Posted by: Antonia Ciccolo | July 4, 2010

Jewish Mothers and Vegans…

…don’t mix! I just got back from a wonderful two days in the Berkshires out in Western Mass, staying with Becca and her parents at their condo. We had plans to picnic on the lawn at Tanglewood before the James Taylor/Carole King concert (which was amazing, by the way). I called Becca ahead of time and asked her what picnic food her parents were planning on bringing. She had no idea and suggested I bring some food of my own just in case. I brought some whole wheat pasta with vegan pesto with a side of broccoli that I’d made the night before, so all was good.

When I got to the picnic, Becca’s parents and friends were all set up with a full sushi spread and many chopped veggies/humus, etc. (so many vegan options!). But as anyone can imagine, Becca’s mom and her two Jewish motherly friends were very concerned about the number of vegan options and whether or not I was going to starve (yeah right). “We heard that you’re vegan, you can eat this, right? I’m sure you can have this! Wait, this must be vegan. Try this…” When I politely put some food items on my plate and turned down others, letting them know that I had packed an entire meal for myself, they seemed even more concerned. “We even got you some cucumber sushi! You must have it.” I again turned down their offer and they were dumbfounded. “But, why?!” So I had to tell them that I wouldn’t be able to pick off every one of the orange fish eggs that covered the cucumber sushi rolls. They were so disappointed. I ended up eating my own food while they asked me questions about why people choose to be vegan and what I can and can’t eat.

Another funny/interesting instance happened the next morning when Becca’s friend was asking one of the Jewish mothers for some Advil. I happened to be in the room and while she was distributing the pills she looked at me and said, “would you like some?” Not having any need for Advil, I politely declined. All of a sudden she had this very concerned look on her face, “Oh my god – is Advil not vegan?” I wanted to laugh so hard. Not only did I not need or want Advil, the fact that she was so embarrassed by the offer made the situation even more uncomfortable. “No, I mean, yes, I mean.. I just don’t need Advil.”

Overall, the weekend was very successful. I was never once hungry because of the lack of vegan food options at Becca’s place – but I certainly did get some great reactions.

Has anyone else ever gotten some funny/interesting reactions from friends’ parents or… Jewish mothers?



  1. I think you could write a book on the ridiculous reactions of Jewish mothers, especially when it comes to food! In their world, if you aren’t eating then you must be starving…

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