July 31, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: A Vegan Dinner Party for my Meat Eating Family

My little cousin Henry looking at the meal curiously...

Hello everyone! My first ever Vegan dinner party was a success. I've never cooked for a large group of people before, but it was really fun. I loved hearing everyone's opinions on my cooking (even if it wasn't great - I'm looking at you Uncle Justin). Being that it was my first time cooking for a crowd, I definitely learned some things. I really need to give myself enough time to actually cook the meal. I had to work early Saturday morning and didn't get home until 3:00 and had to be to my Grandparent's house by 5:30. Let's just say I got there at 6.

The reason I was throwing this dinner party is because I was chosen by the company, Foodbuzz, that does the advertising on my site as one of twenty four people to host an event on July 30th - where you serve your cooking. I submitted my proposal saying that I would love to prepare a Vegan meal for my family using my family's recipes, but with Vegan ingredients. I know I've shared before, but let me give you a little background on myself and my family. I live in Minnesota and both of my grandparents on my Dad's side grew up on farms where they raised animals. My grandpa is a retired butcher, my Uncle Justin's favorite days of the year are deer hunting opener and fishing opener, and my grandma thinks cows were put on this planet for humans to feed on. You can imagine how they felt when I told them that I was going to become a vegetarian - and then shockingly - a vegan. Now, all that being said, I love my family dearly. They are such an important part of my life and have supported my decisions whole heartedly. 

 My grandma enjoying her Vegan dinner.

My initial plan was to make Lasagna for my dinner party. I wasn't sure how my family would react to non-dairy cheese so I invited my parents over to try out some stuffed manicotti with Daiya cheese. I thought it was absolutely delicious (recipe to be uploaded soon...), but my parents and my sister were not impressed. They just couldn't get past the fake cheese, so I had to go back to the drawing board. I needed a meal that would be a real crowd pleaser and that didn't have cheese as the starring ingredient. So here's what I served:

We also had a side salad of organic greens and store bought Vegan dressings. I'm so excited to say that it went over really well! Everyone loved the stew, the biscuits, and especially the cake. I was a little worried about serving the cake to my family since it's really my Grandma's signature dessert. I knew I had done well though when my Grandma said "This tastes just like my cake!". Best thing I could have ever heard! 

 My little cousin Calvin eating his salad!

In all - I was serving 10 people (plus another Uncle and two cousins who stopped by for a few minutes and ended up trying the stew) and I asked for everyone's opinion. Most gave everything an A for a grade, but my Uncle had a little trouble with stew. He said as someone who doesn't like beef stew, it was a C. I'll take that! However, he did give the cake an A!

My meat eating Grandpa chowing down on some Gardein faux meat!

All in all, everything went really well. They all really enjoyed the meal and were really surprised at how satisfying a Vegan meal really could be. I think a lot of people feel that once you go Vegan - all you can eat is salad. I know when I tell someone that I'm Vegan, one of the first questions I'm asked is "What do you eat?" Hopefully I proved to my family that you can have a hearty and delicious dinner without sacrificing the lives of animals! Before I go, I'd like to say how grateful I am to all my fans on Facebook. All of your words of encouragement really have meant a lot to me. Thank you all so much!


  1. Awesome, Matthew! I suspect you are just getting started with this serving omnivores thing!! I have done it many times now and I can tell you from experience you will definitely find the "go to" "easy" crowd pleasing dishes. This looks like an A+ to me!! Nicely done!

  2. Don't you love it when the meat eaters enjoy good vegan grub? I had out of town relatives visiting a few weeks ago and it amused me at how they were scarfing everything down and even going back for seconds and thirds! They were "shocked" at how delicious vegan food can be! I had to resist the urge to say, "Well,duh!". Your food looks delicious,as always.

  3. Sally - Thank you! I know what you mean...my Grandpa went back for seconds as well!

  4. Matthew, I'm glad that your vegan family dinner went great! I can understand that it is no easy feat to cook for 10 pax, I do enjoy cooking for a crowd too, but it really takes planning beforehand and time mgt.

    That choc cake looks delicious! And your stew is on my to-try list ^^

    Looking fwd to seeing more of you cooking for your family.

  5. Nice job! Always a challenge to cook for meat eaters.

  6. i did something similar with my 24 x 24 post too... I am glad you had such a success. SOmetimes people need to be incentived to understand vegan/vegetarian food is delicious if done right!!!