Giving Thanks for Veggies

Vegetarian Society holds 'cruelty-free holiday feast' in Lowell

Julia A Sokol

Jessica M. Luna ’10 and other students cook for the Harvard Vegetarian Society’s Thanksgiving potluck yesterday evening. The invitation entreated people to come “enjoy the company of other like-minded herbivores!”

For many, it is hard to imagine a Thanksgiving meal without turkey. But for members of the Harvard College Vegetarian Society, it’s an annual reality.

Last night in Lowell House Grille, the society held a Thanksgiving potluck dinner in what it described on the event’s Facebook invitation as a “cruelty-free holiday feast.”

The dinner attracted around a dozen vegans and vegetarians as well as others looking for an interesting meal. Included in the buffet were vegan macaroni and cheese, pumpkin and corn soup, and peanut-butter baked tofu—as well as fruits, vegetables, salad, and bread.

“The vegan mashed potatoes were still just as good as normal mashed potatoes, even without the butter,” said Katherine Y. Tan ’10, a meat-eating guest at the feast.

Other popular items included the pumpkin and chocolate-chip cake—whose chocolate chips were made from soy, not dairy, milk—and an apple salad with lentils, onions, cranberries, and carrots.

While nearly everyone contributed a dish, several members of the group spent all afternoon preparing the main items.

Jessica M. Luna ’10, president of the Vegetarian Society, worked from 3:45 p.m. until the dinner commenced at around 6:30.

“Food is always a great way of getting people together, especially for vegetarians,” she said. “We are all isolated when we go home, so it’s nice to have a meal together.”

The Harvard College Vegetarian Society became an officially registered student group in May, following its successful campaign to get Harvard University Dining Services to use only cage-free shell eggs.

Last night was the group’s first potluck dinner of the year. Luna said that the goal of the meal was to show that even on a holiday ceremonially focused on turkey, there are other options.

“It’s a hard thing to discuss at Thanksgiving, telling people that what they are eating is wrong while it is right in front of them,” she said. “My uncle once joked, ‘I’ll go get some twigs outside so you can eat.’”

Luna, who is a Crimson magazine staff member, said she understands the symbolic importance of the holiday and actually enjoys it.

“You can celebrate Thanksgiving—meaning you can give thanks and spend time with family—without killing millions of birds,” she said.