This was my second Thanksgiving as a vegan. Earlier last week, I had about 400 words all typed and ready to go about how difficult it can be to be a vegan during the holiday season. Then I went to my parents house, and they hosted a beautiful, 100% animal-free holiday meal. They totally undercut my original central thesis. Funny how things work out, isn’t it?
The initial post was spurred by a meme I saw on reddit.com/r/vegan earlier this month:
Having your life choices mocked at the dinner table is a universal experience for most vegans and vegetarians, and it is not limited to the holidays; however, there is something about this season in particular that lends itself to people offering their unsolicited opinions.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: this, thankfully, does not apply to me with my parents. They have been nothing short of wonderful. That doesn’t mean that everyone is, though. I would describe the reaction other loved ones had to the idea of a meat-free holiday as “optimistically supportive,” but it was impossible not to notice the wrinkles in their foreheads and the nervousness in their responses, which were almost unfailingly a variation on one of three themes:
- “Oh… well, good for you, but I’ll stick with my turkey!”
- “That’s great, more meat for me!”
- “A tofu turkey? How… interesting!“
So, what does a vegan Thanksgiving look like, exactly? Surprisingly similar to a “normal” Thanksgiving, it turns out…
All of the staples made their way onto the table: a holiday roast (courtesy of Gardein) to replace the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, a gorgeous salad, cranberry sauce, bread, and, of course, pumpkin pie. Didn’t my mom knock it out of the park? I couldn’t believe it as dish after dish appeared, each one seemingly more beautiful than the last.
Everyone left the dinner table not only sated, but completely stuffed. This is the time of year to reflect on what things you are thankful for, and I am thankful to have such caring, inspiring people in my life.
I hope you all had a great weekend with loved ones. I know that I sure did, but now it’s time to get back to work!