Thanks to greater awareness surrounding these issues, people are more open about their food restrictions than ever before. Right here in my own family, we have a wealth of valid and affirmed dietary needs. My husband, Christopher, is a vegan; my son, Ethan, has a number of allergies; my brother, Jack, is gluten-free; and my sister-in-law, Janine, does not eat red food. As supportive as I try to be, up to and including discounting any of my own preferences and needs, this does make things tricky around the holidays. Preparing a traditional family meal in accordance with everyone’s often conflicting lifestyles can be a challenge, but this year, I am determined to pull it off. If your family is anything like mine, take a look at my menu for some inspo for a Thanksgiving meal that nobody can possibly reject. They can’t. Because if they do, I’ll burn it all down.
Gravy is a real landmine in this home, but no holiday meal would be complete without it. To show consideration for Jack’s gluten intolerance—or possibly sensitivity, I’m still not clear—I will replace the traditional flour base with almond flour. To accommodate Christopher’s heartfelt belief in animal rights, the milk will be swapped out for almond milk. Does this sound like a disgusting nut paste? Yes. Of course, it does. But I’m at the end of my rope here.
Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving essential, but Ethan is (shock of all goddamn shocks) allergic to cranberries, and as Janine helpfully reminded me last year, they are the most red food possible. It was a dreadfully insensitive oversight on my part. I mean, I was pretty sure her thing was still brown foods, but how could I forget that she read an article about the harmful toxins in natural red colors in April? I swear, I read her e-newsletter, and you can’t prove that I didn’t. So this year, I’m simply substituting blueberries and praying she doesn’t read something about the spiritual toxicity of the color blue. I’m almost positive blueberries are not one of the many, many members of the berry family that could kill Ethan, but honestly, I stopped keeping track years ago, so I guess we’ll fucking see.
Just a big bowl of boiled potatoes. No butter, no milk, and no salt, because surely “low-sodium” will be up next on the dietary preference wheel. Eat them. Fucking eat them.
And of course, the biggest challenge of all: The turkey. It obviously can’t be a real turkey. It can’t be a tofurkey, since Ethan had to go and be allergic to soy. I swear, if I’d known what a hassle this would be, I’d have picked a higher quality, non-smoking surrogate. But I can’t do anything about that now, so you know what you assholes get? A big lump of rice roughly shaped into a turkey. Are you happy now? I mean, I don’t know what else to do. Rice is, like, the one thing that’s digestible and inoffensive to everyone on the planet, right? Not red rice, heavens, no. Just a big, sad, sticky lump of plain white rice. You’ll be lucky if I even put that much effort into making it look at all turkey-like. I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t have the will for more than a few drumsticks, I sincerely wouldn’t. Happy fucking Thanksgiving, everyone. Shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, and be thankful for rice because it’s the only thing keeping my psyche and this meal from falling completely apart.
… shit, does rice have gluten?