Ask Astrid, Astrid

Ask Astrid: Can I Have A Thanksgiving Dinner Without Turkey?

Dear Astrid,

I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time at my house this year.  I’m really excited about it, but I’m also nervous.  The main thing stressing me out is that I’m vegetarian and I plan on serving a vegetarian dinner.  I realize a lot of people will be looking forward to a big turkey on the table but I just can’t bring myself to prepare something I’m against eating.  How do I keep my guests from being disappointed about the lack of a Thanksgiving turkey?


Tofu, Not Turkey

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Dear Tofu, Not Turkey,

The holiday season can be a tricky time of year for people with any sort of restrictive diet, whether hosting or just being a guest!  There’s so many traditional holiday foods that can be problematic for people for a variety of reasons.  It’s true that you will probably encounter some people that are disappointed without a turkey.  If you think there’s anyone that might put up too much of a stink about it, consider contacting them beforehand to let them know.  This gives them a chance to make other plans if it’s really that big of a deal to them, or come up with alternative food options.  If you’re not opposed to others eating meat in your presence, you could also have a meat-eating friend or relative prepare and bring the turkey to your dinner.  It’s totally understandable if you don’t want to go with that option though.

My main advice would just be to cook a lot of really yummy, hearty food that won’t have them missing the turkey!  Turkey is just one aspect of the Thanksgiving dinner that people enjoy – if you still have other staples like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie a lot of people probably won’t feel like they’re missing out.  Look for other vegetarian versions of comfort foods to add to your menu to help people forget about the bird.  Also remember, when hosting a big party it’s nearly impossible to keep everyone happy.  There’ll almost always be at least one nitpicky person who finds something to complain about.  Do your best to keep your guests happy and well fed, but don’t feel like you failed if you hear any small mumblings.  If you cook the meal with love your guests will notice and love it too.  Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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