VWPA Advice #004: Do I Have to Cook Meat?
My family/in-laws are demanding I make a non-vegan meal (pot roast)
How do I handle this!? I don’t want to be rude or disrespectful, but I’m very uncomfortable and unhappy cooking animal products. Do I have to cook this meal?
Without having a lot more detail, it’s hard to answer this question specifically, but I can give you a few generalities that might help. The short answer is no, you do not have to cook this meal and honestly, I don’t think you should. Your family or in-laws are demanding that you do something that is against your morals, and let me say before I continue that I’m sorry you are being put in such a difficult spot.
The easiest conversation to have with people who are showing disrespect to your beliefs is a short, sweet and firm one: “Family/in-laws, I will not be making a pot roast for dinner. I’m not comfortable cooking animal products, but I’d be happy to make you all [fill in the blank with your favorite vegan meal]. If you don’t want to eat that, you can [order takeout/have partner cook/let the family cook/go out to eat/eat at someone else’s home]. Thank you for respecting my wishes in my home.”
Don’t leave any room for argument. This is non-negotiable. If you do it for them once, you will be bullied into doing it forever and they will never learn that your veganism is a serious thing that they need to respect. You can be polite and be firm at the same time, and are well within your rights to be so in this matter.
Not to get all up in your business, but I hope your partner has your back on this. Even if they aren’t vegan, they should still respect you and be on your side so you aren’t fighting this by yourself. That could be a whole article in and of itself but understand that you deserve to have your partner in your corner and if they aren’t, that might be a serious conversation worth having.
Bottom line, you don’t have to do anything. I know it often feels that way, but you are an adult and you are capable and deserving of saying no to things that make you sad and uncomfortable.
Families sure can be difficult sometimes! :(
Nichole and I discussed boundaries in our podcast episode #23, Nichole made the brilliant connection that being vegan is like setting a boundary and a lot of people are unfortunately terrible at respecting boundaries (or the word NO). I’m sorry that your family is trying to force you to cook something that goes against your personal ethics, please know that YOU DO NOT have to cook them meat. You are allowed to set a boundary for yourself, and they should respect it.
I’m not sure what the situation is here… are they coming to your house and asking you to cook for them? In this case, your house is YOURS. You don’t need to bring animal products into your home – your safe space – and cook it for them. If they don’t want to come to your house then they are making that decision, it’s not on you. They are essentially choosing eating meat over spending time with you, and that is not ok; but again if that’s their decision then it’s their (unreasonable) decision and at the end of the day- it is on them. If you live with them or this is a holiday situation (at a house other than yours), then the same idea applies, you don’t have to cook for or with them. Try sitting down with them and letting them know how upsetting it would be for you to cook meat (a dead animal) and that they don’t need to understand your decision or reasoning, but they need to respect it. Also talk to your spouse, make sure you present a united front to your in-laws, it’s really important that your partner backs you up and doesn’t let his/her family try to bully you into something you don’t want to do.
I know this sounds harsh, but bullying is what they are doing. We all have the right to opt out of ANYTHING that makes us uncomfortable or violates our own beliefs.