I love to eat. No, really, eating is one of my very favorite things to do. I don’t really need an excuse to make a giant feast of food, just time.
Thanksgiving is kind of hard for lots of vegans and vegetarians. Traditionally, the entire meal is centered around a giant bird. If not wanting to eat the bird, things can feel tense. What is a non-bird eating person to do? This is only a question if attending an event with non-vegans.
I wrote recently about how I try to talk about being vegan. Today I wanted to share how I cook for the day. I always start by placing some constraints on myself.
1. I remember I am doing this for me. There will probably be people at the event that are unsure about me and the whole vegan thing. That’s okay. These people may be so uncomfortable with my choices that they refuse to eat anything vegan. Even though they have probably been eating vegan dishes their entire lives and just didn’t realize it. This is okay. I am cooking for me and will share with anyone interested. The rest have a bird to eat.
2. Don’t over do it. If I am cooking for myself, I do not need every traditional Thanksgiving dish re-imagined for a vegan. I just can’t eat that much. Not to mention trying to get everything to someone else’s home in a timely manner.
3. What is my favorite? What is the one dish I have always loved at Thanksgiving that I want to make sure I get to eat? The mashed potatoes? The sweet potatoes? The green bean casserole? I am originally from Texas and my go-to Thanksgiving dish is green bean casserole. Yummy! Second is the sweet potatoes.
4. What else do I need? I can’t survive on green bean casserole alone. What other one thing should I have to feel full for the day?
These are my parameters. I make a green bean casserole that is so yummy, people who don’t normally like the one made with canned condensed cream of mushroom soup, love it and I never have any left overs. Then I make one other thing like the macaroni and “cheese” I posted on Monday to round out my contribution. If my host is nice, s/he will make the potatoes with milk/butter alternatives, but I can’t count on it. If I have the time, I will pick up vegan roles and fruit for dessert. If I really have time, I will make a dessert. But, dessert is outside of my constraints and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t have the time or energy.
I figured this out after many years of trying to make everything. I was also experimenting with recipes at this time and not everything came out perfect. Unfortunately, when things are not super yummy and others try them, they then have a bad experience and could be turned away from an amazing life choice. That is the last thing I want. Following these constraints has really helped me continue to enjoy days of food with extended family.