Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Readers! Yes, it’s the aftermath. All the dishes are done, and you may be mightily sick of turkey sandwiches. Not me, I’m trying to figure out how to work leftover tempeh and seitan into dishes with the vegetables from my CSA bin. (Community Supported Agriculture, it’s a subscription service for produce.)
Holidays are fraught for everyone, possibly us most of all. We have special needs, physical and/or dietary, and we may be trying to “fake normal” for a variety of reasons. We may come from families where it’s not safe to be perceived as weak. We may be ashamed of feeling different. We may be around people who complain about things that are first-world problems compared to what we deal with, and we feel distanced because of this. We may need to put on a brave face for children or older relatives. Or we may just have the same old family issues everyone else does.
This year was my first Thanksgiving as a vegan. Last year I had gone vegetarian for several months and I ate turkey as a concession. I celebrate with my former husband/close friend, and his friend owns a restaurant that prepares take-out Thanksgiving dinners. This year I’m too far down the rabbit-food hole; I couldn’t do it. I made good on a threat I made years ago—that if I were ever in charge of the turkey, I’d cut it in strips, stir-fry it, and serve it over rice. I never was big on any dish on the traditional Thanksgiving table—I don’t even care for mashed potatoes. It seems like abuse of a perfectly good vegetable. I had never hosted Thanksgiving because I don’t eat that way any other time of year and never learned to cook regular American food.
I made a sumptuous vegetable stir fry, and a silly dish whose name I probably can’t print here, as it has an F-bomb in the middle. It was created as a gag for a YouTube video widely distributed by PETA, and features a tofu block stuffed with sautéed tempeh, wrapped in seitan, to mimic the famed turducken (turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken). You can probably guess what they call it. It wasn’t half bad!
My crowning glory was the pumpkin pie made with a real pumpkin, not canned filling. I received a pie pumpkin in my CSA bin and was determined to use it properly. The graphic used for today’s post shows my 7-inch santoku knife plunged into the pumpkin during my approximately-20-minute assault to break it in half. My reattached hand was done for the day and we were just getting started.
I had ingredients to make a homemade crust, but after making the filling, I was exhausted and I went to the store and bought a pie crust. I spent 2 full days cooking and ran my dishwasher 3 times in 2 days. My pain was through the roof and I was deeply exhausted, like 45-mile-day-on-bike-tour exhausted. My healing knee swelled in protest. I was a mess. Sunday was my only recovery day and it was hard to get back to work Monday morning.
I’ll tell you what—I’m not making another full Thanksgiving meal again. I may contribute a food item, but never again will I attempt the whole thing. I bet lots of you are exhausted too. Tell me about your Thanksgiving—did you host? Was it good or did you regret it 3 hours in? And is there anything you’d like to share that you’re thankful for this year?