I have a moral dilemma. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-13-2005, 10:03 AM
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So Thanksgiving is coming up, in less than two weeks in fact. I'm going to be going home for the holidays from college, and as usual, mom's going to be doing the cooking.



Now from a culinary point of view, this is absolutely terrific, my mom is a wonderful cook, and most of my extended family is coming to the house, as they always have, because it's just a wonderful time of food and family for all. However, my parents aren't anything even resembling vegan. Not that I fault them for it, after all we're from south Georgia, and the entire culture is steeped in tradition.



I don't want to change this tradition by forcing my mom to veganize her recipes and possibly anger the other guests with the risk that her signature dishes simply won't be the same. I also don't want to be an annoyance that hinders the fun and ease of this family holiday tradition.



Simutaneously, I would love to have a thanksgiving where I can enjoy the food and share in the meal without seeming aloof from not eating the food with everyone else at the table. I suppose I'm going to prepare a thing or two for myself, and look at her recipes in the hopes of finding that some of them are vegan, but truthfully it won't be the same.



Not to say she isn't willing to help. My mom has gone above and beyond

all my expectations with me going vegan, and she's completely willing to try veganizing anything, from cornbread to pie to dressing. That's not the issue at hand, it's more that I see this joyful holiday that's always been such a time of enjoyment among everyone that I just hate to infringe upon it simply because of my(and mine alone) choices.



What should I do in this situation? Furthermore, what do you do in such situations?
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#2 Old 11-13-2005, 10:08 AM
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Perhaps there is a place near your Mom's home that offers a vegan Thanksgiving meal you can pick up? Around here, there is a store called Whole Foods that offers a 5 course vegan meal you can order and pick up. Another idea is for you to offer to bring/make some of the side dishes and veganize them yourself. People wont know the differance between the use of chicken broth or veggie broth in recipes.
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#3 Old 11-13-2005, 10:55 AM
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My thought is help your mom with the cooking and the veganising the recipes. This will give you a good way to bond with mom in possibly a new way (?) and have some food for you too eat. There is no reason why your choice needs to alienate you from your family, thought if your family is anything like mine they will give you grief about your decisions. Just ride with it, don’t get preachy, have fun. Your family is your family if they are supportive they will still accept you and support you. At least I hope so.
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#4 Old 11-13-2005, 12:48 PM
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GET USED TO IT.



I don't mean to be mean, but that's life as a vegan.



Whatever you do, make up your mind first. if you want to take your mom up on her offer to veganize some things, do it.



If you really don't want to affect dinner, eat your own food before, and become scarce during the meal.



Those are your two choices, I have gone back and forth for years. I want to take part in family events, but going out of town and not eating the whole day is not acceptable.



I know we are supposed to be supporting here, but this is time for tough love.



So only read the following if you are ready for some:



Don't play the martyr...if your mom offers to fix some food for you that is her choice, and her choice alone (to paraphrase OP). You can't be a victim of veg*anism and blame other people for your misery and missing out on the food at Thankshopping or Xmas. If you really don't want to affect the other people at the table, grin and bear it.



Over and out
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#5 Old 11-13-2005, 01:03 PM
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I believe that's the best advice on the subject I could have gotten. Thank you.
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#6 Old 11-13-2005, 01:10 PM
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I'd help her veganize things without informing the family at large. Purchase a tofurkey (which is indeed new and improved and about 100 omin's at this outreach really dug it). Get the tofurkey, thaw it, slice it, put a little gravy at the bottom of the dish, lay the slices on top, top with a little more gravy (not all of it, just enough to keep the tofurkey from drying out), cover with tin foil and bake until heated through (doesn't take long). Then, because the gravy is so tasty, but thin, heat it up add 1 tsp of cornstarch to thicken (Tofurkey gravy is really tasty and easy to fool omnis). Heat up slowly stirring.



Then there's about 6,000 recipes on Vegweb.com. Search for "thanksgiving" and other side dishes replacing other parts of the meal. Bring some Earth Balance. Bring some vegan bullion. Both are easy substitutes and will not change the taste. You can basically replace all of the side dishes without any difference at all. I went vegan (after nearly 2 decads of ovo/lacto) about 1 year ago and my mother went vegetarian after seeing Peacable Kingdom). So the taste of many, if not all, side dishes with Earth Balance and Vegan Bullion are not different at all. Don't even mention it to anyone.



Make Vegan pumpkin pie beforehand. Don't tell others there's tofu in it. My recipe (which you can email me for at [email protected]) is tried and tested and easy to make (even the crust).



