Did you know turkeys are incredibly social creatures, have excellent hearing but no external ears, love eating peanuts (so much!), and were once so prized that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the wild turkey the national bird before the bald eagle eventually won out? Nope, had no clue?!
While an estimated 45 million turkeys are used for Thanksgiving meals, there is a shift afoot to turkeyless dinners, vegan-friendly potlucks, and cruelty-free meal plans where everyone leaves full and happy with wishbones intact.
Whether you are oddly curious, wanting to get some ideas for what a vegan Thanksgiving spread looks like ahead of the actual holiday, or are a lifelong vegan in search of sharing a meal with other like-minded eaters, EarthSave is hosting a free community vegan Thanksgiving this Saturday (November 22) with its Zero Turkey Feast.
In its third year at the Tamarac Community Center, the potluck will feature an animal-product-free feast by vegan chef and EarthSave organizer Brook Katz complete with sun-dried tomato pâté, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, salads, candied yams, pumpkin pie, Tofurky and gravy, and Katz's homemade chocolates.
Accompanying the dinner buffet will be MC Jeff "Vegan Man" Tucker, acoustic music with Paul Zidow, and door and raffle prizes.
"Why I do it is really twofold," says Katz. "I believe that veganism is the gentlest way to coexist in harmony on this planet. So anything I can do to extend that awareness is my life's work. The second reason is I've lived a huge amount of time in the wilderness and have spent many occasions in the woods with wild turkeys. They are sleek, beautiful birds with dark, multicolored plumage and are some of the most graceful fliers you've ever seen. The white, round, overstuffed birds you see for the Thanksgiving slaughter is this mutated thing that only resembles a turkey because of the skin flap on the face. I just think it's a shame that people aren't told the truth. I think it makes a difference in most people once they learn it, and it affects their choices for the rest of their lives."
EarthSave Miami community vegan dinners aren't just reserved for holidays. Several monthly potlucks take place throughout the year. Thanksgiving provides one more opportunity to highlight the benefits of a plant-based diet.
"The Thanksgiving holiday highlights the importance of our food," says Tucker. "EarthSave emphasizes three main scientific and social benefits of a plant-based diet: 1.) Compassionate towards billions of farmed animals; 2) environmentally, it's the most sustainable food production model; 3) documented healthy impact on human health. Shifting towards ethical veganism is accomplished 'one bite at a time' so our events are designed to educate and motivate every eater."
Saturday's free festivities get underway at 5 p.m. with "early bird" hors d'oeurves at Tamarac Community Center's Paradise Ballroom at 8601 W. Commercial Blvd. Call 954-597-3620, or visit earthsavemiami.org.