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Nearly Meatless Thanksgiving

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I’m not talking about baking cookies or singing holiday songs. I’m talking about the time when my grandmother will undoubtedly call me and say, “what on earth am I supposed to cook you for Thanksgiving?” 

You see, I’ve been a vegetarian for over seven years now, and when I first introduced my family to the idea that, no, I would not be eating putrid rotting flesh anymore, it came as a bit of a culture shock. Nobody in my family had ever become a vegetarian before, or even known a vegetarian, let alone ever cooked for one. 

I was immediately told that I would be on my own for cooking my own food, and that nobody would try to accommodate my diet at any future meals.  I began to slowly verse my family in the plethora of ways to produce proteins other than with the flesh of our mammal brethren, and they, in turn, began to slowly understand my viewpoint.  Needless to say, I never had to cook my own food. I can be very persuasive.  

So, every year my grandmother calls me in a panic about what she’s going to prepare for me for Thanksgiving.  It’s like she’s completely forgotten that I made the decision to go meatless and it’s all of a sudden a new thing.  A few years back we settled on a simple solution that she could whip up easily without taking away from her other dishes. Quiche.  Yes, that French forte dish of cheese and eggs that’s often served tasteless in the Caf when it seems they’ve also forgotten that people need protein when they don’t eat animals.  My grandmother has gotten more inventive with her quiches, adding interesting vegetables and seasonings and always trying to spice things up.  I applaud her efforts.  She’s come a long way from the woman who told me that people were only vegetarians because they wanted attention (Yeah. I’m from Tennessee, where it’s legal to eat roadkill. Not many veggies here).

But, I’m sick of quiche.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still delicious (Well, in every form but Caf-quiche. Are those even real eggs?). But seven years later I’m looking for something new.  When my grandmother called me recently I happily told her, “I’d like a Tofurky for Thanksgiving this year.” I imagine her jaw hit the floor. 

“A... a what?” 

“A Tofurky. It’s like, a fake turkey.  It’s meatless.” 
“How can a turkey be meatless?”
“It’s made out of soy protein.”
“Oh... ok.  That will be nice. ... Where do I get one of those?”

It’s here that I realized that, although I’ve certainly taught my family a lot about vegetarianism, they still had a lot to learn.  I no longer live at home, so they’re not exactly scouring the super market in search of veggie-friendly meals anymore.  I quickly explained to my grandmother about the plethora of meatless options that are available for the average consumer.  Vegetarianism has come a long way in our society, so much so that even now I can notice a difference in availability of vegetarian options from when I first made the switch.  Satisfied that she was able to find something for me to eat on Thanksgiving, I bid my grandmother adieu. 

After my short flight home, I arrived at my grandmother’s house to see her newly renovated kitchen.  She’s added a lot of new gadgets that she’s excited to show off, so I let her present her new love to me with wide eyes.  It wasn’t until she opened her new freezer that I realized the real change: she had purchased me a Field Roast Celebration Roast fake-turkey for Thanksgiving.

“But, it isn’t even Tofurky!” I exclaimed in disbelief.
“No. The reviews I read online told me that Field Roast was a lot better.” 

Imagine that.  My grandmother researching Tofurky reviews online.  It makes me realize just how thankful I am to have such a wonderful, loving family. 

From my (nearly) meatless home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving, Eckerd!

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