Friendsgiving at 40P by Adiel Pollydore

The vegducken: shallots stuffed inside a hallowed out zucchini inside a hallowed out eggplant inside a hallowed out butternut squash with their various insides used as stuffing throughout- add a little maple glaze, a whole lot of love and tie it with twine.

This was my first vegan thanksgiving (and my first friendsgiving ever) and I was nervous about how the menu would come together and given how potlucks work…whether or not there would be anything there for me to enjoy. We were having one of our planning meetings during community time when the suggestion was made to do a vegan/vegetarian main dish. I was ecstatic, Seth, my fellow non-meater took the charge.

It was with great patience, diligence and care that he crafted 3 vegduckens for the community (including some of our more omnivorous friends) to take part in! While I was rather fixated on the food, it was great to see so many familiar faces come together in a moment of celebration. Despite our busy lives we were able to take a moment and enjoy food, each others company and worship.

Planning a friends giving, as I now know, is a pretty complicated task. There are many moving parts, particularly when you are relying on other people to contribute food, trying to account for allergies and how you will seat all of your guests. We were lucky enough to divide up these tasks so that one person was not trying to manage all of the logistics and that we could do tasks that aligned more with our interests and strengths. Because it was a Monday night, two of us who work at churches (Seth and Eliza) did not have to go in that day, making it a little easier to do some of the cooking prep. Two of us who could not get out of work early, were on clean up (Monica and me.)

It was also important to us that we do some form of worship. We chose to have a prayer led by Seth and then Betsy led us in the Thanksgiving tree activity. Each guest was given two leaves. One was a traditional ‘fall colored’ leaf that was either red, orange or yellow and asked to write something they were grateful for. The second leaf, was green, and they were asked to write something that they are hoping/longing for as we move into the season of Advent. After they wrote them down guests were invited to hang these prayers on the tree (that now greets you in the 40P entryway.) At my table, which was a combination of some current fellows and a few of my friends from college it sparked an interesting discussion on what Advent is. For me it was a clear coming together of the old and the new that felt kind of messy but also really special to have former supports and current support system eating at the same table.

We had about thirty guests, and I didn’t get to talk to everyone, but by the looks of it everyone had a great time. There were more pies than I would have thought and I ate twice!