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Feeding Vegetarians and Vegans In Your Family For The Holidays

Family get-togethers nowadays can comprise many different diets. Often vegetarians and vegans present special challenges to family members who are not familiar with those dietary preferences. This article is for those family members. A vegetarian does not eat meat, but will eat dairy products and/or eggs. A vegan will not eat anything with meat, eggs, or dairy products. So a vegetarian can eat anything a vegan can eat, but not vice versa. With just a little forethought, these dietary preferences are not hard to accommodate. And your vegetarian/vegan guests will appreciate the efforts that show you cared. Often vegans and vegetarians resent the fact that no one cared about them having access to food that they can eat at family events, and with this little preparation, you can set the tone to be one of inclusion.
(Ed. Note: I cannot count the times I hated holiday family dinners as a vegetarian. Each time my family acted like they had just found out I was a vegetarian! Even after years and years, no effort was made to accommodate my dietary preferences. It was instead sort of vengeful, as if having nothing to eat at those gatherings was my punishment for eating vegan or vegetarian foods. If I was going to eat like that, family members would scold, then I needed to just accept I could not eat food at family gatherings. This article was written for both the vegetarians and vegans who have been going through what I have just described for years with their family, but also for those family members who would like to show some extra care, as a gift, to their vegan and vegetarian relatives and guests. Feel free to forward this article to relatives.)

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Feeding Vegetarians and Vegans In Your Family For The Holidays
By Kirsten Anderberg (www.kirstenanderberg.com)

Family get-togethers nowadays can comprise many different diets. Often vegetarians and vegans present special challenges to family members who are not familiar with those dietary preferences. This article is for those family members. A vegetarian does not eat meat, but will eat dairy products and/or eggs. A vegan will not eat anything with meat, eggs, or dairy products. So a vegetarian can eat anything a vegan can eat, but not vice versa. With just a little forethought, these dietary preferences are not hard to accommodate. And your vegetarian/vegan guests will appreciate the efforts that show you cared. Often vegans and vegetarians resent the fact that no one cared about them having access to food that they can eat at family events, and with this little preparation, you can set the tone to be one of inclusion.

Many of our traditional fall and winter celebratory foods can be made without meat, and even without butter or eggs. Using a soy based margarine like Willow’s Run, instead of butter, can open up foods to vegans at the table. Substituting soy milk for cow’s milk in recipes can also render them edible to vegans. Little tricks like that can make food accessible to all during your parties. Things like apple, pumpkin, and pecan pie, for example, can be made with vegetarian ingredients, and even vegan ingredients. Mashed potatoes can be made without milk or with soymilk, and with soy margarine, instead of butter. Glazed carrots can be made with soy margarine instead of butter, and brown sugar. Baked yams are vegan (but marshmallows are not!).

Even gravy can be vegan. Roast 6 T. whole wheat flour over low heat until it just starts to smell nutty. Remove from heat. In another pan, saute ¼ c. chopped onions and 3 sliced mushrooms in 2 T. heated oil. Add the heated flour and whisk occasionally, as it cooks over low heat for 5 minutes. Then add 2 c. water or vegetable stock, 1 t. thyme, 2 t. marjoram, 2 T. soy sauce, and ½ t. minced lemon peel (optional). Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, whisking every few minutes, as it thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Vegetarian/vegan breads and rolls are not hard to find, and thus stuffing is not hard to make either. To make vegan stuffing, choose a base, such as breadcrumbs or rice. Add some nuts or seeds. Add some herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage, or parsley, as well as salt and pepper. Add some sauted garlic or onions. Add celery, cranberries, sliced water chestnuts, whatever else you might think of. Bake in an oiled, covered pan at 350 degrees for ½ hour.

A good vegetarian/vegan entrée alternative to meat is breaded, fried tofu. Slice firm tofu into pieces ½? thick. Then dip them in a mixture of the following: ½ c. cornmeal, ½ t. salt, ½ t. paprika, and a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Pan fry in hot oil until golden. Another delectable vegetarian entrée is the marinated Portobello mushroom. Buy large Portobello mushrooms. Slice the tip of the stems off and discard. Lie mushrooms on their backs, like upside down umbrellas, then pour soy sauce/tamari over the gills and let marinate. After an hour, drain and place the mushrooms in a pan. Cover each mushroom with grated cheeses. Place in an oven at 350 degrees and cook until the cheese is browned and bubbling. And you can use small Portobello mushrooms in this manner to make appetizers. With a fare like this, a vegetarian at your party could end up with a plate of mashed potatoes and gravy, breaded tofu, stuffing and vegetables, to be followed with a big piece of pie. With a little planning, you can avoid the vegetarian of the family eating only veggie sticks, or chips, all night.

