Put yourself in my shoes and help me to get through this. My vegetarian mother in law is coming for a two week visit. She is a lacto ovo vegetarian who cannot "take the smell of flesh". What would you do? How would you tackle this?
Totally agree with Carl here. Totally. It's not Meredith's fault that her mother in law is vegetarian and doesn't like meat. If she is willing to come for 2 weeks, she must already know what she's in for.
See this is where many close friends and family get into real trouble in relationships.
The "what will they think if I put my foot down" fear. You will basically never have this fear when you know that you are dealing with a rationally thinking, level headed person. It is only when you have observed irrational thinking from the person in question that brings the fear.
It's a beast. But you gotta learn to master how to handle it.
You gotta take the desire to keep peace and have a good time and build yor relationship with her further and balance it with the importance of not being bulldozed by fear of what the other person will think about your "gumption" to include your own preferences.
She may actually take to it just fine. Definitely gotta give her a chance before jumping to conclusion in your own mind and driving yourself bonkers only to find out that she has actually thought through it well and there was never a problem to begin with... only a false fear.
Either way, you will feel best, and respect yourself the most if you communicate openly and confidently.
All the best to you on this one Meredith :)
To be blunt, if she wants you to respect her diet, she should respect yours. It's your house and she is the guest. I would stock up on food that she eats (and get some recipes ready), but still eat what I want.
I think this is tough, but not impossible. Besides the obvious tack of dedicating one of your meals daily to eggs, you'd have to get creative to have the house fairly odor-neutral to your MIL. (Though what on earth does she do eating out? Surely she doesn't frequent only veggie/vegan restaurants?) I think that you can minimize impregnating the house with the smell of cooking meat, but to be fair your MIL should be willing to tolerate a microwaved or stir-fried meat smell here and there for the sake of HER compromising as a guest! (After all you aren't forcing her to eat it!)
I know from experience the frustration of living in close quarters with parents and inlaws who don't share the same eating lifestyle. Here's my rough sketch of one of the week's potential menus for a meat-averse lacto-ovo staying at a paleo household. There are some compromises but it largely keeps the house from smelling like meat for any long period of time. Hopefully it gives you some ideas?
Get ready to cook more eggs than you'd ever cared to. I read "smell of fish" at first, which wasn't as bad as "smell of flesh". Cook meats out on the grill as a way of demonstrating you are trying. Buy precooked chickens from the grocery store. Make sure you serve her lots of wine to keep her distracted.
Alex from PaleoPax
yep, what Carl said, feed her what she wants, cater to her somewhat, but she needs to let you be yourself in your own house. She can sit in the yard while you cook your food. If she is a bitch to you about it, your husband needs to make her knock it off.
When I was a veggie, I had no problem with packing my meals, she should expect to do the same.
Be nice, be polite, but explain that your family also has dietary needs that you feel are best managed with a Paleo diet. She can leave the kitchen when you're cooking.
A good friend of mine is vegetarian and we have dinner about once a week. We really have absolutely no problem finding food that we both enjoy. He is "ovo/lacto" vegetarian with some seafood. I usually cook foods that we both like and we each eat what we like. I skip the pasta and rice, he skips the meat, my family eats basically everything but according to their preference.
It isn't really that hard, as long as everyone has respect for the other viewpoints. Treating a house guest as a second-class citizen because they have a different diet than you is very rude. Would you also disparage a house guest who is Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or some other culture or religion that has dietary restrictions? Learning how to get along with people who are different than you is a virtue.
You can use this as an opportunity to explore unusual ingredients that are both Paleo and vegetarian, for example, seaweed salad, purple tubers, seasonal non-starchy vegetables, etc. It can become fun for everyone to find the common culinary ground.
Another friend of mine (decidedly not vegetarian) who is an avid cook but culturally clueless had an office party at his house, and among the guests was a muslim who had recently come to the US. He made... pork ribs. I was absolutely aghast at his insensitivity.
Two weeks is a long time. I can do a dinner that is gluten free and vegetarian, but 14 is way more of a pain than I am willing to put up with.
If it were me I would probably put my spouse in charge of figuring that one out since she is not my parent and I am probably not the one who is benefiting from the visit.
You could eat out a lot, she could go elsewhere while you cook, you could exist on cold cuts with one good meal cooked elsewhere a week. I might be willing to do these, but I wouldn't be willing to be in charge of the negotiations around the "smell of flesh".
I was a vegetarian for 10 years and still am surrounded by vegetarians and vegans. So, it is not uncommon to have a houseguest who does not eat everything the family is eating. My first bit of advice is to have ground rules. The most important of which no one criticizes anyone's food choices. (It is unacceptable in my home for anyone to say someone else's food is gross - even when it is some nasty, smelly tofu fake food). Next, cook your meals for 2 weeks in coconut oil and butter or ghee. Have meat always served separate from the veggies so she can still have a nice meal. Since she eats eggs, load up on the fritattas. you can even do mini ones (egg cupcakes) so some have meat and veggies and some just veggies. Don't be afraid to eat out more than you normally would. This is a special time (just keep telling yourself that) and should be celebrated. Do not let her insult you, your food, your home, your life. If she pulls that, look her straight in the eye, tell her that comment was hurtful and unfair. You will be dealing with your MIL for a long time - set boundaries now. Make sure your husband understands before she arrives that you want this to be a pleasant trip but, your MIL (and maybe even the hubby) are free to go to a hotel if this does not work.
There are hotels with kitchens she can stay in. I enjoy a veggie dinner here and there, but 14 days, 3 meals a day- that is 42 flesh-free meals... that's a lot of eggs! lol
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