Even though I was excited about this event I was a little nervous because my cooking skills aren’t quite up to par compared to some people I know. My cooking skills have improved but I have a long way to go. So I decided I would take the “lazy mans approach” and buy some prepared food from the market or frozen food and pop it in the oven. I found some delicious looking frozen vegetable dumplings and mushroom filled philo dough snacks in Trader Joes. A generous friend in Boston let me use his oven to bake the finger foods before the event and off I was.
The potluck dinner was held at the Community Room in the Brookline Police Department. I thought it was a bit of a strange place to hold a dinner but then again I knew I was going to be safe. I arrived about one hour late because I didn’t anticipate how long the philo dough would take to cook. When I arrived, I walked into a room of some 40 people all merrily eating and chatting away. There was an enormous amount of food on two tables at the front of the room. The founder of the BVA, Eric Prescott, approached me and introduced himself. He told me where to place my food and put some labels on the items. He invited me to grab a plate to start eating.
As I walked around the two tables I was impressed and delighted to see the assortment of vegan dishes. They ranged from Quinoa salads, pumpkin pie, vegetable spring roles, and chocolate peanut butter mousse to bean salad and a mixed rice dish. I’m not ashamed to say that I went up several times to try as many different dishes as I could possibly eat without getting that overstuffed, sick-to-my stomach feeling. You know the feeling, where you have to sometimes unbutton your pants. Fortunately, I have learned over the years from attending BBQs or eating at a buffet line not to gorge myself to the point where I need to loosen some clothing.
The BVA was only founded two years ago. They have seen a high turnover of members and one couple recently got engaged. Everyone I met at the event was extremely friendly and had an interesting story about how they became a vegan.
Although I braved the event alone and didn’t know anyone from the association, by the end of the night I left with a sense of belonging to this community. It’s truly amazing how an event centered on food and a common belief (vegan lifestyle) can leave you in a positive frame of mind.
I hope that whether you share your Thanksgiving dinner next week with family, friends or people you don’t know, you too can enjoy a meal that will leave you feeling positive and not too overstuffed.