Thursday, November 15, 2007

Is Thanksgiving About the Side Dishes?

The N.Y. Times' Melissa Clark seems to think so. In today's edition of the newspaper, she writes:
From an omnivore’s perspective, Thanksgiving should be a vegetarian’s feast. After all, aren’t the side dishes usually the best part of the meal?

But talk to vegetarians and the laments loom large. There’s bacon in the brussels sprouts . . .
How else would you get anyone to eat brussels sprouts? But I digress.
. . . gravy on the mashed potatoes, dressing stuffed into the bird and chicken stock in everything else. If they’re lucky, that leaves a dinner of sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce and maybe some green beans.

The worst thing, though, isn’t the food so much as the feeling of alienation from the rest of a shared meal.

“Everyone else loved it the year my cousin Laura discovered chorizo and added it to everything, but for me it was a low and lonely point,” said my friend Zoe Singer, a food writer and former vegetarian.
I think it's reasonable that vegetarians who sit down at a family meal have at least one or two side dishes that fit their diet. But I doubt that Zoe's cousin literally "added [chorizo] to everything" -- it may have seemed that way to a frustrated vegetarian.

A vegetarian who expects most of the side dishes on the Thanksgiving table to be completely meatless has unreasonable expectations.

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