Green bean casserole and creamed spinach certainly weren’t served at the first Thanksgiving (though stuffed birds do date back to Ancient Roman times and could have been served in America’s early days). Because the first Thanksgiving was in Massachusetts, seafood like oysters and oyster stuffing were likely to have had a prominent place on the pilgrims’ table, though the tradition of eating shellfish on Thanksgiving hasn’t really stuck around.
Today’s common, starchy sides, like potatoes and mac and cheese, aren’t pilgrim or Native American fare, but rather dishes dating back to antebellum America, when enslaved Africans would cook for white families during the autumn harvest festivals. (Thanksgiving was not yet an official holiday.)
“It goes without saying that much of ‘white Southern’ holiday food owes its savor to the influence of black cooks and living in the vicinity of black cultures,” culinary historian Michael Twitty wrote in the Washington Post. Though some side dishes may have antebellum roots: “Some represent the glory of freedom, with deviled eggs and macaroni pie (the old Southern and Caribbean name for mac and cheese) being a prime example of the eggs, pasta and cheese that rarely if ever were enjoyed under the lash,” Twitty wrote.
And that legendary green bean casserole? Created in the 1950s by a young woman, Dorcas Reilly, with a degree in home economics and a job in the Campbells Soup Co. test kitchen, some grandparents at Thanksgiving may outdate green bean casserole, but the marketing made the gooey vegetable dish an instant classic. That’s America for you.
It’s not finding vegan restaurant options. It’s not self control around devilled eggs at Christmas. It’s not keeping up your health. It’s not getting in enough calories. It’s definitely not getting in your protein. It’s not finding non-leather shoes. It’s not finding cheap cruelty free makeup.
The hardest thing about being vegan is watching Earthlings with your mother, and not ten minutes after it’s over, watching her prepare chicken for dinner.
It’s hearing nonvegan friends talk about standard factory farm practices and realising that they aren’t ignorant, they just don’t care.
It’s hearing your brother say “they’re just animals” and ordering a lambskin coat online, not caring that it was made out of slaughtered children.
It’s hearing your grandmother laugh out loud while reading about dairy cows being raped so they can begin producing milk.
It’s seeing your pregnant sister eating pork chops, eating a pig’s body, and feeding the tiny helpless life inside her that dead animal body too.
It’s knowing about your fathers dangerously high blood pressure and watching him eat the milky, cheesy, scrambled eggs your mother prepared for him.
It’s hearing a dog-loving classmate say that it is ethically wrong to eat dog-meat, but perfectly okay to eat chickens, pigs, and cows, because she ties what is ethical to what she personally wants.
It’s realising that the world is not as compassionate as you. It isn’t actually as normal as you thought to care about the wellbeing of others. Your heart is abnormally large and the rest of the world is apathetic and cruel. The rest of the world doesn’t care who suffers for their tastebuds.
It’s seeing the selfishness, greediness, apathy, arrogance, evilness, and coldheartedness of humanity and living in it every single day.