One of the biggest issues that vegetarians regularly face is the problem of integration within their family and friends. It’s uncommon that they’ll be entirely shunned just for switching their diets to ones that don’t have meat in them, but there can be a feeling like they’re being pushed outside or that they’re inconveniencing everyone just by eating slightly differently. While there are some foods that are pretty simple to make that will please everyone involved, there’s one food that bridges every gap: Pizza.
Yes that’s right, the classic staple of every college student’s life, the thing that represents the laziness of the world along with the genius of it, pizza is the magic tool that will help find some common ground and fix any social situation where the issue of diet would become a problem. All it takes is some dough, some cheese, some sauce, and some toppings, and you’ve got the makings for the perfect trap, so to speak.
We mentioned before how soups can be used to cleverly convince some meat-eaters to switch their diets over to a vegetarian or vegan option, but they’re not the only food that can do the job as pizza will very quickly show you. However, there’s a bit more delicacy needed here as it’s very easy to screw up entirely without meaning to. There’s a lot more planning necessary as soups are simple but pizzas are hard. Let me explain that.
With the soup method of inception, you provide a filling, delicious soup full of vegetables and lacking meat, essentially hiding the fact that the meal is entirely vegetarian until the big reveal. The weakness of using this same inception method with pizza is that everything is very clearly laid out in plain sight, and any attempts to hide vegetables and such under cheese or within the dough may result in other dinner-goers declining any pieces after the first, either politely or otherwise.
Still, there is something inherently powerful about sharing a pizza with a group of people. Meals are already an intimate experience, but a pizza is one step further as it’s all off of the same basic food item, just broken into smaller pieces. Sharing becomes a very obvious necessity and we become hyper aware of who’s eaten what and how much we are able to take. Basically, we take into consideration what others need rather than just ourselves, making it a more personal meal, to some extent. The point is we’re thinking of the others at the dinner party.
Using this, it’s time to craft the pizza, but this will be the hardest part and may require a bit of a compromise on your part, depending on why you’re a vegetarian. If you’re purely a vegetarian for health reasons, adding meat such as chicken or pepperoni to one side of the pizza shouldn’t be cause for alarm, but obviously this just won’t do for someone opposed to meat for the ethical or environmental reasons. In those instances, you may have to look for good meat substitutes or try things like garbanzo beans, sundried tomatoes, or coconut fried up to mimic bacon.
Essentially this will be your chance to get both sneaky and creative at the same time. Everyone enjoys a recipe that both tastes good and different than something they’re used to, so showing them that garbanzo beans could work on a pizza or that apple slices aren’t that strange either could get them thinking creatively on their own for different possible topics, ultimately leading to their own experimentation, specifically with non-meat items since you’ll find that pizzas have already exhausted the possibilities when it comes to meat, leaving only the vegetarian and vegan options open for true experiments (though I suppose nothing is stopping them from keeping the pepperoni on there). The hope is that they will start to see the variety that vegetarians have at their disposal for something as simple as a pizza.
Furthermore, giving multiple options for pizza makes it rather simple for everyone to be happy. Even just something as basic as cheese pizzas for everyone with a series of toppings that they can add themselves could make things easy as there’s no chance that anyone will have to pick ingredients off and the extremely picky eaters are still able to eat the pizza as it is. Make the cheese vegan-friendly and you’re entirely set for a situation where everyone will be happy.
Basically, pizza is one of the most perfect foods on Earth, though you probably already knew that. It can be used to bridge that gap at family get-togethers or dinners with friends when you’re trying to stay vegetarian but also trying not to isolate anyone else or feel isolated yourself. With some smart thinking, you can absolutely make pizza do all the tough work, and it may even get your dinner guests thinking about more vegetarian options for the future.