“This year is my first Thanksgiving as a vegan, as well as my first on the West Coast. All my family lives in Florida (where I used to!) and I’m way too broke to get back there just for stuffing my face and getting drunk with grandma this year, but I wanted to still be able to do the all-day cooking/kitchen drinking that I love so much about the holiday. But what’s a vegan-friendless person such as myself to do on Thanksgiving when 3,000 miles from home? The answer ISN’T cry into a cup of spiked cider! Luckily for me I found out that a Berkeley Student Co-op (Cloyne Court to be precise) was hosting a feast on the infamous day, and anyone who knows co-ops knows they need as much help as they can get. The BSCs are super-accommodating when it comes to dietary preference, but that still doesn’t guarantee a beautiful feast-sized vegan spread of gut-busting proportions. That’s where I come in, to represent in the kitchen for all who want an animal-protein-free food orgy!
I had never even visited Cloyne Court before (have you? It’s an experience) and was really happy to find its kitchen filled with very nice and open would-be chefs (and already tipsy! my kind of people). They had already planned for the stuffing, roasted acorn squash, mashed potatoes—although they got nervous when I suggested we use olive oil instead of earth balance, à la The PPK recipeand from that point on there were vegan and nonvegan mashed potatoes available—mac n’ “cheese,” and squash soup, and a few other would-be accidentivegan dishes. The acorn squash was my baby (nine whole gourds! for a total of 36 portions!) and was as simple as splitting, goop removal, coating with olive oil, rubbing with curry powder, popping into the oven, and forgetting about as the communal bottle of “cooking wine” was passed around the kitchen. Ahhhh the co-op life, amirite? The mashed potatoes were quite a task. I wish I had gotten a photo of us taking turns plunging a giant rolling pin into 10+ pounds of cooked potatoes, all butter-churning style. It was more than enough mash for a baby to drown in, maybe two babies. Everything came out great, I was certainly stuffed and heard positive reviews for the vegan dishes abound, even from the omnivores.”
That is an EPIC Thanksgiving story! And the plate? Clockwise from the top: “Mac n’ “cheese” (the recipe for which I never actually got, but it was awesome and had no processed cheese replacement); roasted acorn squash filled with squash soup; mashed spuds with vegan gravy; whole cranberry sauce; stuffing; and mixed green salad with carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, craisins, and a vinaigrette.”
Any genius who puts squash soup in a roast acorn squash is a genius we want to befriend, really for real. Happy Thanksgiving, Jon!