Don’t Fear the Tofurky!


Until going vegan two years ago, I never considered the lives of the animals I ate. I think this is how it is for most of us who grow up eating meat. It’s what we learned to do and we don’t question it.

That’s why when I first went vegan I questioned other people about why they ate meat. This didn’t go well. So now I simply feed people great vegan food and let them ask me about my lifestyle if they wish. No guilt, no pressure, just yummy food. This doesn’t always get people interested in veganism either, but it’s more successful than challenging others.

A problem with this approach, however; is that people fear vegan food. They assume it’s bland and are afraid to try it. That’s why I was excited that some of my omnivore friends and family agreed to come to my vegan Thanksgiving. I could show them just how delicious vegan food can be.

After Thanksgiving, I asked my husband’s buddy, Kevin, to share his thoughts on his first vegan holiday. I expected a sentence or two, but Kevin’s a writer, so he wrote a story instead. Vegans be warned, this is NOT something a vegan would write!

If you like Kevin’s writing, check out his comedy short story blog. Be sure to read his hilarious Sept. 19 post, When the Giant Chickens Came. Kevin may not realize it, but with the genetic engineering and hormones we’re feeding chickens his story may not be fiction for long!

One last note – I did not serve Tofurky for Thanksgiving nor have I ever even tried the stuff. I just picked the title because it was fun.

Don’t Fear the Tofurky! by Kevin Michael West

I attended the vegan Thanksgiving with great trepidation.  Even a single day without meat seemed beyond comprehension, like someone enjoying Robin Williams’ new sitcom.  I guess my meat-eating is a response to my caveman ancestry.  I often feel like a caveman, and have been known to paint on walls.  (My boorish landlord calls it “vandalism.”)

The drive down to Paul and Celeste’s was a long one and the notion of a meat free Thanksgiving began to weigh on me with each passing mile.  “Meat Free Thanksgiving” felt like a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron like “plastic silverware” or “jumbo shrimp” or “compassionate conservative.”  Man, I really like shrimp, I thought to myself, fish being meat and all.

So consumed was I with my desire for meat that I found myself scanning the freeway in the hopes that some small woodland creature might cross my path, that I might run it over and feast upon its flesh.  In my fevered state, I imagined myself standing by my parked car on the side of the freeway, hood up, cooking the fresh roadkill on my hot engine block.   Alas, no such animals came into view and I arrived at Paul and Celeste’s with an empty stomach and a clean conscience.  I probably wouldn’t have run over any animals anyway, as the car had been recently washed, and with the Prius hybrid engine a sorry substitute for an oven.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the vegan food was quite good.  I dug in with my plastic silverware and found the experience to be quite delicious.  The tofu chocolate cake was sublime, as was the company.  Afterwards, we watched a film I made (starring Celeste’s husband Paul).  Then we all enjoyed a raucous game of “Balderdash,” reveling in the humorously incongruous conceptual juxtapositions and ribald double entendres.

On the way home, I decided to cancel my plans to visit the McDonalds drive-thru.  It was getting late anyway.

Photo Credit

The photo above is courtesy of the Cadry’s Kitchen post, 12 Tips for Surviving your First Vegan Thanksgiving. I recommend checking this post out. The tips are great for helping vegans manage not just Thanksgiving, but any non-vegan gathering.

About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
This entry was posted in Animal Welfare, Daily Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Don’t Fear the Tofurky!

  1. Dima says:

    I don’t find his story fun at all but rather cruel and selfish. Meat eaters are often stubborn of the idea that meat is ‘the thing’ that keeps our energy wheel moving. I stopped trying to educate people. You have to have a good level of awareness to change not just your eating habits but view on life too.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I hear where you’re coming from. My attitude is that Kevin, a hard core omnivore, ate a vegan Thanksgiving and liked it. It may not have convinced him to go vegan, but it opened him to the possibility. At least he realizes that he can enjoy a meal without meat. Have a great week! Celeste 🙂

  2. Celeste's Hubby says:

    I found Kevin’s story conceptually incongruous and humorously ribald. 🙂

    • Big words sweetie! You never talk like that at the dinner table – who are you trying to impress? Hehe! 🙂

      • carmen says:

        Well, your hubby certainly impressed me with his BIG words that I had to look up! 😉

        I admit, Kevin is a good writer: humorous, but a topic that is very serious to vegans like Dima who choose a cruelty-free lifestyle. (That’s why you did preface, “Vegans be warned, this is NOT something a vegan would write!”)

        I’m so glad you invited non-vegans to your vegan Thanksgiving dinner to give them an opportunity to enjoy a delicious, nutritious plant-based meal. Kevin testified to that!

        The sad reality is that most people eat meat and their thinking (all through their lives) is that animals are there to be eaten. Much like slave owners thought that’s why slaves are here to be used for personal gain, or cultures where men dominate women and treat them like possessions. The rich, the strong, the educated oppressing the poor, the weak, the less fortunate.

        It boils down to human beings being narcissists: I love me, I care about myself, nothing else matters more than what benefits me.

        Kevin was honest about his craving for meat; it is my hope that more and more people will think about this question …

        “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others… why wouldn’t we?”

