Thursday, December 29, 2011

Delicious Vegan Bolognese Sauce and my In-Law Rant

Vegan Bolognese Sauce

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Rich and hearty bolognese sauce brimming with a colorful array of vegetables and gets its full, hearty texture from a lentil and walnut crumble deliciously flavored with italian spices and liquid smoke for that extra punch of flavor.    Bolognese is traditionally a meat-based sauce served over tagliatelle pasta, however, this meatless version is full of flavor and texture without the health damaging effects of its traditional counterpart.

I took sometime off of blogging to spend with my family over the Holidays and enjoyed the short time off.  I finally found my food creativity again and this delicious vegan bolognese sauce was created!!!  I have been so excited to share it with you, I just have not had the time to post until today.  

Warning, In-law rant coming on........

growing tired of their intense fear of all things plant-based or vegan  
It is interesting that I create delicious recipes for a living and have a wonderful following of fans and yet my in-laws are so afraid of eating something 'weird'  I have been relegated to bringing relish trays and green salads to EVERY family party all year long.  The  summer of 2010 I rebelled against this and I brought a delicious vegan burnt almond fudge pie smothered in homemade caramel sauce with a homemade graham cracker crust.

It was really enjoyable to sit by the dessert table and watch piece after piece be eaten and everyone raving over how rich, creamy, and delicious it was!  No one had any idea I had brought it or that it did not contain any dairy.  I was delighted to see everyone enjoying the food I had made......until.......
My nephew came to the dessert table and saw this delicious ice cream pie and started to serve himself a piece and then with the slice in hand he turns to me and says, "who made this pie?"  I quickly and proudly answered that I had made the pie.

This 11 year old boy got a disgusted look on his face and said, "Then I don't want any."  He proceeded to put his slice back into the pie plate, grabbed a chocolate chip cookie and ran off to play.
I sat there in shock for a minute and then realized.....He DID NOT get there by himself!!!!  I realized that his parents must have been gossiping enough about me to cause their 11 year old son to refuse to eat anything I might have made.

I noticed over the coming  year that this became a trend among my in-laws, NONE of them would touch anything I had brought to family parties.  I retreated from my rebellion and brought a green salad to the next party as asked and interestingly I brought home a HUGE bowl of leftover salad...untouched.  I overlooked it and figured, knowing them well, they don't really eat much salad so I didn't think much of that.  However......

The next time I rebelled again and instead of bringing a green salad no one would eat I brought a delicious pasta salad with red grapes, apples, celery, cashews smothered in a delicious veganaise coleslaw dressing.....and yet again I brought home a HUGE bowl of uneaten pasta salad that my family ate for the next week, I had to throw out the remaining salad at the end of the week.

At first I didn't think much of it, it was a waste but I figured I'd just make less next time. 

I was asked to bring dessert to a family Christmas party.....SHOCK and SURPRISE!!  I was thrilled with the challenge and so I made a delicious chocolate peanut butter mousse pie with a homemade brownie crust.  This time my brother in law, not the father of my nephew who refused the last pie, started to serve himself and with an eerie similarity asked who made the pie and when my husband told him it was me he put it back and got a few cookies and walked away.  I went home with half of a pie and asked my husband who ate the 5 pieces.  He had been lingering and talking around the dessert counter in the kitchen all night....surprise!  I realized it was me, my husband, my daughter, my son and my husbands twin brother.  My husband did tell me what happened with my brother in law and I told him I would not bring any more food to his family parties, it is a waste of money not to mention the fact that it hurt my feelings.

I tried one more time of rebellion and brought delicious OVERSIZED chocolate mint cookies to the Christmas day dinner.  This time the ONLY other desserts were a store bought box of hard butter cookies in assorted types in a tin and some brownies that my sister in law admitted to messing up terribly and my husbands twin said they were AWEFUL!!   She kept apologizing profusely for the mess up on dessert.

There were my oversized chocolate mint decadent cookies sitting there as the only dessert that wasn't store bought or a total flop on the dessert counter and one ate them.  They all sat there eating the brownies, pulling faces and then throwing half of it away and yet my cookies remain......untouched.

