Tofu Turkey

14 Nov

Letterbalm Tofu TurkeyDear LetterBalm: My older sister is a strict vegetarian, and she always hosts Thanksgiving for close to 20 family members. She absolutely forbids turkey, offering a tofu turkey instead of a real one. She’s very domineering and won’t discuss it. The rest of her family, including her husband and my parents are cowed. My husband, our kids and I are fed up. But if we boycott the dinner, it may cause a big problem. How to subdue the situation?

–We Really Want Real Turkey

Sigh … What is it with bossy older sisters and poultry? Last year it was the gourmet-cook older sister who prepared the Thanksgiving feast and served everything but turkey. Ms. L.B. will give the same advice as before: It’s past time you and your brood presented a united front and stood up to your sister with good humor and graciousness. But you’re taking a risk; the rest of your family may not want to rock the boat. You, your husband and kids may have to dine alone. Full disclosure is required. First, talk with your husband and kids. Are they willing to have dinner just among themselves, risking family wrath? Depending on what they say, then talk with your extended family. Who has the biggest house and is willing to host the dinner – even casual, buffet-style – and roast the turkey? Develop a plan whereby everybody pitches in, bringing sides, trimmings and desserts and helping with clean-up. Lastly, have a phone conversation with your sister. Make it clear you have the family’s approval:

Hannah, I’m calling on behalf of the whole family. We appreciate that you work so hard to host Thanksgiving dinner. We know it’s a lot of work for you, and we want to help. This year, the family is going to do something different. All of us want turkey for Thanksgiving, and we know that’s not possible for you. So the turkey dinner will be at Aunt Marge’s – casual, buffet-style – and everybody is pitching in to bring sides and desserts and help with clean-up. You and Boris will come, of course, and do bring your tofu turkey and a vegetarian dish or two. We’ll all be together – and, after all, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.

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