Happy Thanksgiving!

And thus the fasting began this morning– must save our appetites for the feast tonight! I stayed up late last night finishing another pumpkin pie and a vegan cheese cake. I’ll post the recipe for the cake later on. I also made some homemade cranberry sauce. I was very surprised at how quick and easy it is to make, and at how tasty it turned out. I think I’ll warm some of that up and pour it over the cheesecake before I serve it for dessert.

This morning I made vegan stuffing and started on some slow cooked vegan macaroni and cheese. I’m really excited and about how flexible and generally interested my family is being in regard to my vegan twist on Thanksgiving. All our sides are vegan this year, whether or not I’m making them! I suppose it pays to keep the refrigerator stocked with soy milk and Earth Balance. Hah. Hopefully next year they’ll forget about the bird.

The other day, I showed my 15 year old brother a post from Vegans of Instagram that talked about sponsoring a turkey rather than eating one for Thanksgiving. He laughed a bit, then thought about it and asked, “Why can’t we just do both?” At least he’s thinking about it, that’s more than I can say for myself at his age.

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Thankswhat?

I can’t decide if the renaming of the poultry-centered, American holiday of Thanksgiving to Thanksvegan, Thanksliving, or whatever vegans out there are choosing to call it is missing the point. On one hand, I definitely want to redefine the holiday to be perhaps more fittingly associated with a spirit of mindful graciousness and thanks that is meant to be felt during the holiday season. Such a mindfulness, in my opinion, could never be associated with gluttonously consuming another being, as I’m sure other vegans/vegetarians would agree. Despite this, there is something to be said about the sense of familial community and love that one feels when seated around a table waiting to share a big meal. I think I’ve alluded to this before, but eating a plant-based diet can be lonely as hell. And who really wants to be lonely during the holidays? No one. We are constantly reminded that we are SUPPOSED to be sharing time and food and presents during this season (oh, help us…), and no one wants to feel as though they are left out of the festivities. So how can we, as conscious consumers, as plant-based eaters amongst meat-feasters come to terms with this?

My solution is this: Cook good fantastic food. That’s it. This solution is simple, but I have to admit it’s not fully mine. Over a month before this Thanksgiving holiday season got into full swing, I went to a Vegan Meet-Up in Boston in the hope of networking and making some vegan friends (I was feeling particularly lonely after moving back home to a house full of meat eaters). Roberta Kalechofsky was speaking about cooking for “the harvest holiday,” as she calls it, and about her book entitled Thanksvegan: A Vegan Cookbook for the Harvest Holiday. That woman is a hoot. She gave comical anecdotes about her experiences over the years with preparing holiday meals for a “mixed” crowd of dietary preferences and needs. She talked about how she continues to win her guests over time and time again with great food. Her guests don’t ask Roberta whether or not what she prepares for them is vegan, they ask her for the recipe.

This holiday season, I will not be creating my own holiday. I refuse to sit in the corner or leave my family members behind (no matter how much I disagree with their food choices). I will be participating fully in Thanksgiving this year. I will continue to be mindful and it is my hope that this shows. I want to remind my family members about the give thanks part of Thanksgiving, I want to celebrate what I am thankful for with them, while staying true to my morals… And hopefully, my delicious vegan dishes will get them to forget about eating turkey for a while.

I’ll be posting some recipes and anecdotes as I prepare for the ultimate vegan feast this Thursday. Stay tuned.