A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Thanksgiving for Veggie Folks

A few notes if you’re cooking vegan or mixed

“I’m in a mixed marriage,” writes Karen Springer at Family Goes Strong. “My husband is an omnivore (from a family in the feed grain and hog business), and I’m a vegetarian. Like me, our daughters don’t eat anything that ever had a face. And yet we can whip up a Thanksgiving feast.”

Springer is used to catering to all tastes and style. She explains the difference between vegans, flexitarians (part-time veggies), lacto-ovo vegetarians, and more. She has good tips on what to do for stuffing, why you need to skip the Jell-O salad, and where to find the best veggie recipes. (Martha Stewart has a great mushroom tart with no cheese.)

Other recipes

“This vegetarian treat is a beautiful addition to the Thanksgiving holiday table,” writes Christina W. “My family has been making it for years. You won’t even miss the turkey! For a shiny crust, brush pastry lightly with soy milk. To serve, cut straight down through pastry, stuffing, and seitan to make neat ½ inch slices. Spoon additional gravy over each serving.”

Here’s her yummy tofurkey recipe that takes less than two hours to prepare and cook. (Note: you do have to leave the bread to dry out for eight hours.)

No need to feel like the party pooper

Lillian Harrington, who’s a freshman at Christian Brothers Academy, writes about what to do when you’re a veggie person being harassed or ridiculed by your carnivorous family. (Her cousins are particularly gross!)

During dinner is the worst. I sit at a table with my cousins, who are my age, and they all eat meat. They eat it slowly in front of me, and try to stuff turkey into my mouth. It is so disgusting! I endure mocking and jokes from almost everyone in my family.

My Grandma does her best to cook food that I can and like to eat, and she does a pretty good job. But even she laughs at me when she tells me what I can eat. Everyone thinks it is so funny that I don’t eat meat. Thanksgiving for a vegetarian in a family full of carnivores is a very “fun-filled’’ day.

Thanksgiving turkeys

The turkey you buy in the store for Thanksgiving has little relationship to a wild turkey. These “domestic” turkeys are raised and bred at factory farms and, frankly, it’s a miserable life. They can barely even stand up on their own.
For more information about the life of a typical Thanksgiving turkey, check out this page from the Farm Sanctuary on how you can sponsor a rescued turkey. It’s a nice thing to do.

Wild turkeys

Scientist and naturalist Joe Hutto came home to his cabin the Florida wilds, one day, to find that a local farmer had left a bowl of eggs on his porch. He raced out to get an incubator, and then waited for them to hatch.

Watch A New Mother on PBS. See more from NATURE.

For the next year, he was their mother, caring for his family around the clock, roosting with them, taking them foraging, and immersing himself in their world. There was little he could teach them that they did not already know, but he protected them as best he could, and, in return, they taught him how to see the world through their eyes.

The story is told here, as part of the PBS Nature series. It’s charming and delightful, and there are times of joyful play and some sad moments, too, as well as quite a dramatic conclusion.

The eagle and the turkey

Benjamin Franklin argued for the turkey to be the national symbol of the United States. He didn’t think much of eagles.

Check out this post. They’re both amazing birds. But you, too, may decide that the turkey would be a better national symbol for our times.