How a PETA Contest Persuaded This Whole Family to Eat a Vegan Holiday Meal

Published by Zachary Toliver.

What happens when a vegan takes charge of the family holiday dinner? Everyone enjoys delicious food without harming anyone, of course (well, other than the folks who probably overate). One man’s vegan dinner even won him PETA’s Vegan Eats and Treats contest.

Curtis Taylor of Eugene, Oregon, was in charge of his family’s Easter dinner. It was their first all-vegan Easter meal, so he brought the heat. Instead of pig body parts or a turkey carcass, he prepared two Trader Joe’s turkey-less roasts, which won over even the more stubborn family members.

“They were so impressed. My skeptical aunt enjoyed it so much she says she’ll buy it for Thanksgiving,” Curtis told PETA.

The simple yet lavish feast that he prepared for his loved ones included mac ‘n’ Daiya cheese–stuffed peppers, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, assorted steamed vegetables, and his aunt’s homemade cranberry sauce.

Curtis also baked an easy-peasy vegan pumpkin pie prepared with silken tofu “that came out tasting just like the pumpkin pies I remember eating as a kid.”

For our Vegan Eats and Treats contest, participants made or bought a vegan meal and then snapped a photo of themselves sharing the goods with others. We asked that the submission include a description of what was served, who ate it, and how they reacted.

For his culinary talents, Curtis won 10 delicious handcrafted vegan meals from Veestro meal delivery and the satisfaction of convincing his whole family that vegan cuisine is truly delightful.

He told PETA that his vegan journey began back in sixth grade after doing a school report on animal abuse in the meat industry.

“I honestly don’t remember what inspired me to do the report on animal cruelty,” he said, “but while looking up data, I discovered PETA and decided to personally get involved in the animal rights movement. …

“It was watching videos from PETA investigations of factory farms that made me realize that turkeys are forced to endure awful conditions and treatment before being violently killed. I had to take action. Not only did I need to do the report, I had to stop eating turkeys and other animals whose short lives are filled with unimaginable suffering.”

After that report, Curtis went vegetarian, and a few years later, he went vegan. Now 33 years old, he has been meat-free for over half his life!

“With so many innovative, compassionate companies in the market today, it’s never been easier to choose delicious vegan centerpieces and sides at every holiday meal,” he said.

Here’s How You Can Serve Your Own Vegan Holiday Meal

Instead of killing sensitive, conscious animals for dinner this holiday season, try a cruelty-free smorgasbord instead! First things first: Find a vegan roast. There are plenty to choose from. Then check out PETA’s guides to delicious vegan recipes for Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays. Veganize any Thanksgiving recipe with our ingredient substitute cheat sheet. Facing a time crunch or on a budget? Here’s a cheap vegan Thanksgiving plan that takes only an hour.

Ready to veganize your holiday season and do some good? Help spare the lives of hundreds of animals and help PETA feed people in need by pledging to share vegan dishes with your family this Thanksgiving.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind