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Orlando-area vegans' holiday feast 'just as good' sans turkey
Sentinel Staff Writer
November 24, 2008
In a holiday tradition applauded by turkeys across the nation, vegans and vegetarians celebrated Thanksgiving on Sunday with a cruelty-free feast of faux meat made of soybeans. Twenty loaves of tofurkey -- soybean cheese basted in soy sauce and orange juice -- were substituted for the real thing.
"It's just as good, just as wonderful -- minus the cruelty. Three hundred million turkeys die each year in horrible deaths," said Carla Wilson, coordinator of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, which organized the event at Mead Garden in Winter Park.About 100 people attended the fifth annual alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving. Meat eaters were welcomed, but there was no meat to be eaten.
"We want to teach people there is a wide variety of good things to eat that don't include killing animals," said Wilson, 36. "You feel better knowing you aren't contributing to violence on your plate."
Besides eschewing turkey, the Thanksgiving vegans also forgo anything made from animals or animal products including eggs, dairy and honey.
Picnic tables draped in orange and yellow plastic were laden with mushroom gravy, salads of all kinds, lentil soup and soy milk eggnog.
The pumpkin pie that Velva Peterson brought was made with soy cream cheese. Sarah Tanner's corn bread contained soy milk and applesauce instead of milk and eggs.
Peterson, a 57-year-old Realtor from Apopka, has been a vegan for 45 years. On Thursday, she might join about 200 other vegans in Tampa for more tofurkey and milk-less pumpkin pie.
Watching her relatives chew on turkey flesh, she said, makes her uncomfortable.
"This is my family," she said, pointing to the gathering beneath the Mead Garden picnic pavilion.
Tanner, who comes from a long line of hunters, said she will spend Thanksgiving Day with her meat-eating family in Oviedo. She's a "strict vegetarian," not a true vegan. She eats honey -- on the vegan list of forbidden foods -- and the occasional Taco Bell bean burrito.
It's live-and-let-live in her family, she said, with vegetarians and carnivores together celebrating the American tradition of overeating.
"They know I had to feel very strongly about something for me to give up my mother's cooking," said Tanner, 31, who has a 6-month-old and a 4-year-old vegetarian daughter.
Said Tanner: "I totally trust them not to feed her meat."
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