The Art of Getting By: Vegetarian Edition

I decided to become a vegetarian in the March of this year. 9 months later, I am only just starting to get a feel for it.

For the sake of a teachable moment, I have channeled 9 months worth of mistakes and challenges into an article for the New Betty. Pique your interest? 

A Modern Etiquette Guide for Vegetarians

The script is familiar…

Scene: The Makeover Montage

Open on heroine’s disgruntled look. Close up on the stack of books balanced on head. Cut to shot of heroine tripping with slapstick exaggeration. Fade to the etiquette teacher, shaking her head.

For years this is what I thought when I heard the word etiquette. That turning point in a movie when the clumsy ingénue learns how to be a princess. To me, etiquette meant a dusty users manual for royalty featuring chapters on elocution, posture and which fork to use when.

Now I realize that, rather than stringent rules designed to exclude, etiquette is founded on a completely different ideal: good manners is about making the people around you feel comfortable. For this reason, etiquette is just as important today as it was sixty years ago. While the ideas behind it are the same, the way we apply them is different. I discovered this when I became vegetarian.

Being vegetarian comes with some inherent challenges. Whilst most people assume that these challenges would be nutritional, I found that keeping a balanced diet was not nearly as difficult as balancing some delicate social situations. So much of our social lives is based around food. Our relationship to food has a major effect on our relationships.

To navigate this new landscape, I found myself seeking guidance in those old fashioned etiquette books that my friends and I had once mocked. In lieu of any specific mention of vegetarianism within these, I have created my own guide: collecting together handy tips that I have learnt through conversation, experience and mistakes. What follows is this manual, a modern day etiquette guide for vegetarians.

Calling all curious vegetarians and inquisitive omnivores: For tips on how to host or attend a dinner party see the full post here.

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