My sixteen year old daughter just announced that she would be going Vegan for Lent. This, as well as her recent conversion to vegetarianism, is interesting due to the fact that she does not eat vegetables. With a husband who is a true carnivore, dinner time at our house is about to get really interesting, not to mention expensive.
It was obvious by the time I got home from work on Ash Wednesday that Allie was hungry. Despite a two-hour delayed start of school she “did not have time” to make herself a lunch. What actually must have transpired is that she could not find anything in the house or school cafeteria that fit her new dietary restrictions. So we made an eye-opening trip to the grocery store to get the child something to eat. Eye opening for her as she realized she cannot eat something as basic as BREAD, and eye opening for me because anything that is marked Vegan on the box is ridiculously expensive.
Allie spent a long time looking over the power bars which have become a good quick grab for a snack or lunch in our house. I believe I was the sad witness to her realization that being Vegan means no CHOCOLATE. Oh the humanity! So after a good 15 minutes, she returned to the cart with a few sad looking sticks and stones bars. Next we hit the bread aisle, looking for something that didn’t contain milk, or lactylate as they call it nowadays. I can’t imagine sinking my teeth into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on pita bread, but that was the only item that fit the bill. So PBJ on P it is!
Next we hit the seldom-crowded freezer section that contains all the gluten-free, diary-free, flavor-free foods. Allie selected two boxes of macaroni and “cheese.” I don’t know what served as the “cheese” in this food, but she microwaved some up as soon as we got home and it smelled faintly of vomit. $3.99 a serving. Phew! She eyed some frozen vegan donuts - $5.99 for four, but I immediately put the brakes on that.
We made a few good finds in the international aisle – some boxed noodle dishes – Pad Thai, Miso soup – the Vegan versions of Ramen at about 10x the cost. She did happen to know that Oreos are Vegan. Curious. (What the heck is in the middle then?)
On to the, gasp, produce aisle where we stocked up on tofu and seitan, affectionately known as “wheat meat.” She skipped the Tofurkey selections, but stocked up on hummus. That girl can go through some hummus, and this weekend she’ll be learning how to make her own. We skipped right past the vegetables, but I managed to toss some fruits in the cart before we headed to the self check-out.
As we watched our purchases add up, and up, Allie became quite helpful bagging down at the end of the belt, but I made sure she saw the grand total of this Lenten experiment. I think some people could have fed their families for a week on what we spent. By the time we got home, I was famished, only to realize that I had given no thought whatsoever as to what my husband and I would be having for dinner. Fortunately for us, we made the wonderful discovery that Fritos are actually Vegan! Bon Appetite!