Wow! Recently I attended my first two vegan potlucks – one, a Virtual Vegan Potluck …virtualveganpotluck.com… and, two, a real-life, honest to gosh, vegan potluck with actual flesh and blood people sponsored by the VegCharlotte Meetup Group I run!
Peter, my newest organizer, was the host and WOW he and his lovely family were absolutely amazing! They opened their home to us, which is as every bit as beautiful as a house you’d see in Architectural Digest.
Peter and his daughters, not leaving anything to chance, cooked up a storm …
Peter translated his prize-winning Chicken Piccata from his omnivore days into Tofu Piccata, and also cooked up a slew of side dishes from Tal Ronnen’s cookbook, The Compassionate Chef. (Tal was the chef behind Oprah’s 21-day Cleanse AND also Ellen and Portia’s personal chef – he provided the vegan food at their wedding.)
They made a lovely bright green “cream” of asparagus soup. (Made me wonder why those Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Asparagus Soups were always so … beige.)
There were mashed potatoes with sauteed mushrooms, and apple slices in some kind of tangy sauce.
And the guests? What a lovely variety of people and vegan dishes! There were two women about my age I’d met before but would love to become better friends with … Daga and Lana. Daga brought a sweet potato and chickpea stew (Morrocan, maybe?) and Lana brought her own Indian-inspired creation of tofu, green peppers, and Indian spices. One man did not know what to bring, so his mother (isn’t that cute?) made a huge bean and corn salad that was surprisingly delicious. I brought rajma and basmati rice, of course. Our only vegetarian dish was a toasted bread and chevre dish with some kind of preserves (apricot and onion?) on top.
I call myself “an imperfect vegan” and often am asked why. Well, here’s why. I haven’t had even a smidgen of dairy in months but I broke down and had a piece. (I mean, c’mon, it was chevre! And preserves!)
Actually, I had three.
The next day I also had red, itchy, gooey allergy eyes.
I think sometimes it’s a blessing to be imperfect because whenever I slip up, I’m reminded of some of the (many, many) reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing. And that makes me stronger.
We also had a couple of guests who were not vegan, but were open-minded and curious and adventurous enough to enjoy participating in the potluck. I enjoyed watching them enjoy the delicious food and answering their random vegetarian/vegan questions.
Conversation was as good as the food!
Afterwards, we went upstairs to Peter’s home theater and watched “The Room,” supposedly the worst movie in the world.
(Do you think Peter’s got a passive-aggressive thing going on here? “Yes, I will open my home to you for a beautiful dinner, but then I will make you watch the WORST MOVIE IN THE WORLD! Bwaahahaha!“)
His plan backfired. At least two of us had seen worse (“Like Crazy“). We then … ironically … watched a few episodes of The Walking Dead. Yep, that’s right, a bunch of vegans watching a Zombie series … (“Brains … Brains …”)
And a good time was had by all.
That attended, that is.
And now I start my RANT …
OK, personally I don’t care if a lot of people sign up for an event or not. I’d much rather have quality of people than quantity of people – and I’m pleased to report I have met some absolutely awesome people and made a few very good friends through my VegCharlotte Meetup Group!
However, one thing I cannot stand is NO SHOWS … The people who sign up, then don’t show up …
It’s a real and continuing problem. Other friends of mine who run Meetup groups say the same thing. And I know the other vegetarian meetup in Charlotte also has consistent problems with no-shows.
If you run a Meetup group, I’d love to hear your experiences in dealing with this!
It hurts everyone.
It’s bad enough in a restaurant, where they may have brought in extra staff for the night or have turned down other diners to serve our group.
Also, I can negotiate deals with restaurants if enough people show – free appetizers, a percentage off food. For events other than restaurants (clubs, The Comedy Zone), I can often negotiate free admission – but due to no shows I don’t even try anymore.
I think it’s even worse at a potluck. Here we had a wonderful host, Peter, inviting us into his home. He and his family made sure there were enough spaces for everyone who signed up to sit and dine. There were enough clean china plates, real glasses, and nice flatware set out for all of us. He and his family also cooked up a storm.
And then there’s the rest of us – the guests that actually signed up and showed up. We planned our potluck dishes based on the number of people that had signed up – which means, most of us actually went to more expense, spent more time, and bought more groceries and cooked more food than we needed to!
What an insult, what a slap in the face, what INCREDIBLY POOR AND RUDE MANNERS NOT TO SHOW….
I mean, people get reminders from Meetup, a week before, a day before.
Life sometimes happens. No big deal. Just let me know.
Here is a sampling of some of the excuses I received …
“I just got off a flight from India and I’m jet lagged.” (This one is a legitimate excuse; I just threw this one in here so you can see the full range of reasons and excuses – from the understandable to the absurd.)
One person called me … probably to leave me an excuse on my voicemail … when I picked up the phone and said hello and her name, she hung up! And, needless to say, didn’t show up.
“My cats are sick.”
“My dogs are sick.”
“My ferrets are sick.”
“My children are sick.”
“My boyfriend is sick.”
(WOW! Something is REALLY going around!)
“I’m still waiting to see if I’m coming … cousin may be coming back from overseas.”
“I am so sorry! Everything seems to be going wrong for me today! First time just flew away from me, so I was gonna be late anyway, but at least I would have made it by 6:30, but now I can’t find my car keys anywhere!! To top it all off after losing my cell phone last night I have now lost my one and only home phone!!! I used to have 3, I’ve lost every single one of them!!! 😦 I don’t mean to be a no show. I was really looking forward to this! I made a really yummy Tabbouleh Salad and I wrote down the recipe & now I have no one to share it with:( I am so sorry.”
“My GPS doesn’t work.”
“The GPS on my phone doesn’t work.”
One person left me a lame excuse, but then posted on Facebook what she actually did that night … SO GLAD YOU FELT BETTER!
And then there were three or four people who didn’t even bother to make up an excuse at all … they simply didn’t show up. Including one who had committed to bringing dessert. No explanations before, no explanations after.
I can’t help but wonder what these people’s actual lives are like.
I’m guessing most are not in relationships … because they don’t want to commit to anything. They’re always holding out for the “better deal.”
I’m guessing most have a lot of acquaintances but not friends … as anyone worthy to be your friend would have gotten fed up after two or three flake-outs.
And their work life? I can’t even imagine!
“Why were you late today?”
“My ferret was sick.”
“Why didn’t you show up for work yesterday?”
“I lost my GPS.”
“You worked from home today … why weren’t you on the conference call?”
“I lost all three of my home phones!”
Ummmmm …. YEAH.