Next week is Thanksgiving, our favorite nondenominational festival of American gluttony and vague cultural guilt. Most of our beloved narratives about the holiday (see "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," "Home for the Holidays," "Pieces of April") suggest that the homey celebration is actually just a time for travel plans to go awry, relatives to act wacky, and long-distance therapy bills to skyrocket. But at the end of it all, someone's mom or dad always emerges from the kitchen bearing a platterful of big browned bird, brightening the sullen faces around the table.
But the thought of munching on the flesh of a flightless feathered creature makes many people squirm. These days, the faces around the table are just as likely to belong to vegans, vegetarians, pesca-vegetarians, pollo-vegetarians, the lactose intolerant, the wheat allergic, and those fanatical Atkins and South Beach dieters. And so, while the good people at PETA worry about the fate of the turkeys, we at Salon are more interested in the fate of The Turkey.
What is taking its place on the platter? What's taking the place of the sugar in the cranberry sauce, the butter in the mashed potatoes, the booze in the ... well, the booze? We want to hear about how you've tucked into meals of Tofu Turkey, faux giblet gravy, Tofurkey and its more disturbing cousin Tofurkey Jurky.
And your stories don't have to be about soy-based products alone. We want to hear about your wheat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free feasts, about the religiously limited diets of your new in-laws, about the fat-free pumpkin pies that you've spit back into your napkins, and about your Bronx-born grandfather who doesn't consider it Thanksgiving without his pickled herring.
E-mail your stories -- with recipes! -- to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post them next week. Just in time for the monster meal.