Examining the basic elements of a traditional Thanksgiving table seems like a logical beginning in my quest to narrow (or rather, decide upon) my contribution to this year's meal. Because turkey was always a secondary element of my plate, even in my omnivore days--my focus was always on the starchy sides--when I think of Thanksgiving, I immediately envision mashed potatoes and gravy. Preparing the hallmark side dish was usually my task, but I won't be surprised if my minority presence as the sole vegan at this year's feast prompts someone else to take over, undoubtedly for fear of butter-less--or worse, vegan butter-laden--spuds. Everyone seems to drench his entire plate with gravy anyway, but that is always a conveniently ignored fact. In any case, my turkey-less feasting means that I will also have turkey-less gravy, so on my breakdown of meal basics, I've chosen to first work on that part of the plate.
Recipes for mushroom gravies are readily accessible in both print and online, so I didn't have trouble finding one that looked suitable as a saucy accompaniment to a Thanksgiving meal. My only concern was the presence of mushrooms themselves, because I tend to be ambivalent about the texture and flavor of cooked mushrooms. I persisted with trying it anyway, and thankfully so; the Mushroom Gravy from Veganomicon was quite delicious (an opinion echoed by my mushroom-loving mother) and will not only turn up again on Thursday, but may in fact nudge my opinion of cooked fungi toward a more positive direction. I enjoyed the sauce atop some homemade drop biscuits, with leftovers making a rich and heavy (in a good way) contribution to this morning's breakfast. Should my willingness to join the kitchen frenzy prevail this week, I'll expect to have a sturdy arsenal of carbs to sop up that savory goodness.