Pie dreams

November 18,2011
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

I keep having to remind myself that next week is Thanksgiving. As usual, everything's come to a sort of bottleneck here, at the end of the semester. I'm behind in grading and other course administration tasks; the children's schools are piling on event after event. I received a grant (hooray!) for a proposal I wrote but now have to produce an article by December 1st (boo!). Somehow I committed myself to baking some international-themed dish for an event today, (what happened to my vow to learn to say no?) and our weekend suddenly went from carefree and commitment-free to being completely booked.

I really would rather be spending my time these days paging through some of my favorite recipe books and magazines, planning our Thanksgiving feast, and wondering how on earth I can veganize a delectable-looking pie like this, or dreaming about the way this one might taste, or--my goodness--this beauty, too.

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Thanksgiving is a strange time for vegetarians. Not because we don't know what to serve for the big dinner, but because people seem confused about how to talk to us this time of the year. Everywhere we go people sidestep around the topic of the Thanksgiving menu, dropping their voices to a hushed whisper when they say the word "turkey." I'll never forget the time, a few years ago, when I was at the dentist for a routine cleaning and the hygienist asked me about Thanksgiving dinner.

"Do you serve a whole turkey," she asked, "or just the breast?"

T., who was sitting on the floor on a blanket, watching it all, piped up suddenly:

"We don't eat meat! We're vegetarians!" (Only she pronounces it "veggietaran.")

"Oh! I forgot!" C. the hygienist said, and then she tried to change the topic suddenly, as if she had said something really offensive.

I told her we love Thanksgiving, and that we always have tons to eat.

"What DO vegetarians eat at Thanksgiving?" C. wanted to know.

I told her what I'll tell you here--we eat plenty. We eat things like this:

And this:

Why does taking the "e" out of "turkey" somehow make both of these more vegetarian?

The Quorn Roast was our favorite for many years, until we tried the Tofurky roll. We will probably cook both again this year, along with our family favorite, this recipe for artichoke stuffing. I'm still scouting out some new recipes to try this year, and will have more on that early next week. Until then, duty calls--it's time to get back work, and leave those visions of feasts for now.

 

Happy weekend!