Thanksgiving is a holiday iconicized by food. We all gather with family and friends to gorge ourselves on turkey, yams, and other well known treats. While new dishes may be introduced, they rarely deviate from tradition. But in one of my families Thanksgivings, it did and let’s just say that the results–well, they were interesting to put it mildly.

When I was seven my family lived in Sacramento, California. We were a good distance from our far flung relatives and so, when my grandmother came to visit one Thanksgiving, I was ecstatic. Little did I know that she’d be bringing some ideas about what our dinner should be.

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Grandma Shirley–my mother’s mother–has been a health nut for as long as I can remember, trying a wide variety of healthy eating diets. She’s gone as far as taking fruit/vegetable pills and putting herself on a vegan diet. While it might be the reason she looks as good as she does in her old age, my grandmother has consistently gone overboard, and that includes assuming that everyone wants to eat as she does.

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On that Thanksgiving I was introduced to turkey loaf which bears no resemblance to an actual turkey–dead or otherwise. Baked with tofu, it looked like a loaf of bread on steroids, giving me great misgivings. Still, it was my grandmother–who’d never steered me wrong–and so I took a bite. And promptly spat it out.

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The stuff tasted awful. I don’t know if it was the tofu, or what it was used to make, but either way I wasn’t taking another bite. My dad was less gracious. He made my mom go to the Boston Market and get him a turkey dinner. To this day I don’t know what happened to that turkey loaf after my grandmother ate some–the only one who did–but it was quickly forgotten, the memory buried until now.

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More Thanksgivings have come and gone sense then, and while we may’ve tweaked our meal from time to time, it has stayed firmly rooted in tradition.

No one has suggested adding something new. Most certainly, not something made of tofu.

Disclaimer: Most of the images used in this blog post are not mine and I have no artistic claim to them.

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