Going to a vegan Friendsgiving: A memoir

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Going to a vegan Friendsgiving: A memoir

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Thanksgiving. The holiday known for sacred traditions ranging from the classic food on the dinner table to the annual “What I’m grateful for” dinner time reflection. This is the only time of year allocated to reminisce on how far we’ve come by reverting back to old customs. We stifle our political beliefs, sexual orientations, dietary choices and everything that defines us as a society to embrace the conventionality associated with Thanksgiving. Ironic, isn’t it?

In accordance, this past Thanksgiving consisted of many long held traditions crossed off the list to show a holiday truly accomplished. What I didn’t expect to cross off was an item from my list of firsts: going to a vegan Friendsgiving.

How did I stumble into this sort of… experience, you may ask? Well, as a friend of a few vegetarians and a vegan food blogger, a series of fateful events occured that led me to a vegan friendsgiving on the chilly evening of Black Friday.

As I pulled up to my friend Ayaka’s house (a.k.a. the vegan blogger) in my Civic, a series of thoughts crossed my mind. Many were along the lines of “Will we be eating grass tonight?” and “I probably should’ve eaten before, just in case.” I also did not know the guestlist whatsoever. So with both the food and guests, the two main components of a friendsgiving, unbeknownst to me, I knocked on the door with trepidation.

As it swung open, my gaze quickly bypassed the other guests and landed directly on the dining table, void of food. Taking a seat, I finally noticed the other guests, two peers from school and another girl who I assumed (and later confirmed) was a vegan. When small talk began, I silently prayed the topic of animals wouldn’t come up, as I was the only one who both loved animals but also a good Swenson’s burger.

Soon the hostess eagerly announced the food was ready. This was the moment of truth for me. Will it be good or will it live up to the vegan memes I’ve seen before? So with a grumbling stomach and hesitant steps, I grabbed a plate and followed suit of the non-meat eaters, heaving a spoonful of everything onto my plate.

Stuffing, gravy, sweet potato fries, cornbread and much more. It all looked normal, but I became confused when what looked like meat was being sliced and placed on everyone’s plate. After a piece of the mysterious “meat” and a La Croix (to be bougie), I took my seat and examined my plate. After taking a few pictures to give a shoutout to vegans and vegetarians all around on social media, I took my first bite.

Surprisingly, the food was pretty good. Yes, I was VERY hesitant at first, but it all was similar to a regular thanksgiving meal. I will admit, the textures were slightly different, reminding me of the lack of eggs, dairy, meat, and any other animal products. Slicing into the “meat”, I held my cup of La Croix close to wash down any unfortunate residual taste, yet all I really tasted was a bread-like flavor.  After stuffing myself, dessert was offered.

Using the iconic Robert Yanko’s advice, I took the offer and graced my plate with a chocolate brownie and pumpkin pie (because we are never realllyyy too full). With some amazing vegan chocolate buttercream, I ended my night of feasting fully content.

All in all, I was very glad to pay tribute to America’s roots while also embracing the ever-changing untraditional America we now live in. Though I may never get another invite to a vegan Friendsgiving, when I’m seated around the table saying what I’m grateful for next year, vegan chocolate buttercream frosting will come to mind.

For more information about the food, follow @foodbyayaka on instagram!