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Weighing in on vegan holiday meal

Dear Abby: I am writing about the letter from "Turkey Eater in Texas" (Nov. 12), who resented having a vegan Thanksgiving to accommodate two family members. I think your answer missed what being a gracious host is about. The entire meal shouldn't have to consist of vegan items.

After your column ran, my father called to tell me that holiday dinners would no longer accommodate my daughter's celiac disease. She's 9 and struggles with being "different."

Next year, we will host the holiday dinners. Our extended family can join us -- or not. The bottom line is that if you exclude family (for being vegan or having celiac disease), you've done the opposite of what holidays are about.

-- Kaye in Alabama

Dear Kaye: That's true. What bothered me about the letter from "Turkey Eater" was the idea that his brother expected him to cater the entire Thanksgiving dinner to his nieces' preference to eat vegan. If the writer had said he had been asked to ensure there were dishes that would not inflame (literally) his nieces' serious medical condition, I would have answered differently. Read on:

Dear Abby: I am 31 and have been a vegetarian my entire life. I come from a meat-loving family and have never insisted they change an entire meal to accommodate my eating habits. Instead, I take food I know I will eat and share it with everyone else.

-- Eating Well in New Mexico

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Dear Abby: I chose veganism for many reasons, none of which is to be a pain in the keister -- either by lecturing/scolding others, or by having high-maintenance expectations. I feel it's important to be flexible, especially at get-togethers. What I value most about holidays is sharing a meal with people I love. If I want a completely vegan Thanksgiving, it should be one that I host and prepare. To expect that of nonvegetarians is not only unreasonable, but also difficult, since many people are inexperienced in how to cook vegan.

-- Thankful Vegan in Kansas City

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