Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What do you eat, then?

Although an Amish turkey will be at the center of our table this year, we do cater to vegetarians in our family as well. If you must keep with the traditional dinner, tofurky is a viable option. Tofurky is a vegetarian alternative that comes complete with stuffing and gravy. It is available in many local markets, health food stores, and Online at Turtle Island Foods, the creators of tofurky.

Also, if you think about it there is plenty of traditional fare that is not meat based that may satisfy your vegetarian appetite. Our family serves homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, deviled eggs, a variety of desserts, and so on. Your options may be a little more limited from the traditional menu, however, if you are vegan. Even so, I think you will find it very easy to please your pallet, especially if you bring a dish to pass.

This year I plan to add two new items to our menu. I will be making Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup and Sweet Potato Balls. It's not like we need anymore food, but I really like to experiment with recipes. I spotted these two on Food Network and searched them out. They seem simple enough, and I'm pretty certain they will be big hits. Plus, I like to have plenty of extra food so that I can send some meals home with the kids. You remember what it's like to be young and on a very, very tight budget, right? Extra food is always appreciated.

On Christmas we always have Minestrone Soup. This tradition came about when the only vegetarian in the house was my youngest son, and we used to serve ham on Christmas. I asked him what he would like, and we've made it ever since. His thinking was that it is a very festive soup because it is red. We no longer eat pork, so the ham has gone by the wayside. Now we serve a venison roast if the hunt was successful. This year it was. The guys came back with two.

You see? We are not vegetarian per say. We have evolved over the years from our various states of food choices to become what I call conscious consumers. This started with food choices. We like to know where our food came from and how it was prepared. We do not eat any grocery store meat, as I call it. Rather the only meat consumed in our home comes from what we have procured and processed ourselves with the occasional variance at times like Thanksgiving. It is then that we visit our local Amish Market and order an Amish raised turkey. In the future I would like to take it a step further by visiting a local poultry farmer and getting it directly from the farm. We have made a pledge to grow what we can, redistribute what we don't need, and search the resale stores for what we do need.

With a little thought it is very easy to please your vegetarian and vegan guests. It seems that every meat eater asks the same question when they find out someone doesn't eat meat, "What do you eat?" To which I reply, "Everything else!" Once you realize that fact, the sky is the limit. Most vegetarians and vegans alike are used to eating many "sides". What better time than the holidays with the vast variety of options? So, if you are vegetarian or vegan, there's no need to make a show of it. Eat what you like, and don't eat what you don't like. For those of you that are serving vegetarians and vegans, be mindful, but there's no need to fret. There will be plenty of food for them to choose from. Not everyone eats turkey, and that is a-okay.

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