Last weekend involved much eating and meeting up with friends and family. There was a causal drinks meeting with a local film company at The Fox Hotel in Collingwood on Friday afternoon, dinner with a good friend at Vegie Bowl in Forest Hill Friday night, lunch with my parents at Br Black Juicery in Berwick on Saturday afternoon, and movie followed by dinner with girlfriends at Oneworld Knox Ozone on Sunday afternoon. By the time my head hit the pillow Sunday night, I hit a brick wall. As an introvert who generates her energy from within, there was nothing left in the tank once I arrived at the desk Monday morning. Still, despite impending fatigue, I felt nourished after a weekend spent with cherished friends and family.
As a travelling vegan writer and blogger, it has fascinated me that we as humans intricately tie our consumption of food with time in the company of others. While fascinating, it’s a way of life I have known all my life. My dad was a chef, and there have been many an afternoon or evening where he laboured his love into a meal shared amongst the family. Some of my friends also love catching up for a coffee, which turns into two or more over a few hours sitting in a sunny courtyard at a local meet-up spot.
While I’ve dedicated almost all my life to travelling and eating, the last seven or so years have involved travelling and eating from a vegan standpoint. What has baffled me in these last few years is the fact that much of humanity spends time with loved ones by finding home in eating comfort food at the expense of cooking slaughtered animals. Such animals, at some point in their lives, had spent their own family time nourishing their babies with feeds of milk; providing comfort to their own families much the same way as humans nourish and comfort their family members with food. How can we as humans comfort our families with ‘foods’ that have been taken from the lives of other animals?
When I announced to my family I was vegan those years ago, my dad was the hardest hit. He couldn’t quite understand, especially since we shared a common, close bond built through cooking and consuming food. Still, my dad has grown into his new role of chef to me, and he is excited to share his latest vegan creations when I arrive home to enjoy a meal with him. What’s more? He ate – almost – a full vegan meal at Mr Black Juicery last weekend (sans the milk in his cappuccino). And, yes, he enjoyed it. Their beetroot buckwheat pancake stack is pretty incredible, I must admit!
This one simple act of sharing a vegan meal with family, in the name of love, shows that it’s possible for vegan food can create a space where heart and home can be found. It made me realise that veganism, despite the utter distain that many people have for it (for reasons I still can’t grapple) can lead the way when it comes to those foundational aspects of being and living.
So far, I’ve travelled through the Middle East, America and Canada, India and South-East Asia, not to mention through my homeland of Australia. What I’ve discovered is that all humans on earth have a shared connection with food. Food brings people together in love and harmony. Why can’t humans express this love and harmony through eating vegan food? Why is it so hard for humans to even contemplate the notion? Why is there an ongoing and constant need to kill other beings just so we can gather together in celebration? One’s suffering shouldn’t be at the centre of another’s joy. That’s just a tradition I cannot no longer accept, while it pains to me to remember those years in my life when I unconsciously did.
Have you enjoyed a vegan meal with loved ones? If not, then I encourage you to explore the possibility of having a vegan meal with friends and family.
You can check out my Aussie Vegan Directory where you’ll find a long list of places around Australia, ordered by state, including solely vegetarian/vegan places as well as spots classed as omnivore.
Enjoy, with love.