…now that we’re in full December-holiday-Christmas-merriment-festive mode, I’m going to talk about Thanksgiving! Pardon my tardiness, please. I’ll pepper my wordy musings with photos of food to appease you.
I want to talk about Un-Turkey Day because I learned quite a lot from hosting my first Thanksgiving. For example, I now know that if you’re serving three main dishes “to give people options,” it’s probably not necessary to double the recipe for one of those dishes. I also learned that a double oven would be mighty handy on holidays, and that garbage disposals really don’t like large amounts of potato peels. (I also know what potato-peel-laden water looks like when it comes pouring out of your sink pipes.)
Most importantly, though, I learned that relying on other people is okay. Typically, I’m a do-it-myself kind of girl. I’m a little… particular, shall we say, about most things I do, and I’m of the mindset that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. But guess what? “Right” is subjective, and sometimes something done right is something done imperfectly. At the end of the day, after S’s and my guests flew back to their four corners of the country, any flaws in our meal didn’t factor into my lasting Thanksgiving memories. Instead, I’ll think fondly on my brother and sister acting as my sous chefs on Wednesday afternoon, chopping and prepping and handling sticky cranberry sauce overflows. I’ll remember my mom dutifully stirring the gravy so it wouldn’t get clumpy while I managed the vegetables. I’ll recall S masterfully mashing potatoes and seasoning them to creamy, delicious perfection while his mom painstakingly handled layers of phyllo dough for one of our main dishes. And I will never forget my dad and S crouching down to unclog my woefully clogged sink after dinner.
What these memories all have in common is their inclusion of other people, of my loved ones volunteering their time and help so that I didn’t have to do it alone. And although I initially didn’t want to let go of my control, to put my carefully crafted dinner into anybody else’s hands, I’m glad I did. I’m glad I quelled my martyr instinct and let them help me, not only so that I can have such fantastic memories and relax a bit, but so that I could realize that, hey, perfection isn’t necessary (or even attainable). And that realization – along with the people who helped bring it about – are what I’m most thankful for as I think about this past Thanksgiving.
Oh yeah, and the food. We had some damn fine food. Our menu:
- Sweet Potatoes and Cannellini Beans in Sage-Butter Phyllo Crust (Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes, p. 120)
- Mashed potatoes
- Oven-roasted shredded Brussels sprouts
- Sweet & Salty Maple Baby Carrots (Appetite for Reduction, p. 105)
- Rye bread
Notice anything about this menu? Yep, every single thing is vegan. Our dinner included two vegans, two vegetarians, and three omnivores, and all of them were willing to give a vegan Thanksgiving a go. I’m so grateful for the chance to host an animal-free Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t be prouder of my loved ones for not bemoaning the lack of a turkey a single time. Instead, they all gracefully enjoyed our cruelty-free food. (The only non-vegan food item anyone consumed was some regular whipped cream, because Soyatoo is expensive, and I hoarded it for myself and my mom!)
So, this Thanksgiving? A big giant awesome delicious animal-free success. I’m so happy to have hosted, and so happy to have celebrated it with some of the best people in the world.
And now I’m heading off on a 12-day East Coast road trip of awesomeness with S. I’ll report back about any delicious eats we encounter along the way!
How was your Thanksgiving? What are your holiday plans?
P.S. Here is a BONUS PICTURE – Moria, all tucked in!