Going with the holiday food flow, when meat-eaters and vegans convene…

I’ve been driving around North Los Angeles enjoying some unstructured time, lazily gathering gifts and ruminating on a holiday meal that will please the carnivores and vegans at my table. And I’m remembering my college days, coming home newly vegetarian to wreak havoc at my parents’ table, where my father said repeatedly “the meatless thing” would never last. In fact it lasted a few years, and I’ve reprised the practice a handful of times in the ensuing decades but, yes, Dad called it right. (He’d been grilling for me since the days when I was knee-high to him, liked my steak nearly rare, and chowed down.) 

Now one son’s vegan girlfriend has raised my consciousness again regarding flavor and satiety and how healthily we can get them! I like the challenge of my three adult sons’ industrial appetites along with their fierce support for veganism even though it isn’t their practice. And I want to please everybody. I figure it expands my skills!

These days I’m more about clean, Mediterranean-inspired flavors than the rich Southern comfort foods of my childhood. So I’ve settled on Grilled London Broil along with Alsatian Onion Pie from Ron Pickarski’s Friendly Foods, accompanied by delicious sides prepared without animal products so everybody can enjoy them. We’ll grill portabello caps (on a clean grill, before the meat) and fill them with a chopped tomato-garlic-olive-herb medley and balsamic. And we’ll have luscious long-grained wild rice finished with a swirl of great olive oil, seasoned well and served just al dente, and a beautiful pile of roasted asparagus with or without hollandaise. The finishing touches will be my Brit friend Maggie’s homemade Persimmon Pudding served with English custard, and vegan mint ice cream. Mmmmmm. Inclusive AND delectable! Makes me happy.

What’s your carnivore-meets-vegan strategy? Please share, and have a joyful holiday weekend, with food as one beautiful element bringing everybody together.