Friday, November 27, 2009

A Tale of Two (Vegan) Thanksgivings

It is a long held tradition in my family that we have our Thanksgiving on the Sunday before the official Thanksgiving. It was started long ago as my parents ran a farm and didn’t really have holidays per se. I guess it doesn’t really matter what the business was, if you own it, then calling in sick and taking vacation is not a viable option to often.

Nevertheless, this tradition still holds after more than 25 years since my parents sold the farm.

I try to help out in providing food as my 80+ year old mother should not be held responsible for feeding upwards of 20 mouth that have a hard time staying shut (present company NOT excluded).

I’ve been exposing my family to my vegan cooking gradually over the past year. Some dishes have been hits and some have been misses. I can’t really say that I improved my win-loss percentage with this latest attempt (2 wins and 2 losses…which could almost be considered 2 draws instead) but I believe that I did accomplish something worthy…that I can (at some undetermined point in the future) host my own Thanksgiving and satisfy just about everyone.

Through Erik Marcus’s website I have been exposed to a veritable gold mine of information. Most recently, some amazing recipes from Robin Robertson. Mr. Marcus posted links to her 2008 & 2009 Thanksgiving recipe collection.

Although I wanted to make and eat them all I carefully chose 4 to present to my family:

Roasted Wheatmeat
with Oyster Mushroom and “Sausage” Stuffing
Brown Gravy
Garlic Smashers
Ginger-Dusted Pumpkin Cheezecake

I made a trial version of the seitan & stuffing last Friday night for my live-in food critic (which she responded to with rave reviews). I assumed some factor of safety and waited until Sunday morning to make the gravy, smashers and cheesecake (which proved to be a good assumption on my part).

So, a few people tried the seitan (my sister even asked to take some home), more enjoyed the mashed potato, no one consumed the gravy (only because I neglected to pass it…oops) and everyone who sampled the cheezecake became wide-eyed and displayed an expression reminiscent to that of a teenage boy watching his prom date descend the staircase (which apparently only happened in Disney movies from the 1970’s).

I made these same dishes 4 days later for my wife's family on Thanksgiving, but with not much better of an acceptance percentage. I must given my test subjects the benefit of the doubt though. Many of these dishes are my first try at them and they are being compared to dishes that they have been eating for almost 50 years.

But I won't give up, I'll keep on coming back. After all, Christmas dinner is coming up soon...

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