Returning to my college dorm room meant telling my three suitemates that, in the past four weeks that we were not living together, I magically transformed into a vegetarian. The reactions have been varied, but I know their responses are only going to improve with time.
Suitemate 1: Oh, that’s cool.
Me: Yeah, I’m going to make some tofu tacos later. Do you want to try some?
Suitemate 1: Yes!
My roommate seemed a bit shocked when I casually mentioned it to her.
“I leave you for five weeks, and suddenly you’re a vegetarian!” she dramatically cried. “This ruins all plans I had for us.”
“I was going to offer you a bite of this sandwich, but OH WAIT IT HAS TURKEY IN IT.”
She calmed down, though, and promised that she would support me. She even accompanied me to Whole Foods and ensured that I was getting the best deal on my tofu.
All of my suitemates ended up trying my tofu tacos from PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook and enjoyed them. Luckily, my school is known for being vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, so eating at the dining hall has been fine so far, although I am planning on making more of my own food.
The biggest thing I’ve noticed as far as reactions go is that my friends make snarky comments about being vegetarian. Whether comparing the look of the tofu tacos to dog food, asking in amazement, “But, what will you eat?” or giving me weird looks when I ask if they want to try tapioca cheese on their tacos (vegan, yes, I know, but it tastes good – none of them wanted to try it, by the way), there is some sort of stigma around vegetarianism. I’m aware of it – I used to think some vegetarians were just too sensitive about animal rights (I’ve since changed my mind, although this is not the main reason why I’m vegetarian now) – it’s still surprising to see that my friends, all of whom I consider to be open-minded, reacted somewhat strongly. However, I do believe that their support will continue to grow, and maybe one day in the far future they’ll even watch Forks Over Knives with me.