Food Rules and Considerations for Potlucks

Everyone is welcome at potlucks. However, the purpose of the Oahu Vegan Meetup is to support and promote veganism, so we ask that all food that you bring to a potluck be vegan (logical, no?). Vegan food is free of animal flesh, dairy, eggs, honey or derivatives thereof. Veganism is a lifestyle and a philosophy, not just a diet. The point of it is to not pay to have anyone harm or kill animals for us (because that makes us sad), and many of us find animal products icky too confused. We don't all agree on which products contribute to animal suffering and death enough to avoid and which we find icky. However, if you avoid the obviously not vegan products and are aware of some common animal-derived ingredients listed below it will likely meet all but the most stringent standards of veganism. Read ingredients and you should be fine. If you're not sure, ask, and disclose all ingredients in any case to help people decide whether or not to eat it. We certainly don't want to scare away any new or aspiring vegans with this standard (we really like you!), or make anyone feel unwelcome at events, hence the advice for vegans at the end of the page.

Common animal ingredients that some people miss are albumen (from eggs), anchovy paste, casein ( milk protein), bonito (fish), gelatin (from animal bones), lactose (milk sugar), lard (animal fat), some "natural flavors," vitamin D3 (from lanolin, from wool), carmine (from crushed red bugs), and whey (from milk, a byproduct of cheese-making). Note that products like Fleischman's Egg Beaters are egg products so please avoid them in your baking (a surprisingly common mistake). Also, "Imitation crabmeat" is actually made of fish. Some alcoholic beverages are filtered through animal products and some vegans who drink prefer those that are not. If you would like to bring alcoholic beverages to an event where they are permitted, please consult for lists of brands of beer, wine and liquor that are vegan. Many convenience foods are labeled as vegan now or you can make something from scratch with whole plant foods. Go for it!

Note that many, but not all, people in attendance may be health-conscious so foods that are low in fat (especially refined oils) and high in fiber and the rest of the goodness of whole plant foods are especially welcome.

Full disclosure of ingredients is also important for people who have food allergies or choose to avoid certain foods, like gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, monosodium glutamate, high fructose corn syrup, etc. So please list ingredients of what you bring, or bring the label of the package it came in listing ingredients and nutritional information. Having to rush someone to the hospital because you didn't say that you cooked your stir-fry in peanut oil would be a bit of a party-killer.

Consider a potluck an opportunity to make something special and impressive (wow!). It could build your confidence and recipe repertoire and introduce someone (including you) to a food that gets them excited about the many delicious possibilities for vegan cooking and eating. See our Cooking Resources page for links as well as cookbooks online. Amazon has some especially affordable vegan Kindle cookbooks. Is your cooking less ono and more "Oh no!"? Are you afraid it would be? Just buy something, a pack of vegan cookies, a vegan bean and grain salad from a deli, vegan chips and dip, anything vegan and yummy.

It is your responsibility to determine if something at a potluck meets your standard of veganism or nutrition or is free of ingredients you need to or want to avoid. Still, no one can guarantee that it does, so if you are vegan and you accidentally ingest some casein, please don't ask the event host to pay for your trip to the Ganges river to re-purify your previously purely pure vegan body. Namaste. If you find that someone has accidentally missed some anchovy paste in the ingredients of a sauce they used on their dish, please do not yell, "This isn't vegan!," find the offending party, wrestle them to the ground and pin a scarlet "M" on them for meat-eater. This is bad etiquette. Rather, kindly remove the dish from the table and bring it to the host to be quietly quarantined.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Q and A for Members of The Oahu Vegan Meetup September 4, 2014 2:01 PM former member
Local Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Businesses June 27, 2012 9:49 PM former member
Cooking Resources December 6, 2011 5:54 PM former member
Guest List Policies November 27, 2011 2:20 AM former member
Food Rules and Considerations for Potlucks May 20, 2014 1:24 PM former member
About The Oahu Vegan Meetup March 5, 2012 4:35 PM former member

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