Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving post mortem

Thanksgiving is not an even remotely vegan affair for my family.  Which is fine, since I'm not even vegetarian.  Amazingly, though, besides the turkey, the star of our Thanksgiving dinner is the consolation prize I always made back when I was vegetarian, and have continued making ever since.  Matar paneer (homemade cheese cooked with tomatoes and peas) has become a family tradition, to the point that my cousins who weren't able to come this year asked for my recipe (for the record, I use Julie Sahni's, with a few alterations borrowed from Lord Krishna).  Searching the vegan blogosphere, by the way, I find that most people seem to have success subbing tofu for the cheese, or you can try this vegan paneer recipe, whose quality I can't vouch for.

This is all an aside before getting to Friday night, when Iv and I were over at my aunt's house with a number of other relatives, and I noticed that my aunt owns both the Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance.  So my aunt and I spent much of the evening discussing vegan cooking over a plate of my uncle's unbelievably melt-in-your-mouth ribs.

Vegan readers may see my description of this as smirking irony at best and outright offensive at worst, but I'd call this progress.  The fact of the matter is that I do not agree with the idea that eating animals, much less drinking milk or eating honey, is immoral (though this article should give us all pause).  But what my aunt and I do agree on is that eating less of these things -- whether for health, solving world hunger, environmental or humane reasons, or just for fun and variety -- is a good and necessary thing.

So, I think vegans and vegetarians alike should be encouraged that even though not many of us omnivores are considering giving up animal products, some of us are taking your arguments and your cooking seriously.  And whether those conversations are taking place over a conversation of ribs or ribz, I think that's a good thing.

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