Ahh, Thanksgiving…a day I both love and loathe in equal parts. The last six or so years have not been quite so bad as I have been able to share the tofurkey and vegetarian stuffing with my brother, the other non-meat-eater in my family. However, he recently gave up the venture and I am alone again. As a result, I will receive all of the tofurkey-bashing my family has to offer.
“I made the turkey just the way you like it, kiddo!” my uncle will shout to me as he carves his precious bird at the head of the table. My cousin will hold the gravy boat directly under my nose as if I am incapable of restraint. My grandmother will encourage me to “cheat just a bit…because it’s Thanksgiving, and for your health, of course” (it has never occurred to my grandmother that my vegetarianism is nothing but an attempt to slowly kill myself).
In my days of indignant, self-satisfied vegetarianism, I had to grit my teeth and smile falsely. “It’s a choice,” I would growl underneath my breath as anger boiled just below the surface.
You will be relieved to know that this is not the case anymore. In much the same fashion that I outgrew my favorite blue sweatshirt, I have long since outgrown my outrage. My uncle and cousins and grandmother can laugh and cajole all they please and I will not be stirred.
This Thanksgiving, like every Thanksgiving, I will have a small plate with a loaf of tofu-turkey next to my plate and a ramekin dish of vegetarian gravy. My cousins will gripe that the stuffing is so much better with chicken stock; my uncle will laugh at his own jokes at my expense and my grandmother will attempt to heap a small cut of turkey onto my plate. Rather than clenching my teeth, though, I’ll laugh and mean it.
Once the turkey is devoured and the cranberry sauce is little more than a red stain on a glass bowl, the pecan pie finds its way to the table. And then my uncle will turn to my cousin, who happens to have an allergy to tree nuts. With a mischievous look on his face, he’ll mutter, “What a shame pecans are tree nuts…”
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!