We recently completed a marathon week of guests. I had known about the visits for a long time (Europeans plan way ahead!) and was super excited about preparing and serving a bounty of vegan meals for each of them to showcase how delicious plant-based eating can be (and perhaps sow some tiny seeds).
First, let’s get one thing clear. Anyone who knows me for five minutes learns that I’m neither a confident cook nor an easy entertainer so adding the vegan dynamic took the stress level up a notch. But, as anyone who knows me for 5 minutes, also learns that I’m passionate about health and the environment so I was willing to push myself out of my comfort zone for the “cause”.
I had been looking through cook books and the abundance of online sources for inspiring ideas and became genuinely excited about embarking on some new culinary creations. However, our house is on the market so actually testing out any of these recipes had not transpired in real life since we constantly need to keep the house clean and free from smells.
No matter what kind of entertaining one does, it helps to have a few “tried and true” recipes that are always winners. That will be the key to my vegan entertaining in the future, however, the stars aligned for that not to happen this time.
This sweet family from Sweden were the first to arrive.
We’ve known Mattias and Emma for almost 20 years when they worked with Niklas at Dell Nordic. Unfortunately, I was ill while they were here and could barely drag myself out of bed which threw me since I rarely get sick. Niklas totally stepped up during their stay and handled most of the entertaining and kindly offered to pick up cheese pizzas for the night they were coming here for dinner. As much as I hated to give up the chance to dazzle them with mind-blowing vegan food, I succumbed. Had we had our default entertainment recipes nailed down, I’m sure we wouldn’t have caved to convenience. There were several other factors that added to the dilemma which I won’t go into, but suffice it to say, we were stretched to capacity and then some.
Next up were the Norwegians. You may remember our friend, “Jane” from either this post or this one back from our Paris days. They arrived on the heels of the Swedes and since a) I still wasn’t 100% and b) we had one cheese pizza left from the Swedes, we served that bad boy up. We didn’t buy any more even though the Moes can plow through one on their own in no time, but rather had it as a side in a whole buffet of colorful veggies and dips and lentils and salads and fruit. We were making progress.
The Brazilan and Texan arrived the next day. After getting a late start from LA, they arrived after lunch so no meal for them. My old self would have served a glorified FIKA, but I’m on a mission and offered them the OneGreenSmoothie challenge instead–and a deep dark green one to boot! Easiest entertaining ever and they were great sports about it. They’ve been vegan for 3+ years now so of course we blew off the catching up and had a deep dive on the realities and challenges for families trying to be plant based. Bottom line–don’t try to be perfect all the time.
The following day, we had a celebration dinner for Sean (right) and Sanford from Sonos. Niklas happened to mention our beloved Cowspiracy documentary to Sean one day last January. He and his girlfriend watched it and immediately did the 30 day vegan challenge and loved the results. They are still veganish, a term I love because it gives people the flexibility to be vegan most of the time, but not feel like they have to be perfect all the time. Trust me, any and every little bit helps our health, the earth, the animals and is worthy of celebrating!
Sanford and Niklas started to play table tennis at SONOS and to level up the competition, made an agreement that whomever lost the series, would have to do something nice for the winner. Niklas won and asked Sanford if he would go meatless for a month as his act of kindness. To his credit, Sanford eagerly agreed. Not only did he take it seriously, he was dedicated until the very end! He, too, said he will continue to consume much less meat and dairy now that his “gap in knowledge” is closing as a result of his month of being vegan.
By this time, I was finally back to myself and prepared a full vegan menu to celebrate with these great guys! It was so much fun creating the food and sharing it with them to commemorate their contributions to the greater good. Not only were they good sports about the 30 day vegan challenge and the OneGreenSmoothie Challenge, they were super sweet to take on Linnea and Mattias in a rousing badminton match!
Dare I say all those plant foods give one loads of energy!?!?
Thank you to all our guests for giving us the chance to explore entertaining as a plant based family. While we weren’t perfect, we definitely made progress and have a little more experience behind us as we progress on this endeavor.