Improvising

21 Jul

Traveling, being away from home, or visiting with family and friends who are not vegan or used to your vegan diet can be tricky situations.  There are little things that are more easily accessed at home than away.  And while it can initially seem challenging, these situations create opportunity to learn about improvising in a pinch.

I’ll start with coffee.  Those of you who know me know that I don’t just like coffee; I have an ongoing love affair with it.  And I like my coffee with creamer.  Vegan creamer is its own challenge, regardless of whether you have complete control of the contents of your fridge and pantry.  I’ll get into that another time (hint – I prefer the almond and coconut milk creamer from the brand that rhymes with the word “shalifia”).  But during a trip, there probably won’t be a soaked cashew or squeezed almond in sight!  What’s a nice vegan to do?  At the risk of insulting your hosts, the answer becomes suddenly simple – shut the hell up and drink the coffee black. The truth is, if it’s not too hot, it’s a dark roast (I prefer French) and the coffee maker is clean enough (otherwise black coffee tastes bitter), it’s not bad at all.  It just takes some adjustment.  Before long, you’ll probably prefer it that way.

Next, there is the cheese on the pasta.  How do you make it work without grating cheese (and sorry, friends, I’ve yet to find a good vegan alternative to my favorite Romano)?  The answers – good quality salt and red pepper flakes. Load it the heck up!  Ok – don’t go nuts on the salt, especially if you have health issues that might be aggravated.  But if you do it right, the flavor punch is serious and the heat of the pepper will slow down your eating so you don’t overdo it – which I tend to do when it comes to pasta!  It makes all the difference and the truth is, I never miss the cheese.  If you can sneak in some extra garlic, too, go for it.

What about the cheese plate?  Never fear – cheese is almost never served alone.  I find there are always crackers, veggies and chutney to go along with the cheese.  I wash the non-cheese items down with a nice glass of wine (isinglass-free, if possible), and I’m good to go.

Being out of your element is not always easy as a vegan, but there are few things in life as rewarding as being surrounded by family and friends, or traveling to amazing locations  Don’t panic and don’t make it bad.  Relax and think outside the box.

One final suggestion  – if you’re visiting family or friends, offer to cook!  Not only can you default to cooking items that are on your menu, but you can show your hosts how great vegan food can be.  It’s also a great way to show your gratitude.

Have fun and don’t stress.

KLD

 

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