Monday, November 23, 2009

A Vegetarian at Thanksgiving!

Whether you are a vegetarian yourself, or hosting some for Thanksgiving, there are plenty of ways to make sure everyone is happy, full, and stress-free!

  1. Communicate well in advance: This is so your hostess can prepare to have meatless options for you. This also goes for anyone with special dietary concerns. It's always better to make sure the hostess is well informed.
  2. Explain your dietary concerns in detail: People, especially older individuals, tend to not get what it means to be vegetarian! Plus some vegetarians eat fish, some eat eggs, some eat no animal byproducts whatsoever. Which type are you? Let your hostess know!
  3. Offer suggestions: Plenty of hostesses aren't hip to the ways you can exclude meat from your cooking. Recommend replacements for things, like vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. You are a pro at cooking for yourself, so offer your insight without taking over.
  4. Always ask: This is always a rule for Vegetarians no matter what meal it is, but make sure you ask before taking a bite, just in case there's surprise bacon in the green beans or something!
  5. BYOT- (Bring your own Tofurky) or other meatless food items for yourself! For those non-veg folks, Tofurky is basically a meatless turkey substitute with stuffing rolled up inside. Vegetarian? Don't expect your hostess to know what this is or where to find it, especially if they're older, because she is probably not used to shopping for meatless dishes. One sure way to not be left out is to bring this yourself!
  6. Bring enough for everyone to try: Wow, it tastes just like real turkey! You can't bring something new and different to a dinner party and not expect everyone to want to try it. Make sure you have enough for yourself, and for everyone else to have a taste.
Hosting Vegetarian Guests?
  1. Ask questions: Don't hesitate to ask what your guests do or do not eat! This is the only way to make sure that you are clear as to their dietary concerns. If you don't understand something, the best way to learn is to ask!
  2. Ask for Help: You are the hostess, but everyone needs a hand in the kitchen sometimes! Don't hesitate to ask for help from your vegetarian guest to make sure you're getting it right.
  3. Plenty of side dishes don't involve meat at all: Sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce. These are all great Thanksgiving staples that are meat-free. Make sure you don't put gravy on the mashed potatoes yourself, but rather pass around a gravy boat. This will allow your vegetarian friends to enjoy the mashed potatoes with butter or other toppings.
  4. No Tufurky necessary: Don't feel pressured to buy commercial meat substitutes! Plenty of vegetarians don't actually like these and would much rather fill up on the other delicious sides mentioned above! Ask your guest if they would like to bring their own meatless substitute if you are uncomfortable shopping for them! And if you do buy some, refer to Vegetarian tip #6 and have enough for everyone to try!


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