The chili abounded with beans in every size, shape, and color; tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, corn, and, instead of the beef, seitan. (For those of you not familiar with seitan, it's a wheat-based meat alternative. Wikipedia, you can take it from here.)
Our group of seven gathered around a table, placemats and all, beers tucked comfortably into koozies, devouring this amazing vegetarian chili. And over the meal, I felt so very connected to these friends of mine.
Food isn't just about offering sustenance to a hungry body; food has the unique ability to draw people together, in any culture. I was worried that my shift to vegetarianism would begin to alienate me from close friends who didn't eat the way I now do. I couldn't have been more wrong about that.
After making it through Thanksgiving as a vegetarian, and then having this wonderful dinner last night, where everyone cast aside omnivorism and was momentarily vegetarian, I am understanding that it really doesn't matter what dietary restrictions you put in place: food will always bring you together.
So, thank you for a fantastic evening, Kit, Dylan, Callie, Dave, Brian, and Ryan... It was definitely more than just a pot of chili!