Sunday, November 5, 2017

Gluten Free for the Holidays and Turkey-less


I have to share the story of what happened when I hosted a "Turkey-less" Thanksgiving 20 years ago for 18 relatives . 


Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays when I was growing up. It was a time when our extended family was together, the weather was crisp and nippy, the fireplace was roaring, and everyone was relaxed and cheerful.


My mother always set the table brilliantly for Thanksgiving with her best china, her treasured crystal, and beautiful orange linen napkins that complemented her pristine white freshly ironed tablecloth. Our extended table was set for 18. ( yes, she had that many dishes and crystal)



Our main centerpiece was traditionally a huge cornucopia basket filled with farm fresh local Jersey apples and red grapes accompanied by two small centerpieces of seasonal flowers.

My Mother's Traditional Meal
My mother's traditional Thanksgiving meal bragged a huge banquet of Thanksgiving family recipes which included appetizers, soup, turkey, stuffing, gravy, winter squashes, mashed potatoes, salad, Brussels sprouts, string bean and onion ring casserole, pumpkin pie and apple pies.

My Mother Couldn't Make Thanksgiving Anymore and that left me to make it

As my mother got older and could no longer handle the cooking, the set up, and the serving, so the tradition was passed on to me, her one and only late life child. ( she had me at 42)

Don't get me wrong, I shared my mother's love of cooking, her passion for entertaining and her talent for bringing family and friends together.

The Problem 

The problem was that sometime in my late twenties, I decided to become a vegetarian.  This meant that I now refused to kill a turkey and have some poor defenseless bird roasting in my kitchen oven for the better part of the morning and then lay on a platter dead on my holiday table.

How do you explain a turkey-less Thanksgiving to your Thanksgiving guests? 

A turkey-less Thanksgiving did not go over well with my father, the meat eater, who had been a butcher most of his adult life! My mother was willing, my husband was used to it, my other relatives were skeptical and everyone who came was genuinely disappointed. After all , they looked forward to their Thanksgiving Turkey tradition all year long.

That was when I was a young mother and it was the first and last year that I hosted Thanksgiving. It was UNTRADITIONAL yet the food was good, great ! but the traditional eaters wanted a turkey. The following year, Thanksgiving was at my cousin's house and forever after, I have not been asked nor desired to host Thanksgiving.

What did I make for an Un Traditional Thanksgiving?
Well truthfully, I made delicious appetizers, soup, vegetable sides using winter squashes, stuffing and vegan gravy, string and string beans. Except for the turkey everything else was the same, and I made a vegan entree which people liked but didn't replace the turkey.

If you are looking for gluten free and vegan ideas ( even if just for the soup, appetizers or sides) have a look at the list of recipes that I published last year with a comprehensive list of 
my gluten free and vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

                   My Gluten Free and Vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

I love to know what you think..Please leave a comment by scrolling down to the end of the post ( if you are reading in email, you have to click on the top of the post that says, "click here to go to the blog") and then scroll down and click on comments.



19 comments:

  1. I can so relate and remember family reactions, when I did my first vegan meal over 35 years ago. Now, I do a vegan Thanksgiving with people who are plant-based. I feel grateful and happy I'm saving a turkey. Happy Holidays and be well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nancy,
      I still get together with family but they make their turkey and I make and eat the sides! It works
      It would be fun to get together with others who share the same eating habits! How great would that be!!

      Delete
  2. While we are not fully vegetarian, I do love mostly plant based meals...I was vegetarian in my 20's...I do make a point of saving a turkey on thanksgiving. In fact, we seldom eat any turkey. This year we are making mushroom strudel with butternut squash fritters, stuffing balls, salad and pumpkin pie cupcakes. Holidays are most special because of family gathering for a fun day, and the food will be delicious too! We always have fun planning different meals for holidays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That mushroom strudel sounds delicious as well as the squash fritters.. I agree that the most special part of the holiday is being together with family and friends.

      Delete
  3. Alternative recipes aren't for everyone, but, you shared a great experience with them! I would love you to share this at Smell Good Sunday https://jaytriedandtrue.blogspot.com/2017/11/smell-good-sunday-38.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jay,
    Thank you for the invite for your Sunday Linky- I'll be over to check it out..

    ReplyDelete
  5. my partner is the meat eater and he views anything without meat with disgust , he gets annoyed when i cook veggie and if he complains i get a jar of fake bacon crispies out and toss them over everything , the silence is deafening...lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so funny. Does he even eat a salad?

      Delete
  6. Thank you - this is great! We have had vegan guests for the last several years, and I am always at a loss for what to make! This solves my problem :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh! I am sure that you can find a few recipes in this round up that the vegans will love and so will everyone else.

      Delete
  7. I am not vegan but definitely enjoy some new gluten free recipes! Thanks for sharing at The Blogger's Pit Stop! Roseann from www.thisautoimmunelife.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roseann,
      I'm enjoying Blogger's Pit Stop as I find interesting posts that I don't find on other parties. Vegan recipes make great sides for everyone

      Delete
  8. that is quite a problem to decide what to serve and why. We have those that are meat lovers as well as veggie lovers in our family. Thanks for sharing your thoughts
    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angie,
      I find that if there is a turkey - everything else can be vegan and no one complains.. but I don't do Turkey at my house - so my son and daughter in law host it.

      Delete
  9. It just goes to show it's not all about the Turkey! #MMBC

    ReplyDelete
  10. It sounds like you had some challenges with the guest, Judee but you handled them beautifully. Your menu and recipes for a meat free Thanksgiving sound amazing. Sharing this post on The Hearth and Soul Link Party Facebook page. Thank you so much for sharing it. Hope to see you at the party again this week, and that you have a lovely week!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your childhood sounds a lot like mine! You've come up with some great alternatives for no turkey! Me, I still gotta have some of that bird. lol! Of course, if I was your guest I would love it and never even miss the turkey! :) Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #ThursdayFavoriteThings this week. Visit me at https://www.marilynstreats.com on thursday morning and to see your feature and grab your badge! All hosts choose their own features from the comments left on their blog so be sure to return to my blog for your badge. I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sounds like you had a great menu - even without the traditional bird! Thanks for sharing on Homestead Blog Hop :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment - I love the feedback and interaction

Printfriendly