Staying (Mostly) Vegan at Thanksgiving

by Sarah on November 28, 2011 · 9 comments

So, I figured since I moved to Austin (where they try to “keep it weird” every day), I had to come back home at least a little bit more bizarre than when I left.*

*When you are already as crazy as I am…that’s hard to do.
Rather than go for the shock value of getting fourteen tattoos,^ I returned to the South as an (almost) vegan.
^Not that there is anything wrong with that…right, Christin? ;)
[I said the reason my cow at Wine & Design had a letter instead of number on his tag was because on MY farm 'the cows get names, not numbers'...since we hug them, not hurt them. ;) ]

While my transformation into the most difficult dietarily-restricted houseguest ever might strike fear in the hearts of mere mortals…my family just shrugged, looked at me with slight confusion, and thought (I hope), “More turkey and Honey-Baked Ham for me!”To answer, then, the question that is on all of your minds:* No, I did not eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
*or at least ONE of your minds…maybe…
But, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but the turkey’s not really the star of the show on Thanksgiving anymore.While I wasn’t able to remain completely vegan–I know there was butter in both the Sweet Potato Casserole (no marshmallows allowed…EVER!) and the Apple-Cranberry Crumble*–
*Which I recently veganized as part of the Make Time for Change “Talk Turkey” campaign–and I definitely ate generous portions of both of them anyway.–I did do a pretty good job of staying as close to dairy-free vegetarian* as I could. It helped that I showed up with my own nut butter and almond milk.

*a label much more easily digested–heehee–by people wary of the ‘vegan’ stigma

And yes, my family just took my quirky labeling in stride.

When I asked that my aunt save the broccoli stalks……so that I could make some “Save a Tree” Broccoli Soup (sans ricotta and cottage cheese)––they seemed to think that was perfectly normal.I’m pretty sure you know your family accepts you as you are when they don’t even flinch at the fact that you travel with your own personal container of Better Than Bouillon.What about the night we ate all that pork I told y’all about yesterday…ripped ferociously from the bone (with no time even to remove wedding rings) by the female members of my family?
Y’all know I’ve been quite “big on the pig” in the past, and while it WAS hard not to reach over and grab bites of it with my hands (similar to the restraint I showed with the turkey and ham on Thanksgiving)…I was entirely satisfied with my beloved Busch’s Vegetarian Baked Beans……as well as homemade sourdough bread, vinegar-based slaw from the famous Lexington BBQ, and not one–but TWO–kinds of greens. [This IS the South after all, y'all, and the sight of a sink full of turnip greens should have come as no surprise to anyone. Nor should we have been shocked that we ate them all within less than 24 hours of (meat-free!) preparation.]Overall, I learned something over Thanksgiving weekend with my family–apart from the fact that persimmons carried all the way across the country from San Francisco…

…will still taste INCREDIBLE on your oatmeal in the morning.
(And that my family was not at all surprised that I had carried them with me so far…)
…it’s really not that hard to stay vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, or whatever else you want to be around the holidays…as long as you come prepared and are willing to do a little work in the kitchen (and put up with a few questioning glances*).

*Y’all KNOW I’m used to being called crazy!

Also, it helps if you have an aunt who stocks Trader Joe’s Raw Almond Butter in her fridge……and doesn’t mind if between you, your sister, and your cousins…it was almost gone when you left. ;)
*Totally mailing a replacement soon, Aunt Smart…I promise!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean November 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

i didn't eat any turkey this thanksgiving either. i totally agree that turkey is no longer the star of the show!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Totally impressed with your self-control. I had absolutely no self control, particularly when it came to dessert. ;)

You crack me up with those persimmons. I'm roasting one tonight and will do so in your honor!

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Lauren November 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Hahah sounds like a great Thanksgiving :D

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers November 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I can see how BYOStuff would be super helpful if not necessary. Even as a meat-eater, I agree that the turkey isn't really the star. I love the very un-vegan gravy smothered over the vegan stuffing made with Earth Balance. My kitchen confuses itself sometimes.

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iheartvegetables.com November 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I'm totally labeling my soymilk like that from now on. Not that my roommates would ever want it. But still. hahaha I love it

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Christin@purplebirdblog November 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Hehehe, right! ;) And I love your hugging of the cow explanation… Alex likes to tease me that we couldn't have a ranch because I'd name all the animals and hug them every day… and my response is… "Duh…"

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Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm

We haven't had a traditional turkey thanksgiving in years. Now the main meat's fish on the table, believe it or not!! Your spread does looks delicious, though. That's for sure!

Love the writing on the almond milk, too. ;)

By the way, I'm eating the PopCorners you sent me. They are delicious! Way better than the PopChips I've had before. Thanks!

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(what runs) Lori November 29, 2011 at 10:55 am

Good for you for staying mostly vegan. ;) Better than I did. lol

I LOVE that you labeled your almond milk. Sometimes I think doing that would save a few fights in my house. ;)

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Fran@BCDC November 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I've been vegetarian for Thanksgiving for over 20 years. It's really not that hard. I still get questioned about how I can make the turkey soup without tasting it. I tell them I tasted it enough years before becoming vegetarian. I just make it the same way!

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