A Vegan/Meat Lovers Thanksgiving Gala!

Hello my dear friends! It’s that old chestnut, my Thanksgiving blog!

So here it is- my special shout out to all you fellow cooks getting ready for the big game meal next week.

Is your menu written on a napkin all set? Is it like a peace treaty between warring countries fluid like mine?

Are there some nutty new additions and I don’t mean just to the guest list. Has plant based eating hit your extended family like a tornado like it has hit mine?

Yes, here at the farm we are all wondering what great grandma is going to make of all those vegan sides!

And what WILL the sides be here at the farm? Two of my adult children are just back from a bachelor party in Nashville so we know what sides THEY would like.


(And we do make a good one- see page 142 of our farm cookbook The Things We Cook for the recipe).

Here’s my copy of The Things We Cook– well loved and with a fair amount of penciled in vegan adaptations in the margins also very decorated as we realized this cookbook makes a great coloring book no matter one’s dietary persuasion.

Cookbook aside,  while various people lobby for their choice of sides, I, as the person elbowing my way into my own kitchen in charge of the Thanksgiving kitchen, pretend I have no plan so no one can complain in advance continue to craft the perfect menu in my head.

Full disclosure: I have informed the twenty one people who are coming to our shindig that they can expect some unique and festive dishes that may only appear once on the menu but will live on in infamy expect the unexpected.

I have intimated to several of those particularly near and dear to me that the menu is going to be a complete break from anything ever cooked here veer towards gluten free, dairy free and animal free. They have had a strong reaction to the news upped the ante in their corner by volunteering to do more cooking.

So…..there may be a shepherd’s pie with vegan mashed potatoes and smoked paprika, sunflower romanesco and lentil filling on the table but according to the meat police traditionalists there will also be TURKEY, GIBLET GRAVY, DUCK,  SALAMI AND CHIPPED BEEF.

My question about these meat demands suggestions: Has there EVER been a traditional Green Hope Farm Thanksgiving with Duck or Salami or Chipped Beef LET ALONE ALL THREE? I think this is a BIT of an overreaction to the news of my plans for a semi-vegan Thanksgiving.

In any case, it has all been pretty light hearted so far with no actual threats as no one is too righteous in their choices. And I find it fun to explore new cooking directions. It’s somewhat like diving into the water at the arctic circle for a refreshing dip while a crowd of thousands watch.

No seriously, I love a reckless crazed bold adventure. And perhaps this year will have especially bold, might I say dangerous moments…. As everyone will attest who has even breezed through the farm in the last few months, I am infatuated with my new pressure cooker, and it is ALWAYS going. I promise that I am usually vaguely moderately super attentive and never leave the room when the pressure is up. THERE IS NO CAUSE FOR ALARM.

And thanks to My Precious, aka my pressure cooker, when beloveds come through the kitchen looking for snacks, there is heartbreak that the formerly endless stash of cakes and cookies has been replaced by tamari almonds and rice crackers there are vast quantities of yummy superfoods including soooooo many beans and ancient grains pressure cooked to perfection and ready for someone to quietly compost savor with great enjoyment.

Exhibit A- What pantry snoops hope to find.

Exhibit B- What they are apt to find.

But back to the Thanksgiving feast in all its glory!

This year at the farm, there is one thing we can all agree upon: Potato chips this is the fact that there is so much to be grateful for even if for some of us it’s a thing with feathers and for some of us, not so much.


Evolving Beyond our Definition of Self

On one of the handouts we’ve sent off in recent months, the Angels note that humanity is evolving from a paradigm of selfishness to selflessness. A number of you have asked me if I would ask the Angels what they meant by this.

I thought of your request when I was at a friend’s family gathering this weekend. As I saw how her family viewed my friend, I was struck by how differently I saw her. We all seemed to have a limited and different view of her self. I was reminded that all too often being familiar with someone or being family to someone brings the person an experience of being pinned down by who people think he or she is.

We are always more than even the people who know us well can grasp.

I wondered if our limiting filters of perception were the problem that created humanity’s selfishness. After all, selfishness only arises when we identify ourselves and others as limited and separate beings. If we understand all of us to be an infinite collective in oneness, then acting from separate self interest against another becomes an obsolete notion.

So therein lies the challenge- to evolve beyond every definition of self, be it one we hold of ourselves or one laid on us by others, and allow this for everyone else as well.

The Angels explore this in their description of the new Lisianthus Flower Essence. This Essence brings encouragement to expand our idea of self as whole beyond limits. As the Angels note,

Lisianthus encourages us to tap into each person’s eternal identity unhinged from experiences in this realm of learning lessons. It encourages us to hold fast to this divine identity instead of zeroing in on the thin slice of imperfection we see play out as each of us goes through our necessary Earth experiences.”

Another way to think about this came to me after a conversation with Emily Sheehan Carey.  Our self is like a well. Our self definitions and the ones the world has heaped on us can be like weeds and brambles covering the well. These brambles obscure but do not tarnish who we really are. The well is still there.

We are always free to push aside these brambles, pry off even the heaviest of well coverings and remove the leaves from the top of the water to dip our bucket deep into the sweet, cool, clear waters of our eternally replenishing, eternally creative, eternally evolving self.

Lisianthus Flower Essence reminds us to not lay brambles on anyone’ well. It reminds us not to try to reduce anyone to a description based on what we observe. We always have, what Purple Flowering Raspberry calls, “the unmet corridors of our hearts and a glorious wilderness of our souls.”

 How do we go about the work of seeing everyone as infinite beings of great depths and thus shift the paradigm from selfishness to selflessness? How do we remember that we are all in disguise from our true divine unlimited identity?

As I wrote this, I felt a bit bad that having introduced this blog as a chance for the Angels to explain, I then wrote my thoughts, but the Angels responded to my concern with, “WE ARE NOT SEPARATE.”

The Angels continued,  “It’s not about you getting out of the way for us or us waiting to speak after you. We are each of us experiencing our oneness, our eternal self in each other no matter who has the floor.

This is one way to consider the issue of those around you who seem preoccupied with maintaining the mistaken notion of separation.  Of course you must sometimes get out of the way of this erratic energy, but you also have a chance to see this energy as something reflecting back to you for your learning. Is there any kernel of your own in what is coming at you? As you consider this, you bring light to something unowned within you and that brings light to everyone. And this willingness to “own” what can be viewed as “another person’s issues” breaks down the illusion of separation in a powerful way.

Selfishness is based on an illusionary idea that there is a separate self to defend and protect. The reality is that whatever you experience as within or without is actually within you in an infinity shared by everyone.”