Sharing the Thanksgiving Table

First off, I want to say that I am planning to eat what many people consider the traditional Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. You know, the turkey… the stuffing… the mashed potatoes with gravy… some vegetables of the season.  You get the picture. Each year, in addition to this, our family also tries out one or two new vegetable dishes. We then tuck those into our recipe collection for special occasions.

As the calendar years have flipped past, there has gradually been an increase in the number of relatives in my extended family that have embraced either a vegetarian or a vegan dietary lifestyle. They’ve done this for any number of reasons…health benefits…global awareness…support of the farm to table movement, and so on. So, as Thanksgiving and the other holidays approach, we are more aware of their food map and try to learn new ways to prepare alternatives to the traditional fare that we can serve at the Thanksgiving table.

If you’ll be having family or friends sharing food at your table on Thursday or on the weekend and would like to broaden your range of dishes that have appeal to vegetarians and vegans, you may benefit from reading Tara Parker-Pope’s Well blog postings from time to time in The New York Times.  Also, The New York Times online currently has been running a Thanksgiving Help Line  where staff of The New York Times Dining section are answering readers’ questions on food, drinks, entertaining and more. For the vegan / vegetarians who may be joining you for Thanksgiving, don’t miss the answer to the question: “What’s a good entree for a vegan / vegetarian Thanksgiving?”  Tasty alternative entrees included Curried Lentil, Squash and Apple Stew / Harvest Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms / 7-Vegetable Couscous. There’s also suggestions for things like “What’s a good recipe for vegetarian gravy?” and “Is there a good nondairy substitute for butter and sour cream?”

Traditional cooks also will find plenty of tips and ideas from the online Thanksgiving Help Line, as well, from experts like Melissa Clark, Mark Bittman, Julia Moskin, and Florence Fabricant. There are even short videos, along with plenty of great sounding recipes.

So, have a look, try a new recipe, ask a question if you have one, but most of all, enjoy sharing Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

-Tom D.

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