After three of my in-laws started to serve themselves something I had made and then put it back after finding out I had made it, I finally stopped bringing food of any kind to parties for quite awhile.  This Christmas I brought a delicious salad with a homemade strawberry vinaigrette dressing that was amazing!  Unfortunately, yet again, as each family member walked out of the kitchen, not a one of them had any on their plate.  My mother in law only 'tasted' it AFTER she had eaten her dinner.  

My husbands grandparents had planned to go out to dinner with us.  We had called them frequently when going to our favorite restaurant in the city and they said they wanted to try it out with us.  So we planned a day and time to go with them.  My husband called a few days before to confirm with them and they asked what type of restaurant it was....Italian, Mexican.....My husband said, vegetarian.
Here is his grandmothers exact response:

Oh, we don't eat that kind of food!

As you can probably guess, we never did go out to dinner with them.

I hear so many people claim that vegetarians are rude and make rude comments to them.  I have heard people say that vegetarians just try to 'convert' everyone at the dinner parties to be vegetarian.  In my over seven years of being a vegetarian I have NEVER, EVER seen this happen.  I have MANY vegetarian family members and friends and not one of them is in any way confrontational.  They all quietly serve themselves and then put up with the barrage of rude comments from others while trying to eat their dinner.  I have been to vegetarian potlucks and have listened to story after story of extremely rude dinner hosts, rude family members and people trying desperately to defend themselves and their eating habits despite the fact that the poor vegetarian has not uttered one word to them, just simply tried to blend in and eat and enjoy the dinner party.

I have suffered through so many dinner parties, as soon as someone notices my plate does not contain meat the barrage of rude remarks, jokes and defensiveness automatically begin.  An enjoyable dinner party can deteriorate into a fest of 'pick on the vegetarian' in a matter of seconds.  I have my own theories about why this happens but all I am going to say is sad.

Having lived through extremely difficult dinner parties time and again, and listening to other vegetarians talk about being attacked at dinner parties I have realized that people are extremely defensive of their eating habits and when someone threatens the status quo by simply not eating something that is considered controversial not to eat, it becomes threatening and the defenses go up.

Unfortunately due to my food choices and a few other misunderstood things I do, I have become the black sheep, the outcast, the leper of my husbands family.  I say this just as a wake up call to people, seriously???  You treat someone this way simply because of a food choice?  It is a sad reality but I have seen it time and time again......

Okay, off my soapbox and on to the delicious vegan bolognese sauce recipe!!!


Gerbers said...

We made this tonight for dinner, it was delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe, I had no idea what I was going to make.

Tandi said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Hilary said...

So sorry to hear about your in-laws, that must be extremely frustrating! I am the only vegetarian I know so I feel your pain.
I'm definitely going to try this recipe, I've like everything else of yours that I have tried, I'm sure this one will be no different.

Tandi said...

Hilary- I'm glad to hear there are others out there who understand. I am glad you have enjoyed the recipes, this one is really good!

Anonymous said...

I know this is an older post but I just wanted to give you some encouragement.

First of all, thank you SO MUCH for the amazing recipe. I am at the end of my grocery budget and couldn't imagine how I would make a "meaty" bolognese sauce without tofu or vegan sausage or the other things I'm missing! So, thanks for that.

As far as the in- laws go....I have experienced the exact same things as you have. On one occasion, my MIL was visiting us for a week and I had resolved to not change anything! Hubs and I were raised on BBQ and meat and potatoes in south Texas so, our vegan food tends to be the same - just healthier and sometimes heartier! This woman.....ugh - that woman couldn't stop going on and on about how weird we were, what was wrong with us. Could we just eat some normal food?! And the barrage of abuse continued the whole time.

Sometimes you just have to smile, hug 'em, and whisper, "screw you." juuuust loud enough for you to feel good but quiet enough for them not to be quite sure what you said ;).

Keep it up, girl!

Tandi Hartle said...

Anonymous...Thanks for taking the time to post and let me know you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for sharing your story of rude in-laws it is always nice to know there are others going through similar experiences :-)