For morning get-togethers with vegans, try this crumbcake. The only ingredient you need to get specially beforehand for this is soy milk, which is available at most grocery stores. Mix together 3 cups white flour, 1 c. granulated sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, ¾ t. nutmeg, ½ t. allspice. Then mix ¾ c. soy margarine in little pieces into the dry ingredients. Mix until it is just slightly lumpy, and then reserve 1 c of this for the topping later. After you take the one cup out, then mix in 1 ¼ c. soymilk, 3 t. baking powder, and ½ c. raisins (optional). Mix this together and pour into an oiled 8x8 pan. Sprinkle the 1 c. of reserved topping over the top. Sprinkle ½ c. broken pecans over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean.

Many easy appetizers can also be vegan, from bagels with hummus, to bean dips and chips. To make an easy bean dip, measure 1 c. pinto beans (from a can), then mash them in a bowl. Add 2 cloves minced garlic, ½ c. finely chopped onion, ¾ t. salt, a little black pepper, a little crushed red peppers, and ¼ t. each of dried basil, mustard powder and powdered cumin. Mix well, cover and chill. As I said, many vegans and vegetarians dread dinners with family as there is no food they can eat because meat or dairy is in everything. Using the tips of substitutions above, and learning basics about vegan and vegetarian eating, you can make dinner enjoyable for everyone, from meat eaters to vegetarians and vegans.

 
 


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Comments

Re: Feeding Vegetarians and Vegans In Your Family For The Holidays

holidays are always a struggle for me. i always get by with a few side dishes, but i can't recall a really tasty thankstaking dinner with my family.

i'll send this article to my family this year and it will hopefully inspire them to cook up some great food.
 

Re: Amused's name-calling

Dear "Amused", the article was about family gatherings and common courtesy for famly members with vegan or vegerian preferances. its not about whether or not to celebrate thanksgiving.
If you invited Jewish friends over for thanksgiving would you serve pork? The world is full of hate and so a little respect and consideration for the feelings of others would be helpful. Calling them "idiots" is counter productive and childish.
It seems that meat eaters get very defensive and angry when the subject of corpse eating is brought up.
 

An Injury to One is an Injury to All

What’s the point of knitting a sweater-while unraveling it at the same time? Social justice workers, gay men and lesbians fighting homophobia, feminists, civil rights activists and even environmentalists “unravel? all their good work if they abuse their power over animals and Nature! What a bitter irony!
What is the source of racism, sexism, homophobia, sweatshops, child labor, war and all the other ways humans oppress each other? Why are we arrogantly destroying Mother Earth who sustains all living beings-including humans and their global economy? Why do these insane practices from the age of barbarism continue?
Humans have used prejudice to justify exploiting each other for thousands of years. All prejudice is based on “otherness.? Oppressors regard the oppressed as “different.? Nuclear weapons make this primitive “us vs. them? worldview as dangerous as it is outdated.
In “Animal Liberation,? Peter Singer calls prejudice against animals and nature “speciesism.? Cruelty to animals, environmental destruction and human vs. human oppression are all interconnected abuses of power. Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher centuries ahead of his time opposed both slavery and cruelty to animals. He said, “The question is not ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ The question is ‘Can they suffer? ‘ No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally.?
Ranking the suffering of some beings as being more important than the suffering of others is an ethical slippery slope. Descartes heartlessly said animals were just unfeeling mechanisms created for us to use and whose cries of pain were merely the sounds of machinery! Men with these views easily ignored the agonized cries coming from the filthy holds of their slave ships since they regarded their human cargo as animals without souls!
A secretly taped video showed slaughterhouse workers hacking the legs off cattle and skinning them while these suffering beings were still fully conscious! According to the Humane Farming Association, workers are forced to slaughter at blinding speed or get fired. This means they often don’t have time to stun the cattle before cutting them to pieces!
Poultry slaughterers (mostly women of color) often get carpal tunnel syndrome from cutting chicken’s throats at a brutal pace day after day. When their arms become exhausted, their blades often miss. Many of these pitiful birds are still conscious and alive when dipped in scalding water to remove their feathers.
Karen Davis is the president and founder of United Poultry Concerns. Her group promotes compassion for domestic fowl. She said, “The argument that a group of individuals is ‘all alike’ has been used throughout human history as an excuse to oppress that group and so, harming them seems less horrendous. Chickens, whether intelligent or stupid, individual or identical are sensitive beings. They feel pleasure and pain and experience fear and well-being. This is enough to make it wrong to cause them pain and suffering.? UPC’s website is www.upc-online.org
Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple is a tireless activist who fights against racism. She made the connection between animal abuse, sexism and racism when she visited a factory farm. When she saw thousands of suffering hens crammed into filthy cages her heart was filled her heart with grief.At that moment, she realized these hens were her sisters. Women who fight sexism, domestic violence and exploitation should also realize that they perpetuate their own abuse when they exploit non-human females and eat their flesh.
In his book An Unnatural Order Jim Mason traced the source of what he calls Dominionism (the abuse of animals, the environment-and humans). As gatherer-hunters, we saw ourselves as part of the natural world and believed every being, including trees and plants, had a soul and was sacred. When hunters killed an animal, they apologized to its soul since they knew the animals were their relatives. This worldview changed 10,000 years ago when humans began to dominate nature with agriculture and animal husbandry. Domesticating (enslaving) animals required blunting compassion since each animal was known as an individual. Thus, animals had to be regarded as “lower? beings without souls in order to kill them without remorse. No longer our relatives, they were now merely “things? to be exploited since they were “different? than us. This Dominionist worldview legitimized slavery, genocide, rape and all oppression against “different? people. This led to the violent world we now must deal with. Globally, modern human society is still based on primitive Dominionism (might makes right).
Thanks to male-supremacist organized religion, Dominionism has had a long shelf-life. It’s supported and enforced by all the father-god religions, including Christianity, Judiasm, Islam, Hinduism, and Confucianism. Even some Buddhist sects teach that one must be born a human male to achieve enlightenment!
According to the bible (Genesis1:2),?God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle and over all the wild beasts that move upon the earth.?
Richard Lewinsohn, author of “Animals Men and Myths? said the corral was the first concentration camp and the rope around an animal’s foot the first shackle. Many people eat meat and use animal products from animal concentration camps (factory farms) without even considering the feelings of the suffering beings they consume.
The misery of fellow humans (overworked slaughterhouse workers) is also not given a thought. The meat industry deliberately builds slaughterhouses in impoverished areas where workers endure horrible working conditions—and racism. Americans are pitted against immigrants. In the slaughterhouse, humans and animals alike are exploited and abused.
Manifestations of speciesism, such as factory farms, rodeos, circuses and bull fights are condoned by the dominant culture of Dominionism-which also accommodates war and environmental destruction. Societies desensitized by Dominionism are unlikely to stop abusing humans, exterminating their fellow earthlings and destroying the natural world.
Speciesism perpetuates Dominionism. The wealthy ruling class treats everyone else like animals†and uses military force (murder and torture) to protect its economic interests. Under Dominionism, we are all the cattle of the rich whose corporate media promotes violence and “otherness.? Divide and conquer makes us easier to control and exploit.
However, Mason and many psychologists believe violence is a learned behavior and that humans, especially men, are naturally kind and non-violent -when not abused. In her book The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler cites archaeological evidence from peaceful Goddess societies in ancient Turkey to prove that is is not natural for men to wage war. Murals and artifacts indicate they enjoyed 1,500 years of peace!
When we practice integrating acts of compassion into our everyday lives by avoiding animal products, we resensitize ourselves and lay the foundation for a new worldview based on empathy with the oppressed instead of “otherness.?
Mason believes a compassionate world of peace can still be created and is within our reach.
An Unnatural Order? can be obtained by asking a local bookstore to order a copy or by visiting www.amazon.com.
None of us are free if one of us is caged!
 

