Joan and Cliff are a couple in their late fifties/early sixties that were introduced to me last spring when a coworker told them about my blog. They were interested in veganism because their daughter, Beth, had recently made the switch from being a vegetarian to vegan and was returning home for an extended visit during the summer. Joan told me that Beth had gone vegetarian her first year in college and now after learning to make vegetarian meals for her, she wanted to be able to cook vegan. What an awesome mom, right?
When Beth came to town I had the opportunity to meet her and she thanked me for helping with her parent’s education on veganism. She told me it was awesome to come home to a stocked kitchen and the fact that they knew about nutritional yeast, as well as where they could go out to eat was far more than she could have anticipated.
This visit had a few other twist which ultimately brought their family closer together. Days after returning home, Cliff suffered a minor heart attack, which lead Beth to extending her stay. Beth had some big news to share, but wanted to make sure her dad was back on his feet before doing so. Beth was coming out to her parents and telling them that she had been dating the same woman for the past three years. She was hoping to bring her home for the holidays. Joan and Cliff later told me that the vegan thing was more of a shock than Beth being gay, but Beth had felt the need to ease them into it.
Before Beth left, she had her parents watch Forks over Knives and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, which lead them to eating a plant-based diet. It was fun getting to hear about their new adventures eating out. Though Joan would act stressed, Cliff said she seemed to really enjoy learning to cook all over again, and would gleam with each new creation, saying “Can you believe it’s vegan?”
Beth and her girlfriend were coming to celebrate Christmas and I helped Joan put together her menu. She was most excited about making her first vegan cheesecake, because that was their families traditional dessert. I couldn’t wait to hear about their extra special Christmas.
I saw Joan a couple of days ago and finally had the opportunity to ask her how the Christmas visit went. She became flush and told me it could have gone better. She said until Christmas day, everything was great and they adored Beth’s girlfriend. Then things took a turn.
To start with, Beth’s favorite candy has always been Jelly Belly’s, so as was the norm , there was a box waiting for in her stocking on Christmas morning. Beth’s girlfriend quickly had to announce that they weren’t vegan because they had confectioner’s glaze. She then took the package from Beth and dumped them into the trash.
Joan told me that the remainder of day was a little tense between Beth and her girlfriend. They got through dinner with rave reviews and then it was time to serve cheesecake. As they have done every other year, great grandma’s fine china was pulled out to serve Christmas dessert on. The cheesecake was a success. Beth then began to tell her girlfriend about the china they were eating on and how whenever she had a bad day growing up her mom would pull the plates out, so they could have dessert on them, even if it was just a few cookies. Magically, the plates would make everything better.
Beth’s girlfriend then picked up the plate to admire the detail. She flipped it over to look at the back, to find that the stamp said “bone china.” She stood up and told Joan that she couldn’t believe she had the nerve to serve her on plates made of bones. The girlfriend then stormed out of the house, and called a couple of hours later to break up with Beth over the phone.
Joan said that Beth later admitted that things had been bad for awhile and this was just the girlfriends excuse to escape. Beth has confessed to her mom and dad that she is happier now than she has been in a long time and will be moving home after she completes her masters in the spring. They are all still vegan and Beth sends an email a week about animal rights issues, which is forcing Joan and Cliff to see things they never realized were going on. They also decided collectively, that they would continue to eat on the china. In fact, they ate cheesecake on the magical plates the morning after Christmas, to help Beth’s wounds from her harsh break up heal.
The reason I felt the need to share this story with you is because I never thought about things like non-vegan heirlooms until Joan shared this with me. In my storage unit I have two sets of fine china, one from my grandma, that I grew up eating holiday dinners on, and one that was my great grandparent’s wedding china. I am willing to bet that one is made of bones.
If they are in fact bone china, is it wrong for me to keep them? Will other vegans look down on me and question my ethics or my commitment to the cause? Do you have any heirlooms that mean something to you because of the memories or the person that left them to you, that don’t really fit your vegan lifestyle? How would you react if someone served you on bone china? I would love to hear what you have to say about it all.
By the way, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to all of you that have taken the time to vote for me on the Circle of Mom’s contest. I know many of you have voted more than once and have shared with your friends. These acts of kindness have been greatly appreciated. I know at the end of the day it seems rather silly, but I put a lot of time into this blog, and it has meant the world to me to know that I have touch some enough to make an extra effort on my behalf. It was exciting to have ridden in the first place spot for a bit, and with only two days left, I believe my spot in the top 25 is secured, which is all I was really hoping for! XO Steffi