The Glamorous Life

Lee Ann BrownLet’s Talk Tofurkey

(Warning: This article is not politically correct and may contain offensive material.)

by Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown    


I’ve been busy finding and organizing all of my Thanksgiving recipes. Now I’m starving. I can’t wait to have some of my favorite foods, the ones that I look forward to all year because we only have them for Thanksgiving lunch. Then, with the click of the mouse, the excitement was all taken away. I was Skyping with my daughter, and she reminded me of her recent dietary lifestyle changes. Just how far does one go for the sake of family harmony, especially, at the holidays?

When Daughter Dear came home from college for Spring Break last year, she informed us that she had become a vegetarian. I figured that was her problem, not ours. Surely she could be around our fried chicken and burgers for a week. I mean, I try to be supportive, but as someone who grew up on, and still enjoys, a nice, juicy steak, I just don’t see why we all had to be vegetarian. But then, when she came home for the summer, she informed us that she was now vegan. I wondered if salmon was going to count. I figured I should at least learn the difference between vegetarian and vegan. And then it became our problem. Three months was going to be a long time without pizza.

It turns out that being vegan means not just giving up meat, but also giving up all animal byproducts, such as cheese, which was like asking me to give up my leather boots. Next thing I know I will be asked to give up my furs. Your loyalties can be tested. Does it ever end? It was a long three months of faking it.

At the end of the summer, after we dropped off Darling Daughter at the airport to head back to school, we immediately drove to Ruth’s Chris and ordered a filet, bread with butter, and a piece of chocolate cake for dessert (real chocolate cake—not some fake tofu hybrid). By this time, I even wanted a real cigarette, and I don’t smoke.

My fear this holiday season is that she will come home for Thanksgiving announcing that she is now a fruitarian and will only eat fruit, or, even worse, that she has become a breatharian, and will only live on air. I started to panic. I can’t breathe just thinking about it.

I could just see us now, all sitting around the dining table for the Thanksgiving meal connected to our oxygen tanks. I wonder if oxygen comes in roast turkey flavor? I remember actually seeing oxygen bars when we were in Las Vegas a few months ago. In fact, everyone in Las Vegas is hooked on oxygen. Maybe being a breatharian is the new black. Then it occurred to me that instead of flying the kids all the way home, my husband and I could just fly out there and we all meet halfway in Las Vegas. I feel certain Las Vegas would be the one place to have a Thanksgiving oxygen buffet.

But no! I wanted everyone home to celebrate Thanksgiving. I began to worry about how I would seat everyone at the Thanksgiving table. What about those who refused to live on oxygen? I didn’t want to offend anyone. Would we have to have separate tables for the vegans and the vegetarians, in addition to the kids’ table? And what about the people who will only eat organic food that is grown locally? Surely my apple pie made with apples flown in from Washington State, and real butter, isn’t any more offensive to them than the smell of their organic, local-grown kale is to me? What about separating the Democrats and the Republicans? Should I just put all the difficult people at the Auburn table? Can’t we all just get along? Isn’t food supposed to bring people together? In the historical narrative of breaking bread together, I’m not sure anyone was asking if it was gluten-free.

I finally decided to hell with it. Come Thanksgiving Day, I will be enjoying my traditional meal of a real turkey with all the trimmings and my favorite cakes and pies, and I don’t care if my food traveled farther to get to my table than my kids did. I just want everyone together, thankful to be sitting at the same table. The vegans, vegetarians, carnivores, slow-food, farm-to-table, gourmet foodies, breatharians, and anything else I have never heard of, all enjoying our many blessings and the fact that the we are fortunate enough to be that choosy. And I hope you are enjoying the same.

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