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November 18th, 2009 | By Alicia Silverstone

Thanksgiving is gonna be here any second. The American tradition of family and seasons changing and warmth and being cozy and loving and grateful – I love. But then we go and have a large dead animal in the middle of the table, and that sort of ruins the whole being
grateful and warm part for me. I mean, if we are being grateful, it would be beautiful if we were mindful of non-violence and looked to see how we can give back, instead of just taking. We feel terrible at the end of the meal anyway because we gorged ourselves on food that our bodies don’t handle well. These are the foods that are nasty to our bodies and nasty to the planet”. and not to mention nasty to the turkeys!
So what is the solution to all this? I say a big, true, compassionate, and beautiful Thanksgiving. I want my future kids to grow up in a loving environment that is conscious and kind to all. We have been having these Pre-Thanksgiving dinners at our house a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Some years we have parties, big parties, usually 26-28 people or something like that (pictured below). The more meat-eaters we get to come, the better for me! My goal is to serve the most delicious food and for people to feel so good when they leave that when they have their “regular” Thanksgiving dinner, they have ours in the back of their minds. Hopefully, some part of them says, “”the food was kinda better at Alicia’s and I didn’t feel terrible afterwards and everyone had such a good time!”” or something awesome like that!


This year we aren’t going to get to do the whole deal since I only have a couple more weeks at home in LA before moving to NY for the play I’ll be in on Broadway. It’s called Time Stands Still, and it will be at the Manhattan Theater Club. More info here: Things are a little crazy getting ready to go now, so instead I will probably have a small gathering for holiday fun and games. I have the menu in my head right now – Artichoke Dip, the Artichoke, Mushroom, and Leek Crostini with Pesto, and a huge Dr. Cow cheese platter.


It can be a tricky time for a veggie around Thanksgiving, especially if you are going home to your non-veggie family. The best way to deal with this is to call them and say, “Hi there. I’m not sure if you know, but I’m trying really hard to be vegan and would love to know if I can help prepare all the side dishes so they are all ok for me to eat! I promise you will love them and won’t even know the difference”. That is one way. Or you can bring your own food, or you can invite everyone to Thanksgiving at your place and make a great meal” minus the turkey, but adding so many other delicious dishes!


Over the years I have done it all; brought my own food, asked to make side dishes, but then I finally realized that I am no longer excited to attend any more unkind Thanksgiving dinners. Even though people eat meat all the time around us, this day just seems special to me. To have a dead animal as the centerpiece of the affair just feels like a missed opportunity to be mindful and compassionate.


Anyhow, these are my thoughts on Thanksgiving and how I love to celebrate it. I would love to hear about your holiday, what you ended up making and how it went. I hope you have a warm and cozy day filled with love and amazing, memorable food.



Photo Credit: Lesley Marino, courtesy of Farm Sanctuary

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