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Animal Rights Florida Meetup Message Board › Great media coverage of ARFF's Vegan Thanksgiving potluck

Great media coverage of ARFF's Vegan Thanksgiving potluck

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Ima A.
user 4950345
Group Organizer
Orlando, FL
Post #: 11,0,4360164.story­
Orlando-area vegans enjoy Thanksgiving with a twist
No animal products were on the menu at a vegan potluck meal in Longwood.
Susan Jacobson

Sentinel Staff Writer

November 19, 2007

Last year, vegan Darshan Caraballo went to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with her husband's family but felt uncomfortable because she eats no animal products.

This year, Caraballo, 27, and her daughters celebrated an early Thanksgiving on Sunday at Big Tree Park in Longwood with about two dozen members of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.

The fourth annual potluck, which included tofu-based faux meat and desserts baked with egg and milk substitutes, was a moral statement as well as a feast of thanks.

"These people believe in the same thing I believe," said Caraballo of Orange City, who brought a bowl of Puerto Rican-style rice and beans to the lunch.

Bryan Wilson, 39, and his wife, Carla, 36, are co-coordinators of the Central Florida chapter of the Animal Rights Foundation. They switched to a vegan lifestyle 12 years ago when they adopted a rescued greyhound, Allan, and got involved in animal rights.

On Sunday, Bryan Wilson carved the Tofurky, a turkey substitute made of organic tofu and beans that looks like a darker version of a boneless turkey breast.

Eden Martin, 20, who hasn't eaten meat in five years, took her first taste of Tofurky on Sunday and pronounced it "great."

"Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for life, not killing animals," said Martin of Kissimmee, who attended the feast with her boyfriend, Antonio Franco, 21.

The lunch included lots of foods found in a typical Thanksgiving meal: sweet potatoes, green-bean casserole, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Other dishes were less common: spaghetti with tofu "Italian sausage," veggie "ham" wrapped in puff pastry and agar cake with soy milk and organic sugar -- a gelatinous-but-tasty treat that looked like pieces of mint-and-chocolate fudge. Agar is made from seaweed.

"Everything is so good," said Suzann Gilmore, who wore a T-shirt that read, "Respect your Fellow Earthlings."

One of the toughest critics was Caraballo's younger daughter, Deedlit Benitez, 5, who her mom says is finicky.

But Deedlit and her sister, Darshan Benitez, 7, eagerly scooped up forkfuls of mashed potatoes, broccoli and, yes, Tofurky with gravy.

"It's yummy," Deedlit said with a smile.
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