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ENTERTAINING: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Guests

According to a 2009 Vegetarian Resource Group/Harris Interactive survey, about 3% of the U.S. adult population is vegetarian. If you’ve invited a vegetarian to enjoy your turkey dinner, plan ahead with these tips from nutrition expert Gary Null.

  • If you don’t know if certain guests eat meat and other animal products, phone or email ahead of time. Then you can plan to have a main-course option to offer, such as a Tofurky (a tofu turkey) or our favorite, the Celebration Roast from Field Roast Grain Meat Company, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. (By the way, this also works for guests who may have food allergies or medical restrictions, such as low cholesterol/no butter.)
  • In fact, most vegetarians do not expect the host to make special accommodations. They may even offer to bring a vegetarian dish that they and others can enjoy. But providing a few things they can eat (crudités before dinner, potatoes and other sides made without butter, for example) will make for a better experience. Don’t hesitate to discuss options with them.

A vegetarian does not eat any type of animal flesh, whether from fish, fowl or other animals, although some individuals choose to eat dairy and/or egg products. This includes lard, chicken and beef stock and some prepared salad dressings.

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With the vegan Celebration Roast, you still
get leftovers for sandwiches the next day. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) eats no animal-derived products, including honey, gelatin (used in desserts and marshmallows) and red food dyes derived from cochineal. If there is an animal-derived ingredient in a dish, no matter how small the amount, be certain to let your guest know.

Most importantly, the Thanksgiving dinner table is not the time to discuss why someone is a vegetarian. Some choose this diet for ethical or animal rights reasons. Others may be motivated by religious, environmental and/or health considerations. Some simply don’t like meat. If you really want to know why your guest has made this choice, ask another day—and if anyone else brings up the topic, steer the conversation to reasons everyone should be thankful!

 




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