Behold, a Thanksgiving Feast (and a Disgusting Story)

Our Thanksgiving dinner was absolutely wonderful – there were calories and calories of delicious dishes, all of which we got to experience in leftover format for the next couple of days as well.

I was a bit nervous about the fake turkey product I would buy, never having had anything like that before, and about the cheesy casserole and the tofu-ified pumpkin pie.  Could these veganized versions of Thanksgiving classics actually work out? Believe it or not, they did!

I did not wind up buying an actual Tofurkey because the only ones available all came with the “feast” included (potatoes, stuffing, gravy, etc.) and cost an arm and a leg.  Since we were making all of the other feast components ourselves, that clearly wasn’t the way to go.  Instead I bought a “Celebration Roast” from the Field Roast company — they make my favorite veggie sausages, so I was confident it would be fine.

The roast itself looked a bit like a giant corn on the cob, but I would not recommend spearing it with corn skewers and going at it.

A miracle of science.

A miracle of science.

It tasted more like ham than turkey, and was stuffed with a rich, sausage-like filling, a bit like a roulade. Heh. Stuffed with sausage. Heh heh.

Clarabella also wanted to attempt to veganize her grandmother’s traditional Thanksgiving casserole, a creamy, cheesy affair with crushed Cheese-It topping straight out of the classic 1950s American casserole tradition. A lot could go wrong here: there was a lot of dairy to replace (cream of celery soup, sour cream, shredded cheddar, the Cheese-Its, and, of course, butter) and the prospect of messing with a family favorite recipe seemed daunting.  Nonetheless, we decided it could be done.  We concocted the fake cream of celery soup, C got the seasoning just right, and the fake dairy products all worked out well.

A 1950s casserole meets contemporary fake cheese technology.

A 1950s casserole meets contemporary fake cheese technology.

(That’s Cheese-Its on one side and Wheat Thins on the other.)

Let me tell you, I don’t even need to taste the original because our fake version was already eye-rollingly delicious.  And while it’s not what I’d call health food by any stretch, substituting the fake dairy products really lowers the calories in a thing like this. It is pretty much made of win.

We also had a gorgeous salad made by Philly:

Do you see that fresh dill? Do you?

Do you see that fresh dill? Do you?

And the butternut squash soup I made and brought with me:

Butternut squash soup.

Butternut squash soup.

So, if you should worry that we were gorging ourselves on fake meat and cheesy casseroles, you are only half right.  There were plenty of healthy vegetables to be had as well. We also had some great herbed fingerling potatoes and baked sweet potatoes (I love potatoes in any form, and am exceedingly happy to have various potato options at dinner!), cranberry sauce, and a refreshing citrus and ginger kale dish.

Here’s the whole table:

The table, laden with deliciousness.

The table, laden with deliciousness.

You can spot the plate of turkey, dressing, and gravy here, too, which Clarabella and Philly had. We had a perfect combination of vegan-friendly and omnivore-friendly dishes, so everyone was happy.  It was honestly one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I have ever had — we had no need to be worried about those new, experimental recipes.

Even the veganized pumpkin pie (made with silken tofu as the binder) was delicious:

Pumpkin Piiiiiie

Pumpkin Piiiiiie

This isn’t a great photo of the pie, but for some reason it’s the best one I have. Anyway, it was perfect.

We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend of lounging around, watching TV and movies and even some football (unfortunately both Wordsmith U. and Clarabella & Philly’s school lost the big games — boo to that), and snacking on leftovers.

Saturday night we hit their small hamlet’s local watering hole for some cocktails and conversation with Ruby, Luvinstu, and others.  It was a great night — but I have to finish telling you the story of the Hallway Puke! When I posted that, it was 11:55 PM and I had to get something in under the wire for silly NaBloPoMo, so I wasn’t able to tell the whole story in time.

If you’re in the mood to read about someone getting sick just after you’ve looked at pretty food pictures, then read on.  If not, um, don’t.

So, at the local bar, I had gone to use the restroom, a one-person affair that locks completely.  When I was done, I started to step out of the room and was accosted by a girl waiting in the hall.

“Watch your step,” she warned me, gesturing at the floor.  I looked down to see the hallway floor in a State. A State in which it had not been when I had entered the bathroom a few moments before. In case I’m not being clear, the State it was in was Covered in Vomit.

“I just waited here to tell you to look out,” she said, and then made her way into the bathroom I had just vacated.

Eventually, she told the bartender about the State of the Hallway, and the bartender got someone set cleaning it up.  No one appreciates such a task, of course, and the bartender, the dude who had to clean up, and all the female patrons of the bar (who were prevented from accessing the bathroom during Operation Bleach), were grousing around about “Who puked?” and “I am going to find out who did this!”

I was, of course, the only eye witness.  I assumed the puker had gone home (as anyone should, at that point), but when I was trying to describe her to my friends, I spotted her at the bar! She was sitting up there drinking another drink! The hell? Apparently she had just played it off like it never happened and hung around to continue getting drunk.  After all, I guess, she had just vomited up a good portion of the alcohol she’d purchased and so had to replace it with new supply.  But seriously, who does that?

Is there a lesson to be learned from this situation? If there is, I suppose it’s that at Thanksgiving, overindulgence is the mandate.


  1. What did you use for the pretty garnish on the soup?

    And doesn’t Philly make the most beautiful and delicious salads? I thought mine were good, but his bring the awesome.

    That celebration roast looks pretty good, too. Does it make good leftover sandwiches?

    On the night at the bar, I ran into the owner and was chatting with him about said puking incident, which he cleaned up with copious amounts of bleach. He was furious, mainly because the cleaning interrupted his dinner. Yay. Also, we got to talking, he showed me around the kitchen, talked some more, etc… and I may have gotten a side job making pie for the restaurant. Super yay!

    I’m really sorry I disappeared, but we were talking about recipes and cookbooks and his new dinner menu, and how much my grandmother loved one of his recipes from when he was open years ago and still talks about it, one thing led to another, etc., etc., Luvinstu tells him how awesome my apple pie recipe, and I have a job.

    So, we’ll see what happens. I love pie.


  2. Ginger…kale? That sounds intriguing! Also, what did you do about the dairy? I’ve always wondered how things that are dairy heavy get veganized.


  3. wow, y’alls dinner looks fab! glad to hear everything came out yummy.

    the answer to the question “who does that?” is: college students (generally). there’s actually a term for it. it’s called the victory vomit. i have never done this myself because it is horrifying, but i guess you drink too much, feel bad, yak, and then go back to it cause you now feel better from yakking. gross.


  4. In Australia (or at least in our circle) it’s called a ‘tactical chunder’. Usually occurs when you’re having a wonderful time but forget to eat while you’re out drinking (or don’t have time, as everyone else is too busy to eat or planned their evening better than you) and rather than leave at an unsightly early hour, you continue. I have actually been known to do this, sadly.


  5. Not to contradict anyone, but if the warning girl actually did the puking, she was NO college student. But who knows what her story was.
    The heavy dairy of that casserole, my grandmother’s, was replaced by soy products: tofutti sour cream, rice-based shredded cheddar cheese and our self-made cream of celery soup: soy milk, flour, tiny bit of oil, sauteed onion & celery & secret spices. Turned out tremendous!
    Vague–miss you already!


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