've first started exploring a vegan diet, I have feared this moment. Turning up in an Italian household and saying, "I don't eat any kind of dead animal, plus I won't touch mozzarella or eggs, either" is like wearing a t-shirt with a print that says, "I am an alien...and I don't like your planet all that much."

Our stay here in numbers...

4 - the number of veggie products I bought the first day at the local supermarket to spare my in-laws the dilemma of "what the heck do we cook for this girl?"

5 - the number of cans and jars of beans I've brought over from the old apartment.

1 - the number of jars of seeds that I keep in the kitchen. I put them in every salad David's dad makes.

3 - confused faces at the table when I do that.

3 - the number of "delicious" steaks I've "missed out" on so far.

4 - the number of mini-soy yoghurts that David's mom got for me to have for breakfast (so sweet of her, I've been looking all over for those).

1 - the amazing pasta and beans I've just had for lunch!

approx 100 - the times David's dad has asked me if I'm "still a vegetarian".

Like many other things about being veggie, living with the in-laws and avoiding animal products isn't the easiest thing in the world, but it can be done. What's important is to try and find solutions: I brought my own food and volunteered to cook it (did not go down well: my father-in-law is an expert cook and I have to admit that even when it comes to vegan dishes, he beats me a million times). 

When I get asked questions about my lifestyle and diet, I try to answer them as calmly as I can, giving as much info as possible. Sure, things like "but surely you can make an exception, this fish is divine!" aren't easy to deal with. And I'm not perfect: I ate David's dad's mushroom tagliatelle even if there was clearly cream in the sauce. I'm still not ready to be super-strict at other people's houses, but I'm sticking to it, and that's what matters, at least to me. And David's family has cut down on the meat a bit since I swooped in with my tofu and my brown beans. They already eat lots of vegetables, which I guess is why it's quite easy for me. I'm sure I'll miss their grilled eggplant and zucchini!


  1. Ahaha.. this is so Italian.. a shame you dont leave in the States where everything is so made for vegans.. good luck ;)


    1. I used to live in California, but that was when I was still "just" vegetarian. It was much easier! But I think London will be a nice change too.

  2. Ciao Sascha, a Londra ci sono tantissimi ristoranti vegani (o vegetariani, ma dove comunque troverai piatti vegani) e prodotti veg sono reperibili nei comuni supermercati.
    Per di più ogni ristorante ha sempre comunque un menù anche veg. Ed è anche più facile trovare scarpe ed accessori non in pelle.
    Io adoro Londra, beata te che ti trasferisci, ottima scelta. :-)
    Poi ci devi raccontare le tue avventure londinesi, eh.

    1. Certo che le racconto, anzi non vedo l'ora!

  3. immagino le tue difficoltà! Da quando sono a dieta mi trovo ad affrontare situazioni analoghe (dover spiegare le zucchine fritte sono verdure sì ma fritte e quindi non dietetiche), una lotta continua insomma! Dai che Londra è vicina e tutto andarà per il meglio :)

    1. Sí, tipo cosí! Che ne dici della frittata "alle verdure quindi vegana". Ma con le uova come la mettiamo? "Ma tanto ce n'é poco, di uovo!" So che vogliono solo il meglio per noi e un pochino si preoccupano per me che non mangio "niente" e inutile dirti che fa poca differenza ricordare che Bruce Lee era vegan, comprare e cucinare il tofu, mangiare quintali di fagioli...rimango comunque "quella strana". Non vedo l'ora di Londra e dei suoi baretti e ristorantini vegetariani!

  4. The title of this post sounds like it could be a title of a book! I experiencing similar situations especially when I'm in the islands and staying in villages. Even though I'm from Fiji I don't eat sea food or a lot of meat. I do what you do mostly - offer to cook! When I'm with my in-laws I just eat what's there - if there's something I really can't wait at the table, I make do with what I can noodles, bread...I find that there's less flexibility at my parents place - my mother will make me eat it whether I like it or not! - somethings don't change!

  5. HAHAHA! Can image that! Still a vegan with a Italian father in-law cook? That's so great :P


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