Although I eat fish about three times a month, the rest of the time I am a vegan. (It is for health reasons.)
Most of my family still does not get it, although I have been a vegan for about seven years now. When I visit them, I am always prepared and bring a few essentials like almond milk, Earth Balance and so on.
In the past, my family told me they would have vegan food for me when I arrived, but their idea of vegan food consists of a spinach quiche loaded with cheese, cream and eggs, a broccoli casserole loaded with chicken broth or a lovely tureen of cream of tomato soup. My mother had a vegetable risotto last time I went that looked divine but was made with butter and cheese. If I eat dairy, I get sick.
I am traveling for over six hours to get to their place for Thanksgiving and they said I do not need to bring any food as they will have food I can eat. But based on the past, this will not be the case.
I feel I have two options so that I can be a participant in the family meals starting Wednesday night, which is when I arrive. I do not want to appear rude and ungracious. I need advice.
One thought is to bring a small cooler with some prepared dishes that I would be able to eat. I love to cook and can bring the basics, including a little pecan pie, gravy, stuffing, etc. As I am traveling by train and not in a car, I can't bring enough to share, which is a concern. (Funny enough, my meat eating family always loves the dishes I make that are vegan and the younger ones still request them.) I would also bring a few key essentials like Earth Balance, which I have done before. Note that I'd only be able to bring enough for myself.
The other option is to ask them to buy a few things for me that can be waiting, things that are easy to cook up quickly and veganize. Potatoes, stuffing, vegetable broth, etc. Then when I get there, I'd whip up a few simple dishes, including a pumpkin bread pudding, stuffed squash and so on, necessitating time in the kitchen right when I arrive. This plan would allow me to make more generous portions that are suitable for sharing, however the fact that I am cooking a separate meal rather than appreciating the buttery and creamy treats that my parents have ordered from the local caterer for the family Thanksgiving has created stress in the past.
Anyone with unusual dietary issues able to assist on this lengthy etiquette question? I do not want to make my family stressed out because I can't eat what they have planned, yet I'd like to feel part of the experience and just as happily full as they are when all is said and done.