Alisha McDarris

It happens all the time: You spend hours on those meatless balls and homemade sauce, go to three different stores to find vegan cream cheese for your 7-layer dip, decorate the prettiest cupcakes on the table, and all that’s missing at the end of the party is one and a half servings.

You go to all the trouble of preparing a nice side dish or dessert for the get-together and the attendees don’t touch a thing. They don’t hover over and think maybe if I have room on my paper plate after I fill it with more delicious things. They won’t revisit your contribution when they come back for seconds. They may even step two feet away from the table when they reach the casserole dish with your name on it as if there were an impenetrable force field surrounding it.

Then you end up hauling a nearly full bowl of your jalapeño-papaya couscous that’s way too much for your family of two to polish off before it goes bad back to the car after the cookout simply because you told everybody it was vegan.

Solution: Don’t tell them it’s vegan. Ever. Seriously. Unless, of course, those cookies or hearts of palm cakes are so unfathomably delectable that you secretly hoped no one would eat them so you could have them all to yourself. Because that’s what will happen the minute you utter the V-word.

There’s some stigma with most meat-eaters (not all, mind you, but most) that makes them believe that if they ingest a side dish not dripping in mayo or soaked in bacon grease that the moon will eclipse the sun, dogs will start walking around on their hind legs, and they’ll immediately be transformed into a scrawny specimen with pale skin, organic cotton pants and a head scarf.

Some foods, like black beans, are naturally vegan. But don’t tell carnivorous Uncle John that at the next family reunion. 

I haven’t done any case studies to figure out why they believe these things to be true, but it appears that they do. Which is why they won’t touch a vegan side-dish with a nine and a half foot pole. Unless! They don’t know it’s vegan. In fact, most omnivores wouldn’t know vegan if it jumped out of a compost bin, gave them a healthy dose of vitamin c, and filled their bellies to capacity. If they don’t know that you used Veganaise in that potato salad or coconut milk for whipped cream, they may even enjoy their meal. Then, when they sit back, stretch out their legs, rub their full belly and state how delicious everything was (especially the peanut butter balls), then you can tell them it’s vegan and sit back and enjoy their looks of shock and surprise.

So the next time you’re invited to a backyard BBQ or dinner party, come prepared and don’t tell them it’s vegan.

While vegan quinine like these sweet potato muffins may look appetizing, mention they’re vegan and you’ll be the only one at the party partaking in them.