Now that we're 25 days into A Month of Vegan Gravy - it's time for a small confession. I know it seems un-American, non-traditional, sacrilegious, anti-family and downright wrong, but I'm just not a Thanksgiving Day fan. Even more of a surprise since I love cooking and all things foodie. No, we spent the morning cooking (*gasp*) real turkeys and feeding the homeless. Later, we went to a movie, had Thai food and swam in the motel pool. And it was unanimously agreed upon as the best, most stress-free Thanksgiving my girls and I have had.
I have a multitude of reasons for not being a fan - and won't go into them in great detail here.
Well, maybe I will rant a little.
Read on at your own risk, but I'll warn you, there's no gravy; that'll be back tomorrow, no worries.
(As a disclaimer: I love my extended family, we DO get along, and they are not the horrible, inflexible, misunderstanding ogres I may make them appear to be with my ranting. But I still have a few issues with Thanksgiving...)
First of all, I don't consider my kids to be "picky" - nevertheless, they don't like most of the traditional (vegan versions) of "Thanksgiving" foods.
And I see no purpose in every year, imposing these six or seven foods on them (just because someone deemed them 'traditional') when they will eat kale, beets, okra, sushi, hot chiles and virtually every other (vegan) food in the entire world! Clearly no one's in danger of malnutrition.
I know, who doesn't like rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, green beans and pumpkin pie, right?
But those are their preferences, and I don't "make" them eat what they don't like. There are much bigger battles out there. Judge my parenting if you dare. They would have made bad Pilgrims, what can I say.
In light of that, it seems an unnecessary struggle to cart them off to whatever family is hosting our fairly "traditional" dinner, (don't even go there) only to have to explain (again) that:
1.) No, I don't force them to "take some of everything and then clean their plates" (and I'm, literally, a large example of what *can* happen when that is imposed)
2.) My children are not un-greatful, but they will NOT "eat what is served them if they're hungry enough".
3.) And no, the starving children in China will not benefit from my children's clean plates.
OK, :whew: end of THAT rant.
Second, not to whine, but I have a very tight budget (both time AND money) and making my all-vegan dinner PLUS providing requested several dishes to share with the whole extended family Thanksgiving potluck stretches my budget outside my comfort zone. Especially when I then find that someone brought a "regular" (non-vegan) pie (or whatever) anyway, because they "weren't sure they'd LIKE mine". Really? *grumble*grumble*
Third, speaking of Pilgrims, I'm just not all that convinced the history books have it correct. That day in 1621 when Pilgrims invited their "friends" the Native Americans and supposedly shared their "bounty" with the Indians in a harvest feast? Yeah, most, if not all, of the food was actually brought and prepared by the Indians. The Pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but the agricultural expertise of the Indians had produced corn, without which the Pilgrims would have died.
Think about it. The Pilgrims, who came from England ridiculously unprepared to survive, ended up relying almost exclusively on handouts from the overly generous Indians–were actually the western hemisphere’s first welfare recipients. Though the Native Americans tried their best to help, they weren't usually "friends" with the whites, and in fact, those who came within the vicinity of the Pilgrim settlement was often subjected to robbery, enslavement, or even murder.
My daughter's American history book for 5th grade in 2010 doesn't even touch on this aspect. You'd think we could be a little more up-to-date, but then, what would we do with all the "Happy Indian-Happy Pilgrim" cut outs and bulletin board decorations, right?
Personally? I think Native Americans should be allowed to pelt us with tomatoes just like my favorite episode of Northern Exposure. Here's a clip. Watch it and enjoy the nostalgia of my favorite TV show, then read on...
What you don't see is that after Joel is pelted by tomatoes, his receptionist, Marilyn Whirlwind (played by Elaine Miles), explains that around Thanksgiving, the Native Americans throw tomatoes at the white folks because, “Tomatoes look like blood but they don’t hurt.” It’s the same reason that the whole town is festooned with skeletons and “death’s-head pumpkins.” For the American Indians, who make up a large portion of Cicely’s population, Thanksgiving is about the systematic slaughter of their people and their culture, so they “celebrate” in their own way, while the white people play their part as the willing victims of vegetable assault. (Which reminds me, I have a GREAT Tomato Gravy-Marinara I need to share!)
So. I've mentioned vegetables and vegan food, thus fulfilling the requirements for November's Month of Vegan Blogging extravaganza. I didn't give you a gravy recipe today, but please stay with me (even after my ranting!) I won't let you down - more gravy wonderfulness awaits tomorrow, not to fear.