The side dishes won't change, but have the Tofurkey there for you and for others to try.
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#7 Old 11-13-2005, 01:37 PM
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John Robbins fasts on Thanksgiving. I don't take it that far, but I don't feel it's that difficult to eat cranberry sauce and salad with bread for one meal. I still have wine, and later on, coffee, just like everyone else. Bring and eat whatever you're comfortable with, and enjoy the company of friends and family. It's not the quantity of food on the plates that makes the holiday special, for you or the other people at your table.
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#8 Old 11-13-2005, 01:38 PM
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Ok, I think you should bring some vegan sidedishes and have your Mom change a couple things about her meal- that is less likely to be noticeable, and you will be able to eat some things you bring and some things she's made, which should make you feel more "a part" of the holiday festivities.

Sweet potatoes are easy to make vegan, if you're not going to get hung up on the sugar issue...(I'm not sure is brown sugar is vegan?) If you use Earth Balance instead of butter I swear you can't notice the difference! The rolls can always be vegan, although it takes a little hunting and label checking.

On another note, I wouldn't mess with the turkey. Tofurky will fool no omni, and may be disruptive in exactly the way you're trying to avoid.
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#9 Old 11-13-2005, 01:39 PM
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Ok, I think you should bring some vegan sidedishes and have your Mom change a couple things about her meal- that is less likely to be noticeable, and you will be able to eat some things you bring and some things she's made, which should make you feel more "a part" of the holiday festivities.

Sweet potatoes are easy to make vegan, if you're not going to get hung up on the sugar issue...(I'm not sure is brown sugar is vegan?) If you use Earth Balance instead of butter I swear you can't notice the difference! The rolls can always be vegan, although it takes a little hunting and label checking.

On another note, I wouldn't mess with the turkey. Tofurky will fool no omni, and may draw attention to you and your choices, which seems like what you are trying to avoid.
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#10 Old 11-13-2005, 01:50 PM
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Actually, as far as fooling omini's are concerned, the tofurkey may not fool all omni's but it certainly did fool many at a huge vegan outreach I participated in on Wednesday last week. It's a delicious clean protien replacer and it might be good to show that vegans are not deprived. We can enjoy the tastes of the holidays without the death, hormones, antibotics, and cholesteral (which is the same in poultry -- turkey and chicken as beef), and high saturated fat levels. It took me two months to get my mother to watch Peacable Kingdom (she was an omni) and that movie instantly changed her. So show it to your family, if you can. It will help, at least if they don't change, they will have a change of heart towards you and your reasons for being a peace eater.



Be sure, if you bring Tofurkey, that the box is from this year and it reads "improved". Cause last year it sucked, this year it's amazing!
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#11 Old 11-13-2005, 01:57 PM
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I understand what you're saying about showing Omnis and converting and all of that, but I think the OP made it pretty clear that they didn't want to disrupt the holiday celebration with their veganism, or even to be noticed on accont of it. So, that is where my reply was coming from.

I am interested in trying this new Tofurkey, however.
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#12 Old 11-13-2005, 02:01 PM
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My HFS is offering a complete Tofurkey meal - "turkey", stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravey (I think for 4 servings?) for $17.99. For that price, take, and cook it htere. You'll have a complete meal with leftovers for eveyone else to sample, and you find that next year, you have to buy 8 boxes instead of 1!!!

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#13 Old 11-13-2005, 02:08 PM
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That's cool. I didn't realize that the poster didn't want to be noticed. I'm a skimmer reader.



I'm so out there and ready with the facts for these outreach programs that I do it with everyone. Plus I love to cook and make meat analogs (like my own Seitan, TVP burgers) and that kind of thing.



Personal Slogan: Vegans don't DIEit, we LIVEit and so does every BODY else.
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#14 Old 11-13-2005, 02:21 PM
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Well, being noticed actually isn't really much of a concern in that way, there's no doubt that someone's going to notice things. That idea about the tofurkey meal is awesome though, I think I'll definitely go by Whole Foods and check that one out.



My concern was not upsetting the traditional fare. But I have nothing against adding stuff. I'm going to see what things would be easy to veganize(so far it looks like most of it), and for the more obvious things(the turkey), the tofurkey sounds like a great idea. What is comes down to is I just want to have a good time and show my parents that yes, I am sane, and yes, I am healthy.



Pulling that off without being overpowering is the tricky part. So yeah, I think tofurkey will be the order of the week, at least a few servings of it, and I'll see how the other stuff goes (pumpkin pie, here I come).
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#15 Old 11-13-2005, 02:32 PM
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Sorry to not post this in the recipe section, but I had to share this:



My notes make these look long, but they are not.



