As a pro-intersectional vegan, I see the United States’ Thanksgiving ‘holiday’ as being very problematic, for a number of reasons. Particularly, however, this year it is a difficult day to celebrate given what’s going on with the Dakota Access Pipeline.
At the same time, I’ve always cherished Thanksgiving as a holiday that has not (yet) completely succumbed to the materialistic framework that shapes Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. Among my family and friends, at least, the day is about spending time with loved ones, being thankful for what we have — and that is something we could all use right now. We need to re-energize ourselves and lift our spirits so we have the strength to carry on with our activism.
Despite that (or perhaps precisely because?) a cornerstone of today’s Thanksgiving is the mass slaughter of turkeys, Thanksgiving often becomes a point of solidarity among vegans. With events at animal sanctuaries (Thanksgiving WITH the Turkeys, for example; or turkey adoptions) and the much-anticipated vegan potlucks, vegans come together to find compassion during a time that might be characterized by the heartbreaking indifference toward the lives of the exploited — from the turkeys being devoured with such enthusiasm, to the disregard for the history of the celebration rooted in violence and discrimination towards American Indians.
This year, I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure of enjoying a delicious vegan meal with 10 local vegans (five of whom are completely new friends I had never met before)! With the date set, we created a shared document to plan our menu. I created a playlist and arranged the pumpkin-scented soy candles about the house to set the atmosphere.
One by one, my friends arrived with their delicious food. We bonded over drinks and snacks, talking about veganism, politics, culture, and every topic between. As we later sat there enjoying the meal, we each explained what food we prepared and how we cooked it. We discovered we were all taking a bit of that dish as the chef explained their food — it was such a delight!
Our all-vegan menu included:
- Roasted Beet Hummus
- Butternut Squash Queso
- Pigs in Blankets
- Potato Leek Soup
- Buffalo Mac & Cheese
- Brussel Sprouts
- Seasonal Spinach Salad (with apple, squash, pomegranates, and no-bee honey)
- Potato Salad
- Glazed Apple Walnut Lentil/Chickpea Loaf
- Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
- Stuffing and Gravy
- Raisin Cinnamon Rice Pudding
- Homemade Chocolate Bites
Everything was PHENOMENAL! And we all enjoyed our company so much we’re already planning to make this a regular thing!
The holidays can be a difficult time of year, particularly for vegans. It is so reassuring to have others to share in the complaining, and to be sympathetic of the challenges regarding sharing a meal with meat-eaters. It’s also so comforting to be able to celebrate the holiday fully, to enjoy the true meaning of being thankful for life.
I hope everyone else has enjoyable Thanksgiving holidays!