Having never celebrated Thanksgiving, because it ain’t a thing in the UK, I had a little look at what it’s all about. Call me a cynical old bat if you must, but I was unsatisfied with the simple and sanitised looking stories of European Pilgrims and Native American Indians sharing a peaceful meal. And it turns out that there are other aspects of this story to take into account which I would never have thought about had I not searched for more information; how the world changed for the Native Americans after the arrival of the Europeans and how novel diseases which wiped out masses of Native people for example. Real truths are often a little less palatable, but by questioning and reading about other perspectives it’s possible to approach things in a more considered and compassionate way.
So, what the flipping heck has this got to do with veganism you ask!
It’s about thinking that one step deeper than accepting what is presented to you, be that in the media, on your plate or even what the majority assume to be true and right. Apply this to your typical thanks giving dish. Dig a bit deeper and you discover the truth – not only the suffering involved in animal production for food, but how beautiful and intelligent turkeys are as a species. They want to live and avoid suffering and will certainly not be giving thanks for the premature ending of their lives.
Just look at these beautiful little guys rescued from death and now basking in the sun for the first time!
As a vegan and you can use Thanksgiving as a chance give thanks to yourself for acting on the compassion that humans naturally have. By pairing your belief, that causing cruelty to others is wrong, with your behaviour, by not accepting theirs offering and use as a means of celebration, you can have deep gratitude for being kind.
So guess what? I have just the menu to satisfy the beautiful compassionate person in every one of us! I was not going to insult anyone by pretending to know what a vegan thanksgiving would involve (although I’d love to know so do leave me a comment!) but here is my tribute to American style food. All delicious, all cruelty free and every bit of it sure to invite thanks from any tummy! These dishes were originally prepared for my other half’s birthday with a 50s style, Elivs Hawaii theme (his choice) but I thought it a good spread for any celebratory buffet! Many items were shop bought as I wanted some time to party! But this just gives an idea of what you can put together quickly and easily.
All American buffet ideas
Using granose burger mix, or similar, form mini burger patties. Create the burger buns from full sized buns by using a cookie cutter to sqidge out mini buns. It sounds lazy but getting pre sliced buns is a good idea as a time saver! Cook and construct as you would any burger with small slices of vegan cheese, sliced cherry tomato, sliced gurkin, lettuce, onion, tomato sauce and American style mustard of course! Secure with a cocktail stick as these little beasts start to tower after about the third layer!
So simple – vegan hotdogs, hotdog rolls, fried onions, tomato sauce and mustard. Assemble and chop into three or four to make handy bite sized dogs perfect for a buffet. Again, pre cut buns make life easier.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil or vegan margarine in a pan until hot – add a layer of corn kernels and get that lid on quick! Stop when there is a decent pause between pops and keep shaking the pan to avoid sticking and burning. Do as many batches as your guest require. Add melted coconut oil and a brown sugar and cinnamon mix to taste.
Buy either vegan chicken burgers or schnitzels, cook and cut into strips! Couldn’t be simpler! Best served warm. I’d recommend using Fry’s schnitzels which you can get in Holland and Barrett in the UK.
Onion rings and curly fries
Frozen, shop bought onion rings and curly fries are often vegan. Heat through and serve in cute baskets! Why not have some classic American French fries too?!
Using Jusrol’s pizza pack, you can save time and still choose what goes on your pizza. To match the Hawaii theme I prepared pineapple and “ham” pizza using Vbite’s gammon roast and then a classic pepperoni with their chorizo chunks. Making a sheet allows you to cut this into finger food sized pieces. I know pizza is Italian but I was thinking New York Italian!
Southern style salad
A good dose of fresh food is needed and comes in the form of this delicious salad. This is a South Western America inspired dish.In a big bowl mix sweet corn, tomato, black beans, avocado chunks and spring onions. Coat all this delicious goodness in a dressing made up of:
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 1 tsp cider or sherry vinegar
- juice and zest of 2 limes
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of tabasco sauce
Hot and zingy!
Use this very simple banana bread recipe, but split the batter into muffin cases. Make this peanut butter icing, using vegan suitable margarine and milk. This rich and delicious cup cake will top off the buffet and possibly finish some people off! A huge sugar hit with vegan sprinkles from Sainsburys.