Pumpkin Peace Pie (MAKES 2)

Modified from version at vegweb.com

Ingredients:



1 29 oz canned pumpkin (All brands are vegan, it's just pumpkins. Make sure yours reads just pumpkins. Some brands already add spices -- that would not be good.)



1 1/2 cups vegan sugar (this means turbinado, found cheaply in bulk at health food stores. It's basically unrefined sugar, or sugar in the raw)



1 teaspoon salt



2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice



1 16oz silken tofu (FIRM) (I use 1 1/2 containers of the Mori-Nu brand - 18 oz)



The key to tofu is the different consistencies. In this case you want SILKEN but FIRM. I get the Mori-Nu brand and it lasts unrefrigerated for a LOOONG time). I get two containers and use 1 1/2 to make two pies (12.3 oz per container, so basically I use more tofu than the original recipe and my pies are creamier.)



* EnerG Egg Replacer for two eggs. This is a starch that is avaialbe at health food stores and I've seen it at regular stores too for baking without eggs. It's about $5.00 and you get the equivalent of about 153 eggs. Follow instructions on box to make the equiv. of 2 eggs (or email me and I'll tell you)



* 2 unbaked 9 inch pie shells (see recipe for 10 min. quick crust that I make).





Directions:



Mix together the pumpkin, salt, vegan sugar, and pie spice.



Food process the Silken Firm tofu until smooth. Stir into the pumpkin mixture, add the EnerG egg replacer for 2 eggs. Mix together and pour into the pie shells.



Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down the temperature to 325 and continue to bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (or almost clean). Let it set for a couple hours to cool and refridgerate. Bake this on the middle rack. If you use a glass pie pan, check the pie earlier as glass conducts heat more quickly. If you use a dark pie pan, check earlier as well. These are basic baking tips for both vegan and non-veg cooking.



Makes: 2 pies





*********************



World's Easiest Pie Crust (makes 2)



Modified from:

http://vegweb.com/recipes/sweets/pie29.shtml



I've doubled the recipe and increased volume and also did a few more things as there is not enough in the original recipe to make edges for the pie so that you can get them out of the pan.



3 1/2 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour (don't use bread flour)



1 teaspoon salt



4 tablespoons vegan sugar (turbinado or sugar in the raw*)





1 1/4 cup oil (Expeller pressed Safflower Oil is what I use and recommend)



5 tablespoons soymilk



1 tablespoon water





Directions:



Mix dry ingredients. Add liquids mush it together with your hands. Split the mush into two fairly equal chunks. Place each chunk into a 9-inch pan and start mashing it into shape. Don't worry, just work it into shape. Bring it up the sides and then form the edges. Make it an even thickness (you'll be able to tell). Use a fork to make design around edge. Put in the freezer for 5 min. Then fill with the filling and bake as instructed for the pie.



Takes about 10 min total for two crusts.
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#16 Old 11-13-2005, 03:41 PM
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I think working with your mom to veganize one or two side dishes is probably the least disruptive. Many times, the vegan version is just as good and nobody will notice the difference, particularly if it's just something like subbing no-chicken broth for chicken broth or margarine for butter.



Another idea is to start a brand new tradition by coming up with a special dish of your own to bring to the table, maybe a stuffed squash, nut roast, soup, or rice casserole of some kind?
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#17 Old 11-13-2005, 08:37 PM
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Well, what I'm doing this year is bringing one dish that I'm sure I could feel happy about on it's own, and then helping myself to any "clean" side dished available. Though I still need to talk my bro out of using an egg in his dish-to-pass.



I don't think you have to worry about veganizingyour side dishes but what you could do is

a) do double batches if you have enough people, one veg, one not

or

b) veganize select dishes, like make the stuffing with veg broth and the mashed potatoes with soymilk and margarine, but leave the pie and creamed green beans alone



Good luck, this is my first real veggie thanksgiving too!
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#18 Old 11-14-2005, 04:46 PM
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Hey, your mom sounds sweet. I'm sure you can discreetly bring some things you cook...you could even prepare a few dishes and just put them on the table, and not mention that they're vegan. Then you won't be calling attention to your eating habits; you'll just be eating off the table like everyone else. Just a suggestion! =) Or you could just drink wine. Mmm...wine! Haha.
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#19 Old 11-14-2005, 04:54 PM
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I think you can eat a nice meal and not be disruptive. So many people these days have special dietary needs I dont even see how it would be a big deal to veganize some of the sides. You both have to compromise.
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