So, what are your plans for Thanksgiving? I’ll be taking the dogs down to my mom’s house for some much-needed family and nature time. I may or may not also be spray painting chairs, restoring an old harvest table, and whipping up new recipes while I’m there, too. I mean, no holiday is complete without DIY.
Here are some fun, thoughtful resources for cooking’ up a meaningful holiday, in and out of the kitch:
- A Very Vegucated Thanksgiving: Five carefully curated, adorably themed menus? Yes! No more flipping through magazines and cookbooks! So whether you’re catering to secret supper club foodies or the sports fanatic who subsists on mac and cheese and Budweiser alone, these menus and recipes (all free, btw) will guide you through a delicious and hassle-free holiday. Check it out here. And yes, there’s a “Southern Elegance” menu because that’s how I roll.
- EMMA Magazine Spread: I was so excited to do an all-vegan Thanksgiving spread for the darling EMMA Magazine. This 8 page spread features elegant twists on old classics (like my Chai Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Crust and Pecan and Chorizo Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps) and the illustrations are by a totally talented Evie Shaffer, whose work you may have seen for Anthropologie and other design powerhouses. Color me flattered! You can access the entire November issue here.
- Don’t Fear the Vegan: Isa Chandra Moskowitz (whom Twitter founder, Biz Stone, has referred to as his favorite chef. Period.) not only has a banging new cookbook out (Isa Does It, which is masterful), but she also wrote this excellent piece on CNN’s Eatocracy about not fearing plant-eating friends who may grace your table. I love her sage, sane, and fun perspective. If you’re veg or hosting someone who is, this is a must-read. Check out the post here.
- Celebrate the Bounty of Life: It’s always been so bizarre to me that we celebrate a holiday about the bounty of life by gathering around a dead bird carcass. If you’ve ever been to a sanctuary, you know how magical turkeys are. They’re like little old ladies, with their expectant faces. I had the privilege to visit Farm Sanctuary a few years ago, where I met with animals I’d never been up-close to before. Animals we eat. Animals who have suffered atrocities we will never know.
- And I was so struck by how social and dog-like the turkeys were. They’re sidle out from their little den and come right under our hands to be pet. Wow, what an experience. Feeling the downy feathers and the breath, moving delicate bones (bones we usually only eat and discard) up and down with each inhale and exhale. Her little face, eyes closed, enjoying every loving pat. It was very moving. I already hadn’t eaten meat for a long time, but man, it was an experience I will never forget. You can read about my Farm Sanctuary visit here. And, if you’re compelled to go meat-free for the holiday, check out the recipes in this post and watch this video to learn how to spare a turkey.
- Need a reminder? Read this beautiful poem by my friend, Gretchen Primack. It sets the perspective right again.
- If animals ain’t your thing (WHO ARE YOU?), there are plenty of other ways to give back this holiday season. Volunteer for Food Not Bombs or a soup kitchen, run a coat drive, or keep a lonely senior company who has nobody to spend the holiday with. These are the true essences of the holiday – not our possessions, but the people we cherish and the philanthropic, loving ideals we act on to make the world a more peaceful place.
- Say No to Black Friday: This may be unpopular, but oh well. Black Friday has now become Black Thursday. As someone whose mother works in retail, I have never spent one uninterrupted holiday with her where she didn’t have to rush in to work at 3am to deal with piles of pushy, possessed, deal-seekers lining up hours in advance to buy STUFF. And it breaks my heart. Many workers at these stores can barely afford to put food on their own tables, as evidenced by Walmart’s recent food drive for their employees. That shit’s cray. Do I like discounts on TVs? OF COURSE. But I also recognize that in our fast-paced world, it’s not just nice – it’s imperative – that we take some time to not buy anything and just appreciate what we have. Or else we’re gonna, like, explode or something.
- Thanksgivukkah: Rhea of The V Word has an impressive collection of recipes that will work beautiful for your combined Hanukkah/Thanksgiving feast. Many are gluten-free, to boot. Nab ’em here.
- Sharing Your Blessings: As we enter in to a season of giving and buying, these guides will help you to gift with minimal impact on the environment and with maximum compassion. If you’re cleaning your home in preparation for a bright, shiny new year, be sure to check out these tips on how to reduce, reuse, recycle, and donate to the max. I’m a bit of a neat freak and I’ve been really inspired by Be More with Less and Project 333 lately. A closet of only 30 total items for three months? Quite a challenge!
I hope that no matter how or where you celebrate the holiday, you realize how truly blessed we all are. The adage is true that there’s always something to be thankful for, and heck, if you’re not feeling particularly blessed, the best way to start feeling that way is to share your gifts with others. Lots of love and gratitude goes out to you, my readers and friends, for all of the amazing feedback, support, ideas, and great stuff you’re putting out in to the world. I raise my well-liquored glass to you.
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