Re: Amused's name-calling

Two comments ago (Re: Amused's name-calling), Utopia Bold responds to a comment that has been relocated to the hidden articles section of santa cruz indymedia. This comment has been posted here so people understand what Utopia Bold is talking about.
 

Re: Feeding Vegetarians and Vegans In Your Family For The Holidays

Why hide it in the first place if you are going to repost a link to it? I mean, we as readers should be able to JUDGE FOR OURSELVES if someone's comment is stupid, racist, unintelligent, etc.... You not only make more work for yourself by hiding and linking back, but you are stifling debate on an allegedly open comment wire.
 

judge for yourself

"Why hide it in the first place if you are going to repost a link to it?"

It allows curious people to easily and quickly see the article in question. Seems natural that people will want to see hidden articles.

"I mean, we as readers should be able to JUDGE FOR OURSELVES if someone's comment is stupid, racist, unintelligent, etc...."

Santa Cruz Indymedia has an editorial policy. As stated on Indymedia.org, "Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth."

SC-IMC's editorial states, "posts that contain blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, or other hateful material intended to objectify, intimidate, or injure traditionally oppressed or under-represented groups or that link to websites that advocate the same, may be hidden or deleted."

"You not only make more work for yourself by hiding and linking back, but you are stifling debate on an allegedly open comment wire."

Thanks for your concern about the workload for sc-imc volunteers, but i can assure you that our indymedia 'work' comes from our love and passion to tell the truth and change the fucking world!

 

Re: Feeding Vegetarians and Vegans In Your Family For The Holidays

Can SC IMC editorial progress to the "delete" option, rather than "hiding" option, please?
Your policy says you can hide OR delete it...
I prefer you *delete* any and all meaningless name calling comments posted to my articles in the future. Trolls should not be rewarded with publication.

I see no reason for SCruz IMC to log, file and keep that hateful namecalling shit at all. Delete it, permanently. You do not need to keep some jackass's names for me on file. Hidden or otherwise. Delete that useless crap!

Thank you, and keep up the hard work. We know it truly *is* work of passion...even on those days when everything goes smoothly...
 

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