How's It Going?: Family Edition

The Simpsons, “Lisa the Vegetarian”
The Simpsons, “Lisa the Vegetarian”
Screenshot: Disney Plus

It’s Thursday! Time for an Xbox briefing, as well as our daily open thread.

Last night, my sister told me my oldest niece wants to become a vegetarian. I stopped eating meat around her age and stuck with it for about 16 years, eventually giving it up when some folks I was staying with out in Olympia offered me meat from a bear they’d killed. (How can you say no to that?) When I was a kid, my parents weren’t very understanding about my vegetarianism, and it really bugged me—for my 16th birthday, they took us to a steakhouse, and I remember glumly eating a baked potato for dinner. My sister seems to have a better handle on it; she’s going to involve her daughter in meal planning and help her come up with dishes the whole family will want to eat.


I’m single and live alone, and while I usually feel good about my choices around that, social distancing is making me reconsider. Even with every story I hear of people’s kids driving them nuts, my solitary lifestyle can feel a little “less than” when I think about people who have families around them right now. The friends I consider my family feel impossibly far away, even if some of them are just down the street. While I value the way my life choices let me shape my days and give my energy to lots of different people and interests, isolation is giving me little pangs of longing to have a mundane “What do you want to watch tonight?” argument with another human being. At the very least, it’s slightly making me reconsider my aversion to dating apps.

(Side note: I don’t think I ever want kids, but my biological clock has manifest itself in a complete inability to deal with kids being sad, including when they’re actors or video game characters. Like, I had to turn off Stranger Things because kids cry in it, even though I know they’re actors who probably make more money than me. It is completely bizarre and unlike me, and I hate it.)

What are things like with your family, if you have one? Is this time making you think differently about having or not having partners or kids? How’s it going?


Ravenous Sophovore

Being the only vegetarian in the family is hard. My husband and son still eat and want meat, and my husband in particular is not wild about vegetarian dishes.

My current primary strategy is to pick meals that you can add the meat after the food is cooked, so I can get my portion first and then add the meat for their portions. Stir fries work well for this, as do pastas. Just make sure you get enough the first time, because there will be no seconds.

My secondary strategy is to make two dishes of the same thing: one with meat, one without. Casseroles are the easiest to make this way. It’s more work, but it does provide everyone with what they want.

Last but definitely least, I’ll just eat the side dishes.  It’s not nutritionally balanced, I know, but it beats listening to everyone gripe about my eggplant parmesan not being chicken.