Page 9 - Demo
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The holidays are a time to gather As a host, it does not have to be
around good food with family
and friends in celebration of
the season. (In normal circumstances;
holiday gatherings may be curtailed
this year due to the persistent spread
of coronavirus. But here’s hoping you
will have the opportunity to commune
with loved ones over a glass of wine
and hearty meal.) Part of what makes
holiday meals so interesting is the
diversity of food preferences that
everyone brings to the table. These
preferences can re ect religious,
cultural, and dietary dictates, which, on the surface, may seem complicated. But there are many ways to bridge these divides in spite of seemingly contradictory food needs and desires. Communication prior to planned events is key here.
If you are hosting a dinner or gathering, avoid surprises and disappointment by asking ahead of time what your guests’ dietary limitations are. Find out especially if there are any serious allergies; no one wants to watch a guest become seriously ill due to a nut allergy. On the same token, if you will be a guest in someone’s home, it’s only fair to inform the host about your sensitivities. If everyone communicates with everyone, the gathering can focus on the joy of the season rather than problems from lack of appropriate food for someone.
Traditional holiday feasts in the U.S. tend to center around meat; a roasted turkey with gravy made from the drippings, spiral sliced, honey glazed ham, etc. Our most iconic documentation of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, Freedom From Want, by Normal Rockwell, features a long table bedecked with  ne china and ringed with smiling family members and grandma and grandpa proudly placing the perfect roast turkey at the head of the table. The happy vibe of this image is still appropriate but food trends have changed and we now want to also welcome vegans and gluten-sensitive eaters to the table. For be er or worse, food culture has shi ed from one where everyone more or less ate the same thing to a highly individualized one.
A great way to ensure that there will be something for everyone to enjoy at gatherings is to request that guests bring something that they like to eat. As a guest, this will ensure you won’t go hungry, but it will also give you a chance to show o  your cooking skills and share a delicious dish that other guests may also enjoy. Your dish might inspire a great conversation about vegetarian or vegan eating and introduce others to how tasty a non-meat or non-dairy dish can be.
Freedom From Want, Normal Rockwell
di cult to make a few dishes that most of your guests will be able to enjoy. If you have favorite recipes that you make every year that some people may not be able to eat,
go ahead and make those but be sure to make something else that they can eat. It could be a vegan version of green bean casserole, or something simpler. Soups are easy to make without the addition of meat, and even vegan soups can be incredibly tasty and creamy.
Hummus or other bean dips, fresh vegetable pla ers with a choice of dairy-based and non-dairy based dips, cheese and vegan cheese pla ers with wheat and gluten-free crackers...these are just a few ideas for easy appetizers.
There are so many online resources now for all styles of cooking and eating. For instance if you search ‘vegan recipes’ you will get 1,540,000,00 results on Google! It is relatively easy to make meatless side dishes and even a meatless entree. Stu ng is another holiday favorite but you don’t have to forgo it if you have gluten sensitive eaters coming over. Wild rice or quinoa make fabulous stu ng.
Or if gluten isn’t an issue for the vegetarians, use vegetable broth instead of meat broth and drippings and cook the stu ng separately from the turkey. The best holiday
gravy is made with pan drippings from a roasted bird, but you can make a perfectly tasty vegetarian gravy. A li le creativity and thoughtfulness will go a long way in making a memorable meal that everyone can enjoy. (Be sure to visit the Oryana website recipe page for inspiration!)
One more thing to consider is cross contamination. Make sure you have plenty of serving utensils so one person isn’t dipping into both the giblet stu ng and the vegetarian stu ng. And be sure to use separate cu ing boards for cu ing up di erent foods.
Finally, a nice touch is to have small signs for each dish listing all the ingredients.
Bringing multiple food agendas to the holiday table may actually be a good thing. We have a growing awareness of the origins of our food and how food a ects our bodies. Figuring out how to cater to all those di erent food needs encourages us to step out of our cooking comfort zone. We might discover new favorite dishes while still honoring our heritage with recipes passed down from our elders.
May your holiday gatherings this year be  lled with food that nurtures and pleases everyone’s palate and may we all be inspired by the bounty that our beautiful region o ers us. Happy Holidays!

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