This year was my first all vegan Thanksgiving. I was so excited to find new recipes and to try all the dishes that everyone else was bringing.
I’ve found so many awesome vegan blogs over the past few months that my recipes bookmark folder is practically overflowing. Yet somehow I hadn’t even glanced at Pinterest. I’ve avoided that site because I don’t need one more site to get sucked into but it won me over with it’s fantastic groupings of fall vegan food. The pictures were all so well lit and fabulous that I wanted to eat my computer.
After drooling over butternut squash and sausage stuffed phyllo cups and pumpkin bread pudding with maple caramel sauce (oh sweet mother of god, WANT!), I decided on chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars and good ol’ fashioned mac and cheese.
That sounds great, right?
Well, it wasn’t.
Perhaps I read the recipes wrong. Perhaps my taste buds aren’t vegan enough. Perhaps the cookie bars were supposed to look like someone had spermed inside of them. Yes, spermed. It’s a word now.
The cookie bar recipe I found here. I don’t blame that blog. They obviously worked for her. They did not work for me. They were supposed to look like this:
They did not look like that. Though it looked delicious when it came out of the oven. Once we cut into at the Thanksgiving feast though….yeeesh. The cream cheese/cheesecake filling had turned into a clearish liquid that looked like jizz. Straight up. That’s the truth. It looked like someone had cookie fucked my dessert. The boyfriend pointed out that this was an issue with the cream cheese chocolate cupcakes that I so adore. They do look jizzed in but they’re delicious. I could have forgiven the cookie bars for being sluts if they had been delicious sluts. But they were not. I was embarrassed that people ate it. It was a sugary mass of FAIL.
Moving on to the “blue box” style mac and cheese. I found the recipe for this here. Her pictures were gorgeous. I could almost taste the creamy goodness (ew, too soon after all the jizz talk, yes?).
I haven’t made mac and cheese without the help of Daiya yet. Knowing my Thanksgiving hosts were trying to stay away from fake cheese, I wanted to go the extra mile and make my own sauce from scratch. Well, tits. It did not work.
I was wary of a recipe calling for tahini, white beans, mustard and agave but since I know nothing about making fake cheese sauce, I went with it. If the intent was to make a sauce that smelled like peanut butter and tasted like foot stink, then I win the prize. There was nothing even remotely cheese like in the flavor and it looked nothing like the photos. It was sweet, an upsetting texture and even the boyfriend, who loves almost everything, made a horrible face after tasting it.
I’m not sure where I went wrong. Next time I’ll try a cashew cream recipe and see if I get better results. If anyone has a bomb mac and cheese recipe that doesn’t involve Daiya, I would love to have it.
I ended up making my old stand-by mac and cheese with a roux and some of the new Daiya wedges. The host said she liked it but to me it tasted off and plastic like.
All in all : FAIL.
I’m still feeling ranty. Still a word.
I broke this up from the first rant because this has an actual question to go along with the rant. I’ll try to keep my thoughts concise but I make no promises because for some reason I’m gut rumblin’ angry today. Not about this specifically but I’d just like to punch something. Not a kitten or anything. Probably not a child. Most likely just a pillow. Or Miley Cyrus.
Last Thanksgiving was my first almost all vegan holiday dinner. I remember eating a tiny bite of turkey the year before that and thinking: “This is dry and flavorless, why the fuck would I bother eating an animal if it’s not even amazingly delicious?”. So last year we made vegan mashed potatoes, pecan pie and a Tofurkey turkey to bring with us to the family dinner.
(Side note: I seriously dislike Tofurkey turkeys. Maybe I haven’t had one made properly. The boyfriend douses it in soy sauce and then cooks it. Is that normal? Plus the shape is disturbing. It looks like a giant goat turd pellet. I’m open to try it again but I’m happy with just side dishes as well.)
The boyfriend had told me stories of the amazing vegan Thanksgivings that he and his friends had here in Portland. At this point we were living in southern California near his family and therefore we we certainly in the minority at the dinner table. One story he told me though, always bothered me.
Apparently, the majority of his friends here were vegan and everyone was super down for an all animal free Thanksgiving. But one couple, close friends with everyone, was not vegan. They asked if they could bring turkey to dinner. Not cook it there, but bring it prepared and have it for themselves. The boyfriend was absolutely adamant that this was NOT okay.
His thinking was that everyone can enjoy ALL vegan dishes, even meat eaters. I get that.
I don’t think his relationship with food is as emotional as mine is. Holiday food especially has a lot of emotion tied into it for many people. It’s a time of year to be nostalgic, to enjoy flavors from your childhood. It’s like eating memories. Memories of family, togetherness, tradition. There are foods that I’ll eat just because I miss my mom and eating a dish that she used to makes me feel closer to home. People are very attached to food and the traditions they grew up with.
Is killing a turkey every year a good tradition? No. It’s fucked up and they don’t even taste good.
The thing that bothered me was that it sounded like his friends were trying to be respectful. They didn’t want to bring in a raw ham, cook it in the kitchen and then slice it up in front of a bunch of vegans. They wanted to bring what they wanted to eat, a small portion for themselves, prepared. Instead of being respectful of what their choices were, even if they’re not the same or even wrong choices, it was made difficult for them to come to dinner.
What I’m getting at is that human connection and friendship is incredibly important. If these people are good enough to be your friends, if you love them enough to hang out with them, stay in touch with them when you’re away, go to their wedding and all that, then why make them feel so shitty for turkey?
I know that the boyfriend would STRONGLY disagree with me on this one. And that’s fine.
The situation randomly came up with some other people who had been at dinner that year (vegan people) who were a little confused by the decision. So I know I’m not the only one who feels like things like that, especially around holidays when we are all pretty much orphans, shouldn’t matter so much.
If your veganism is more important than your friendships, perhaps only have vegan friends?
I went to a BBQ a few years ago where the hosts were vegan. Everyone was encouraged to bring food that they wanted to eat. The hosts made little flags for each dish that said “VEGAN” or “NOT VEGAN”. There were two grills, one for meat one for veggies and Boca burgers. Everyone was having a great time and I never heard any food discussions while there. Why can’t it be like that?
You can’t force your friends to make a lifestyle change.
I’m curious as to what others think. I can see both sides of the argument. But I’m sure I’ll get my ass reamed anyway.