        With compassion,
        ♥ carmen

    • What a thoughtful comment Carmen! Yes, this is a serious topic – so serious that I’ve devoted my life to it for the past two years. I know I’ve made an impact on some people, but not nearly as many as I’d hoped. It’s tricky to talk to people about veganism. No one wants to feel judged, and if I make someone feel judged I know I’ve lost them. I hope in time I’ll discover more effective ways of reaching people.

      What you say about people believing that animals are there to be eaten I think is true for many people. I’ve even run across people who told me that they believe that God meant for humans to eat animals. At the same time, when I was an omnivore, this is not what I believed. I just never seriously thought about why I ate animals. It was just something that I was taught to do from a very young age so I never questioned it.

      I think there are a lot of people out there like me who have never contemplated what they’re doing when they eat animals. People who would be horrified if a puppy was brutalized, but would then sit down to a steak dinner without recognizing that an animal had to be brutalized to become the steak on their plate. People who, if they really thought about it, would be horrified if they knew the suffering of the cow that became their steak. I believe there are a lot of people out there like this because my husband and I used to be like this. People who just need something to help them recognize what they’re doing. I want to help people to “see” what they’re doing. As I’ve said, however; this is tricky.

      Thank you for sharing the link for Edgar’s Mission. I’ve never heard of this farm sanctuary before and it looks like they’re doing a lot of good. Once I get over the insanity of the holidays, I’d like to write a post about them.

      Happy holidays Carmen! 🙂

  3. Laura says:

    Love this post – and your husband is an excellent writer! I’d love to play a game of balderdash with y’all!

  4. Laura says:

    Sorry – your husband’s buddy… Not your husband!


    hee hee heee… hilarious. he could have spilled a few more deets on the menu, the prius-riding caveman!

    “fear vegan food. They assume it’s bland and are afraid to try it” – yes! ironically, most of the standard food is awfully bland if you omit industrial sugar and the bad fat. but you can’t quite throw this statement into people’s faces, can you 😉

    • Great point about industrial sugar and bad fat!!!! If you tell people this, however; they’ll just think you’re a crazy health nut! I hope you’re having an awesome week chica! Celeste 🙂

      • BEAUTYCALYPSE says:

        weird, same people don’t think they’re crazy nutrition nuts when they are worried about my calcium supply! 😀
        wish you a wonderful weekend xoxo

  6. diahannreyes says:

    Thanks for sharing, Celeste! I love how you were jonesing for McDonald’s and changed your mind. I remember on my third date w/ m y bf- we were at an Indian Restaurant- our second one in a row and I was worrying that we’d be stuck eating Indian food forever (not necessarily a bad thing, but still) . Luckily where we live there is a plethora of delicious vegan places and we’ve since both expanded our culinary horizons. He is officially a foodie- and I am constantly suggesting new vegan places that we can go to.

    • I’m so glad that you and your boyfriend have discovered lots delicious vegan restaurants. Veganism is easier and better when you have great restaurants to frequent. I’m still tickled by your recent vegan interest chica – keep it up!

      I’m glad that Kevin didn’t go to McDonalds either! It’s healthier for him, animals and the planet. Go Kevin! I doubt that he’ll continue eating vegan, however; but who knows!!

      As far as your question about gluten-free bacon, I’m not familiar with any. I don’t eat gluten free, so I don’t search for such items. I know that coconut bacon is gluten free, however. If you’ve never had it, I’d highly recommend it. Here’s a link to a recipe:
      Or you can get some Phoney Baloney Coconut Bacon. Here’s a link:

      Good luck with the bacon search! Celeste 🙂

    • I’ve heard of that restaurant but I’ve never been!! Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to check it out! 🙂

  7. diahannreyes says:

    PS- I meant to ask you- do u know where one can get gluten-free tempeh bacon to cook at home?

  8. Great way to educate People Celeste. We all come with our own choices. I live in a household where my husband eats everything since he travels a lot for his work and I don’t even ask him the record of it :).. Lol.. My girls are carnivores too….I tried telling my oldest the other day…about how meat is obtained grossed her out for a second and then she said, okay mom I don’t eat pork or beef but is it okay if I eat salami and pepperoni….I rolled my eyes at myself… Time is not ripe yet for her to understand it I guess. I am mostly cooking vegan since Indian home cooked food is mostly vegan…..and I draw my line there…. I am always telling my kids the benefits of eating a good plant based diet in the hope that one day..they will make their own responsible choices without being preached into it by their “mother”.

    • Hey Sonal! Thanks for your thoughtful comment girlfriend! I had to laugh at your daughter not grasping that salami and pepperoni are made from animals. It’s funny, but it’s not. I actually think that part of the reason that so many of us eat animals is that we’re removed from the origins of our food. Cows come to us as patty’s on a bun not as animals that we have to slaughter. I’ve often wondered how many more people would be vegetarian or vegan if they had to kill the animals they ate.

      Your family may eat meat now Sonal, but I still believe that how you cook in the home and the things you say to your kids will make an impact in the long run. You are a role model, and in time your daughters may choose to stop eating meat. Time will tell. You’re doing good chica – keep it up! Celeste 🙂

  9. I am so agree with you about people being afraid to try vegan food. Sometimes, I feel like an alien, eating food from the space:)
    A lot of my friends tried some of my dishes already, and they were impressed. Vegan, raw food can be delicious:)

  10. Interesting. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

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