I am oftentimes a string of contradictions. I can be highly misanthropic, but I’m a student dorm head. I argue – no, battle – with a friend of mine over the superiority of the sciences over the humanities when really I want to double-major in biochem and philosophy. And, most relevant this morning, I hate parties with a burning passion yet one of the things I’m mostly looking forward to about adulthood is hosting dinner parties. Specifically, Friendsgiving.

I have never liked Thanksgiving; in fact, I considered it a really stupid holiday for a long time. It’s a prime example of the US twisting its (already screwed-up) history in order to encourage consumerism. It meant spending time with family, and since I’m a misanthropic human being, I never really took much joy in being forced to listen to my younger cousins’ children’s music or watching a dozen episodes of Extreme Couponing with my sister and the older cousins on the other side of the family. And as a vegetarian the past couple of years, I was both mocked and perpetually felt like I was missing something. I HAD BEEN TURKEY BRAINWASHED.

Okay, moving on. A couple of years ago we were in Paris for Thanksgiving, so no celebration. And this year I was by myself in Pisac, Peru, and I’m pretty sure I ate some weird quasi-lentils. I’ll admit that the habit of celebrating is ingrained in me such that not doing so feels a little… sad. But I don’t want to keep blindly following tradition; I’ve become attached to my concepts of the ideal not-Thanksgiving: Friendsgiving, or Vegetable Feast. Where it’s only the people you really want there, and where everything on the table is vegetable-based (yes, Natalie, this means no butter in the mashed potatoes). Where I can cook and bake to my heart’s content – little plates of different vegetable dishes, and a half dozen or so desserts – and we can eat and be grateful together.

I typically hate parties, even the ones I host, because something about the word “party” rubs me the wrong way. It was probably going for four or five years as a kid without being invited to anyone else’s, but that’s another story… What I do love is cooking, and baking. And vegetables. And sharing the things I make. So while I hate party parties (define this as you wish), I keep thinking I could get behind dinner parties, especially my perfect Friendsgiving.

Of course, I did as I usually do with an idea planted in my head – I did research. Lots and lots of research this morning, mostly consisting of listening to the Bon Appetit Foodcast and Calvin Trillin’s “Spaghetti Carbonara Day” then collecting recipes. Because, you know, it’s never too early to start planning – even in mid-January a year or two or ten before there’s a real possibility of making it happen.

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