Tofurky for 1

As a vegetarian, Thanksgiving, is more about being with my family than eating food stuffed in other foods. I usually end up resentfully eating the side dishes-mashed potatoes, green beans and mustard greens (if not prepared with swine). This year, when I saw Tofurky on sale ($6.49 down from $12.99!) I decided to get in the spirit and treat myself to a Thanksgiving meal fit for a vegetarian.

Miraculously, on Wednesday night, my sister invited me to accompany her to her boyfriend’s family celebration in Norfolk, Virginia. I am so happy I went because I had a ball! Everyone was welcoming and kind. The Madyun’s made me feel right at home-putting me to work doing dishes and translating when the Spanish speaking couple had their lover’s spats.

My favorite part was when everyone held hands and we all shared what we were thankful for–there were a lot of tears and laughter. My second favorite part was the pleasant surprise of a vegan chef! There were “traditional” courses that catered to the carnivores and then there was a section for the vegetarians, complete with: fried soy fish, “turkey” stew, vegan stuffing, greens and potato salad. I had a real plate! A delicious filling meal just like everyone else!

The day after Thanksgiving, I thought, since I still had my Tofurky, why not keep the party going? I had just had one stupendous Thanksgiving experience. Initially, I didn’t intend to do all the extra stuff recommended on the box. You know, adding vegetables and including a basting sauce, but I guess the spirit moved me because I made a big production out of it. Here is how it all went down…

First, I cut up potatoes and one onion to complement the roast.

Then I made a basting sauce,

from the following ingredients:

I basted my roast…

And baked according to the boxes directions.

Here is how the cooked product turned out. From the side…


and on the inside…

It looked and smelled delicious out of the oven. My taste-buds, however, were ultimately disappointed. The package says: “Gourmet, meatless and delicious.” As I was certain that the third point was completely false, I questioned the first. The consistency doesn’t compare to brands like Quorn or Gardein (one of Oprah’s favorites). Tofurky was a little to “wheat glutenny” for me-I don’t know how to explain that to the non-vegetarians because I think the only thing that tastes like wheat gluten is wheat gluten.

I made a sincere effort to finish my plate (I had spent $6.49 plus tax!). The dressing was not so bad, although I ABHOR stuffing with rice (why would anyone add rice to stuffing?!). In a desperate attempt, and even at the risk of setting the race back, I added bar-b-q sauce. When that didn’t work, I tried hot sauce. Finally, I surrendered and let the food bio-degrade on my lawn. The next day, the remains of my roast were in tact–even the ants didn’t want it! (Just kidding.)

One thing I am thankful for is that there are plenty of vegetarian food options that are delicious and nutritious. Plenty of which can be found in Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen cook book.

Another thing I’m thankful for is having a little sister who makes me want to come home every chance I get. How could you not miss someone like this…

Kathryn Buford

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