What’s the Word? Wednesday! is back, and festive as all-get-out. That’s right folks, this Wednesday H is for Holiday Food.
I know what you are thinking but the answer is no, I didn’t plan this all year. In actuality I was just lazy and fell off a regular posting schedule, just so we are clear. I even hummed and hawed over the letter ‘H’ and when it came down to it I figured I would shed some light on what vegetarians eat at holiday dinners. ‘Tis the season!
Real talk, holidays are tough on new vegetarians and vegans (and sometimes their families) at this time of year. Most of my memories of Christmas traditions are food traditions. Making doughnuts, pies and doing Christmas baking with my Mom are some of my fondest holiday memories. Therefore I wanted to write a bit of a support post to hopefully inspire or help you cope with the holiday.
I have a Vegetarian coming to dinner for the Holidays, HELP what do I do?
Take a deep breath, all kinds of people have food restrictions, some medical, some religious and some by moral choice. First tip, please don’t treat someone with a diet restriction like a plague upon your household, if you’ve invited them, you own some responsibility to their meal. I’m not saying you have to slave away in the kitchen to prepare something completely different. We (diet restricted people) do not/should not expect that. I can account that there has never been a time in my life as a vegetarian, I expected anything fancy, but I do hope that A) there is something for me to eat and B) that the food that is being presented to me, is actually vegetarian/vegan.
If your guest is vegetarian, make sure the food you are offering does not include meat or seafood based ingredients like vegetables cooked with the turkey or mashed potatoes made with chicken stock. Condiments are tricky, worcestershire sauce has fish in it as does ceasar dressing so if in doubt read the label or ask your friend, or if all else fails leave it out of the recipe. Desserts are unassuming and can also be scary for vegetarians, is your pie crust made with lard or shortening? Did you use marshmallows, yoghurts/ jams/jello with gelatine, all have animal products.
If your guest is vegan then you cannot include any animal products, no butter, no cheese, no eggs and no honey along with the above.
If you want to make something special for your guest, just ask! First off, do you know this person or at least what they like to eat? It’s good practice to always make sure if you are cooking for someone there are no allergies or intolerances.
I am a Vegetarian/Vegan and am going to a new person’s house for dinner on the Holidays, HELP what do I do?
If the host or hostess does not have an aversion (religious or otherwise) to alcohol, for the love of all that is holy, bring some as a gift. You were invited to a dinner – be gracious. If you have a lot of food restrictions or you just want to be helpful, bring something to add to the dinner. Appetizers or desserts are sometimes more welcome if you feel like you might be stepping on peoples toes. A lot of omnivores don’t know what to feed you as a centerpiece when you remove the meat from the equation, so fill in the blanks.
Make your best dish (something you know is delicious and you have made before). Make sure there are no allergies so you don’t bring something with nuts to a no-nuts party. Always bring more than you think you need, there are a lot of curious people in the world, but good food is good food, you may create some admirers.
I am spending Christmas alone this year, HELP what do I do?
You may be away from your family and friends due to work or life obligations but you should still have a good time. Planning is definitely key to a stress-free and enjoyable Christmas for everyone, especially if you are spending it alone.
I always went the non-Christmas/anti-traditional route and when I lived in Florida I laid on the beach and then went out for sushi later. It was a great Christmas, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t stressed, I made a good memory of my Christmas away from home.
If you are homesick, make sure you have the opportunity to have a phone or skype date. Continue the traditions you enjoy the most, it’s your day to make special. Or do what I did and turn Christmas on it’s head. Make something new, eat really good food, watch corny movies, catch up on your beauty sleep and ‘me time’. Take a long bath, give yourself a spa day, do what makes you happy and don’t feel one ounce of guilt!
Inspiration for a New take on the Traditional.
- Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole by Vegan Yum Yum V
- Mushroom Gravy V
- Turkey Seitan Roll V
- Sage and Potato Stuffing V
- Two Potato Mash V
- Ginger and Citrus Cranberry Sauce by Beard and Bonnet V
- Voluptuous Pumpkin Pie by The PPK V
Not in the mood for the traditional? Here are some alternatives to traditional Holiday recipes:
- Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagne by Martha Stewart
- Mushroom Hot Pot by The PPK
- Spanokopita by Closet Cooking
- Vegetable Napoleon with Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Tomato Basil Bisque by Robert Irvine c/o The Food Network
- Vegetarian Moussaka by Jaimie Oliver
Hope that helps and Happy Holiday eating!