Ours is a ‘mostly vegetarian’ Thanksgiving because everything is vegan, except for…come closer so I can whisper…except for the turkey in the kitchen, and it’s not the one pardoned by President Obama today.
Our annual family gathering of vegetarians (nothing with a face, but will eat dairy), vegans (no animal products/no harm to animals–my mom even suggested birth control powder for the roach motels in college-not that we had bugs) and carnivores, offers an interesting parallel to cross cultural communications.
We are all distinct in our preferences–it is innate to each of us. But, as a hostess, I want my invited guests to feel welcome in my home.
Plus the diversity of palates only adds to the fun of selecting the menu to host Thanksgiving…Cornbread stuffing (substituting vegetable broth, veggie sausage for the sausage, baked in the oven); sweet potatoes and greens, mac & cheese cassarole (that one is lacto-ovo–I draw the line at soy cheese), green bean cassarole, Mama Stamburg’s Cranberry Relish, and cakes and cupcakes and pumpkin pie.
Egg replacer (available at Whole Foods or a natural food market) is easy to bake with, and is actually better for licking the bowl, since there won’t be fear of contamination from raw eggs. And the Tofurky or veggie roast offers a vegetarian alternative to our contraband turkey.
I’ve heard people say “I could never be vegetarian.” And while I haven’t chosen to yet, it’s really not that hard. Just as one might attempt to learn and adapt to another culture, there are oodles of literature and websites. For the Thanksgiving meal, it may be as simple as switching from butter (animal fat) to margarine (vegetable oil), from chicken to vegetable broth, only putting marshmallows (made from bone marrow) on half of the sweet potatoes.
And the good news is (again, a parallel to diversity in the workplace, where good ideas and benefits might come from anyone in the group–not just the majority culture) that these little changes saved a good 100 grams of fat from the meal.
So I can feel good about myself when I go for a third helping.
What are your traditions? What is the diversity you find within your own family? How do you (or do you?) accommodate it?
Photo credit Whole Foods Union Square turkey cupcake
Originally uploaded by Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake