How does a vegetarian celebrate Turkey Day?

I’ve been a vegetarian for a stupidly long time. And stupidly is the right word choice here; I do not recommend it. I mean, if you are one for animal rights reasons or health reasons and it’s working out, that’s totally valid.*  But I am a vegetarian because I was a picky child. That’s it. My picky-ness just had a name that I liked saying to lunch ladies to make them think I was a smart six-year-old (we vegetarians are a notoriously snobby people), and I never grew out of it. Now, I spend a lot of time in dive bars surrounded by burgers and I love the smell of Dome Dogs, but if I try to eat meat I become immediately ill. After 24 years, my vegetarianism is essentially a food allergy.

Luckily, being a vegetarian has not interfered with my favorite past time: eating. There are so many delicious options out there for someone with an eclectic palate (I just pinned a recipe for kale quinoa pilaf and I am legit excited by it; how do I even have any friends). The world at large and the Cities in miniature are becoming more veggie-friendly. My friends and family are more or less used to me saying “Can I get that without bacon?” But there is this one time of year where it gets just a wee bit annoying.

This. This is that time. The week before Thanksgiving. People will talk about Thanksgiving or “Turkey Day” plans, and then shoot the vegetarian a look of pity. I call it the “Sad Turkey Side-Eye.”  Honestly, I don’t really think I’m missing out because Thanksgiving involves about fourteen side-dishes I can eat, and do (and how!). Also pie. So much pie. When I get the Sad Turkey Side-Eye, I find it best to respond with “I Will Be Eating Your Share Of Pie While You Are Taking an L-Tryptophan Nap” smirk.

I’d also just like to state, for the record, that I’ve never had Tofurkey.  I actually don’t know (or remember) what turkey tastes like. But I will not go near Tofurkey out of fear that it will taste like tofu, which I only enjoy if it’s completely masked by foods that taste like actual food.

tofurky package

If this looks appetizing to you, seek help.

Again, I’m totally cool just eating grandma’s jello salad and mom’s sweet potatoes and everyone’s pie. I am not missing out and neither, really, are the other vegetarians.**

Here’s the thing: Thanksgiving is not about turkey. It’s not even about pie. It’s about giving thanks for what we have, and I sure have a lot: a nice job, great family, wonderful friends, sweet apartment, lovely life, and the ability to turn my nose up at proffered food. This last one gets to me, particularly at this time of year, which is why I’m doing the Walk To End Hunger again this year. Thanksgiving morning, my mother and I will be up at the crack of dawn*** walking around the Mall of America. The funds we raise will be split among 12 local hunger charities.

Walk To End Hunger Logo

Half of us have far too much to eat on this one day, I am more than happy to continue; but let’s make sure every Minnesotan has enough to eat every day.

So how does a vegetarian celebrate Turkey Day? By confronting every Sad Turkey Side-Eye with a link to my fundraising page. By giving thanks. By Walking to End Hunger. And by eating the hell out of some pie.

*Unless you are a vegan. That is just crazy.
**Vegans are, though. Vegans are missing out on life.
***7 a.m. is the crack of dawn on holidays; also vegans are the worst.

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Best Things of the Month!

Actually it’s been over 2 months since my last “Best Things” post, but if I had more time to write these things I’d have less to write about, right?  So let’s just sum up October:

First there was the ZPC wherein I ruined the childhoods of many with my Zombie Princess pals, and then there was Halloween.  For that, I was Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for obvious reasons.

Two Charlies

The resemblance is uncanny.

A lot of girls use Halloween as an excuse to wear underwear in public; I just went a different way with it.  I bullied a buddy into going as Mac (aka I lent him a t-shirt and drew fake tattoos on his arms), and Manolo was a cat, so we did our best to reenact this video:

Overall I give Halloween (and October) a solid A.

NOVEMBER!

First there was vacation with the Ginger.

Then there was my dad’s first Vikings game.

empty dome

This is what the Dome looks like when you're 2.5 hours early.

They lost, of course. And cousin Adrian had to be taken out of the game with an ankle injury. Really not great, but it was awesome to be there with Pops anyway.  It’s also great that he’s quit smoking, and a non-smoking Pops is a snacking Pops. We had popcorn and Twizzlers for lunch. Happy Thanksgiving!

Next, actual Thanksgiving happened, and was lovely.

And finally: the Ginger’s birthday! Three costume changes were involved and we hopped all over Lowertown St. Paul: we started out swimming at the Holiday Inn, then a dinner at Kincaid’s (I am not that restaurant’s target audience, but even the vegetarian side dishes were beyond delicious), and then dancing/drinks at Barrio and the Bulldog.  It absolutely destroyed MY last birthday, which was spent sick on my couch with a Die Hard marathon.

Die Hard poster

If I hadn't been sick, it might have been a tie.

A lot of great things have already happened so far in December, but you’ll just have to wait until mid-February or whenever I update this again to find out about that.

“Liquor and nuns”

I may not eat turkey, but I still like Thanksgiving.  First of all, there are so many other things to eat!  And it’s practically National Napping Day, which is a cause I celebrate.  And finally, I’m thankful for so much.  Here are a few things in no particular order:

  • coffee and lefse for breakfast (okay, perhaps these are in an order: the order in which they are in front of my face right now, and order of deliciousness)
  • my brother for the sheer amount of inside jokes and movie quotes that make me laugh and make everyone else wonder what we’re talking about.  “Bread.”
  • my sister-in-law for working Thanksgiving so we can finally, maybe, all get together for Christmas
  • the friends and family who helped me raise $220 for the Walk to End Hunger yesterday!
  • my mom for walking with me, and then asking “how does my walking help end hunger, exactly?” That kind of blind support is love.
  • Muppets.
  • My mom’s official review of the new Muppet movie: “Jason Segel’s mother should be proud!”
  • The ladies who found out I was without Thanksgiving evening plans and said, “Rachel, you should come over! There will be liquor and nuns. We won’t have room for you at the big table but we can set up a kids’ table for you.”
  • Great friends and their excellent families who take in strays at the last minute.  And feed them too much. More mint cake please.
  • My dad for driving through terrible weather last weekend to attend his first-ever Vikings game with me.
  • The Minnesota Vikings for keeping me humble.
  • Naps.
  • Laughter.
  • Beer.
  • God.
  • I told you these are not in any order.
  • The fact that my iTunes just started playing Protozoa’s “Zoom Zoom Zoom” from “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.”  Why do I own that? And how could I forget I own that? Amazing.
  • The fact that I can afford to have iTunes, and coffee and lefse, and access to the internet and clean water and everything so much of the world is without.
  • Hands On Twin Cities for introducing me to some great local causes.
  • Feed My Starving Children – and all the friends and family I’ve made go with me recently
  • Not working in retail on Black Friday.
  • Terrible/amazing action movies, and friends who send emails like this: “Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris are in Expendables 2. Get the f*** in line.”
  • Ten years of friendship with Lacy.  “Weebles Wobble…”
  • Really, just all of my friends who let me be my ridiculous self and seem to like me for it.  I like you, too.
  • And this: “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
    and try to love the questions themselves…
    Don’t search for the answers,
    which could not be given to you now,
    because you would not be able to live them.
    And the point is, to live everything.
    Live the questions now.
    Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
    you will gradually, without even noticing it,
    live your way into the answer.”
    Rainer Maria Rilke

Happy everything to you all.