It’s easy to spend time being grumpy about folks not understanding why I’m a vegetarian or gluten-free. But this Thanksgiving, when I’m eleventy-thousand milemeters from home,* I’m realizing how great my friends and family are— and how lucky I am.
So here is a shoutout to my awesome friends and family who are cheerfully creative and wonderfully accommodating in the kitchen.
My folks, who have both baked gluten-free with me: my mom in going with me to both Zingerman’s gluten-free baking classes and Cacao Tree’s raw food preparation classes; and my dad, in adapting a favorite family dessert, pudding cake, into a gluten free version.
My brother, who was happy to go to a raw, gluten-free vegan brunch for my birthday, and has always been eager to try new foods. Especially when those foods are delicious, like miso butter.
For my both my aunts: one, who said, “Oh boy! New kinds of gravy?” when she heard about my diet restriction; and one who made sure there was gluten-free stuffing on the table for me last Thanksgiving.
To my grandmothers on both sides: one, who instilled in me, as a child, a love of fresh vegetables from her garden, as well as introducing me to my first vegetarian cookbook (Recipes For a Small Planet); one who made sure to get gluten-free crust for her homemade veggie pizza, and has always made sure there was a vegetarian choice on the dinner table for me.
For my cousin, who has given me gifts of delicious, homemade (vegetarian!) vegetable soup over the years, and has introduced me to the Crow’s Nest in Kalamazoo, with the best carrot cake ever.
For family friends, who love gardening and introduced me to how tasty eggplant can be.
You’re all awesome, and I’m sorry I can’t sit around the table with you all this year.
*This might be just a rough estimate. It is hard to convert milemeters to kilofeet.