It starts with a call from the host, “What can I make you?” and the response: “Just don’t even try. I’ll bring a salad or something.” Once arriving with a meat substitute brings about routine stares and the inevitable “What’s…that?” as family observes the comparably barren plate.

Grandma’s a nervous wreck and won’t stop asking, “What are you gonna eat? You need to eat more! Take another roll. And another one. And another one. You’ve hardly eaten anything at all. Green beans aren’t a meal. You need to get some meat on those bones.”

Thanksgiving used to be a feast but it has been whittled down into a search for side dishes that aren’t littered with bacon. Brussel sprouts make your heart race until you take a spoonful and bacon sprinkles onto your plate, tarnishing all hopes and dreams.

If you’re a vegan this search includes butter and cheese as well. The delicacy that is cheesy potatoes are fresh in your memory but now you must sit there and watch as everyone else shovels it down their throat. Tragic.

Family tries as hard as they can to be polite. “Turkey” has become a swear word around you and everyone polices the food because they have 100% done all their research. “Would you like some noodles?” “NOOOOO SHE CAN’T HAVE THE NOODLES, I PUT BUTTER ON THEM!”

It’s life and death, man, life and death.

Then there’s dessert. Oh dessert. Once a promise land of whipped cream and joy. Vegetarians still bask in the light that is pie. It’s one of the most plentiful arrays in the entire holiday for Thanksgiving. But not for vegans. As the pies roll in the room is silent and sad. Family looks at you like a lost puppy. A lost puppy without pies.

We dream of better times with more options, but until then we much upon green beans and sweet potatoes. With proper preparation, the sides can be the promise land. Who needs turkey?

You can take your turkey and stuff it! But, I guess you were going to do that anyways.

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