I am celebrating Easter with my family tomorrow. I’m not terribly religious, but Easter would be a BFD if I was. I loved Easter as a kid and I still kind of do. It symbolizes springtime, white and bright colors, and bunnies (of the chocolate variety). Growing up, it meant that I got to wear one of my fancy dresses to church. My Mom usually prepared a lamb. It’s a big deal because we don’t often have lamb. In addition, as a family, we usually don’t eat any meat for at least a week leading up to Easter.

Easter, 1982. When else will I get away with wearing that fabulous head accessory?

I won’t be eating lamb this year, obvs. But… the little Catholic girl in me is all like, “Hello? Jesus? Are you there? DUDE, what am I supposed to eat to celebrate your rising from the dead?” There’s this expectation that I’ll get to eat something special on Easter. Well, I won’t be eating anything special — I’m not about to use Easter as an excuse to eat poor little lambs, no matter how delicious I remember lamb to be, but it’s hard for me to get excited about a tofu entree when everyone else will be eating pork chops and lamb. All that said, I CAN get excited about all the vegan appetizers and sides we’re preparing:

White bean hummus with freshly toasted pita bread and tortilla chips
Cucumber and tomato salad, with red onion and feta on the side
Cauliflower and carrots, cooked in this style — I’m also making a dairy version since my sister is allergic to soy
Roasted fingerling potatoes with garlic and rosemary
Grilled asparagus
Steamed broccoli
Lots of fresh fruit for dessert, and I’ll probably whip up ‘mousse’ for myself using silken tofu and cacao powder; the non-vegans are having a chocolate mousse cake
Vegan chocolate bunnies (I got them for my nieces but they better share)

The fact that I’m excited about the veggie smorgasbord proves how much my eating philosophy has changed in the past several months. It also poses an interesting challenge that I wasn’t prepared to meet this holiday: Start new holiday food traditions that are vegan. Will I cook something that’s especially difficult or time-consuming? Will I choose more exotic ingredients? These traditions are mine only, for now anyway, so I’m in complete control. To make the challenge more, uh, challenging, I want to avoid having my own plate of vegan food that doesn’t mesh with everything else on the table.

What vegan holiday traditions have you started? Share, share, share! And whether or not you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful day eating vegan chocolate bunnies and vegan marshmallow chicks. –Melissa

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