Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vegan for the Holidays

Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip cookies for St. Nicholas
My husband's students are worried that because I'm vegan my son will not have warm Christmas memories of cookies and treats. Well, this year no because we don't give him sugar, but for the last three years, Santa has enjoyed the vegan cookies we leave for him. Nicky has many years of delicious Christmas cookies to look forward to. It is different having a vegan holiday, especially for Thanksgiving. These are the times I am most tempted to throw aside the Tofurkey and enjoy an animal-based dinner. I have my little mantra I say to myself that keeps me in check, and I smile as I enjoy a delicious vegan food.
This year for Christmas Eve dinner, I decided to make for myself vegan Polish sausage and pirogi. At first I was very excited until I realized I would be the only one enjoying them. My husband claims he wants some, but we'll see how well the crab distracts him. Even my son will be having crab with the rest of the family. The holidays are supposed to be about bringing people together. This has been achieved throughout history with food. Each country that celebrates Christmas has their own traditional Christmas foods. Being from San Francisco, it was Dungeness Crab for our family. By intentionally refusing to participate in the foods of Christmas, I am choosing to separate myself from everyone else during a celebration. Desserts are usually vegan at the holidays because that's easy to accomplish and no one notices, so I can fully participate in dessert. For dinner, however, I end up feeling alone even though I'm surrounded by people who love me. At Thanksgiving this year, I was severely let down by my Tofurkey. In retrospect, I should have just made it myself instead of buying it frozen. Never doing that again. I also was too busy and forgot to put it in the oven on time. I ate my mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and green beans but had to have the "main course" after everyone had finished and was cleaning up. My son was even too full from potatoes, bread, and green beans to have any. When I did eat it, it tasted pretty bad. On the flipside, I didn't want turkey. I never really liked it anyways. I always found it dry and tasteless. What was I to do? I guess nothing really. Omit the "main dish" all together? What kind of celebration would that have been?
I really enjoy baking. This weekend, I made chocolate mint chocolate chip cookies for St. Nicholas. I normally bake desserts that are healthful so my husband can enjoy them without guilt, but these were for St. Nicholas. I couldn't not put sugar and butter in them. For our Christmas party every year, I bake three batches of cookies which last for days even after my friends devour half of them. Around here, I am the queen of desserts. No one ever complains about my desserts, even when full of healthful substitutions. That's probably why I enjoy baking so much. As I say, you put enough sugar in something and no one can tell it's vegan. I have plenty of friends who can attest to this. 
I guess once we move away, I won't have to worry about this anymore because we will be on our own for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We'll have vegan Polish sausage and pirogi for Christmas and homemade turkey roast for Thanksgiving. When my family and I are in our own home eating our own food, eating vegan feels normal, and I have no doubts. Things do become a bit sticky when at other people's homes or out to eat. Eating vegan can feel like a celebration because it is a lot of work when making things from scratch as I do. Even as a vegan, how can my seitan roast compete with a turkey, or my bean sausage with fresh crab? Even when surrounded by temptation, I know abandoning my vegan ways will not make me any happier, even if I would fit in better. I guess I just would like to meet one other person who is like me: Catholic and vegan.

No comments:

Post a Comment