Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says a vegetarian Thanksgiving can still be traditional and delicious.
The gathering of 52 English colonists and 90 Wampanoag Indians in 1621 marked the beginning of what we call Thanksgiving today. Enduring a year of starvation and disease, for the Christians it was a time to praise God for the abundance of the harvest. For the Native Americans, it was a time to praise the Earth for the same.
For me, 400 years later, not much is different. Community, gratitude and seasonal crops dominate my thoughts, though I have to work hard to drown out the constant talk of baked turkeys, roasted turkeys, leftover turkeys and turkey pot pies.
I've been celebrating a vegetarian Thanksgiving for 23 years and a vegan one for 16, and deciding what to serve each year is the most difficult part; not because of the lack of options but precisely because there are so many.
When people think of a vegan Thanksgiving, I think they envision something lacking because we're all taught that a proper main dish comprises some type of animal flesh. But really I think what matters most is having a beautiful centerpiece on the table and a focal point on the plate, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through things that can be stuffed, such as winter squash, little pumpkins, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms or corn husks.