VegRehoboth ThanksLIVING Dinner a resounding success

Diners feast on cruelty-free foods and celebrate compassion
November 29, 2014

Over 140 people attended the annual ThanksLIVING Dinner in Rehoboth Beach Nov. 23 to celebrate the holiday in a new way with an all-vegan meal in a setting of community and compassion. The event took place at Cilantro Restaurant, and featured food from six of the area's top chefs.

Arriving guests were greeted by colorful tables set with fresh flowers, and appetizers of Grape Leaves stuffed with roasted cauliflower, rice, apricots, figs and cherries – served with a cranberry pomegranate dipping sauce, generously provided by Cave Girl at the Beach.

As the dinner got underway, VegRehoboth president and cofounder Patricia Haddock welcomed attendees and spoke briefly about the meaning and intent of the gathering. She emphasized the moral choice to lively kindly and cruelty-free, and read from “Turkeys Are Our Friends.”

Quoting from celebrated author, podcast producer and speaker Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of, Haddock spoke about the playful and affectionate nature of turkeys - how they cuddle and purr like our cats and dogs. “I grew up eating turkeys' breasts, turkeys' legs, and turkeys' wings - and I'm still making amends to these extraordinary animals.”

Throughout the three-course dinner, guests reveled in the good food and good spirits, as heaping plates of seasonal fare appeared on the tables. In addition to Cave Girl's Stuffed Grape Leaf Dolmas, the menu featured Vegan Butternut Squash Soup from Modern Mixture; Romaine Salad with Lime Dressing from Cilantro; Spent Grain Bread with Orange and Cardamom from Old World Breads; turkey-free Holiday Roasts with Cranberry and Wild Rice dressing by Gardein; Red Wine Fall Vegetables, Foraged Mushrooms, Sage and Buckwheat Polenta from a(MUSE.); Mushroom Barley Risotto with Autumn Vegetables and Swiss Chard from Espuma; and Momma's Famous Vegan Stuffing and Gravy from Hobos. Dessert was Local Apple Crisp from a(MUSE.) and Raw Brownie Truffles from Cave Girl at the Beach.

In a brief Invocation of Gratitude, Ruth Lamothe of VegRehoboth summed up the dinner simply: “No animals were harmed in the making of this meal.”

“I think people are hungry for this, adds Haddock. “Not just the wonderful food, but the desire to make new traditions that are more mindful, more in line with their moral values.”

Enthusiastic praise and expressions of thanks poured in from the guests, who complimented the food and the organizers as well.

"Awesome ThanksLiving dinner today!," exclaimed Anita Kiger of Magnolia, near Dover. Thank you to everyone who made this happen. The food and company was outstanding. My body was so happy!"

“Wow that stuffing!,” exclaimed another diner who had come with a group of six from Ocean City, Md. Kiger added: "Those meat-free roasts are amazing -my husband couldn't believe it.” And Barbara Longova of Rehoboth sung out as she was departing: “I loved i!!”

VegRehoboth organizers extend special thanks to sponsors Jenn Harpel of Morgan Stanley, Denise Vansant of Cave Girl at the Beach, Leo Cabrera of Modern Mixture, Keith Irwin of Old World Bread, Sue Ryan of Good Earth Market, and to host Gladys Fernandez of Cilantro for their generosity.

Organizers are already thinking ahead to 2015, explains Haddock. “Interest in plant-based living just continues to soar. We had people coming in at the door looking to attend. And she adds: “We're already getting people saying they want to come next year!”


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