Oh the glory of Thanksgiving. There’s no other holiday that harkens us so sweetly to our kitchens and our tables and our families. It’s a chance to lose yourself in the “tradition” of something, to submit ourselves to the classic archetype of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pie, and to slowly drift away from loud family members in a coma-like nap. But what does this have to do with community agriculture?
I’m not sure actually, but it seemed like a good idea to write about Thanksgiving. I mean, there’s no other holiday that demands all of our physical and mental attention to the act of eating. So subsequently it seems like a good time to reflect upon the seasonally symbolical food groups of Thanksgiving.
Turkey: I’ve never really been sure why turkey plays such an important role considering it tends towards dryness or being dropped on floors or causing familial strife (I don’t really want to talk about it). Frankly, I think I’d much prefer to eat something more flavorful, like a goose or duck or tofu. But I still roast one every Thanksgiving. Why? Because Thanksgiving told me to.
Cranberry Sauce: Flavor-wise, and seasonally, this one makes sense. Being from Massachusetts, I’m close to the cranberry bogs of Cape Cod. And now tis’ the season for fresh cranberries and a freshly made cranberry sauce composed simply of cranberries, water, sugar, and orange zest and boiled down until delicious is honestly one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. Now tis’ the season for reveling in cranberries. If one were to observe my plate one would find tidbits of turkey and stuffing and potato gasping for attention in a flood of cranberry sauce.
Stuffing: I tend to think a lot about stuffing. Mainly because it’s awesome. And what I think about is why do we only eat it once a year? It’s the most fantastic manifestation of stale bread I can imagine. If we made stuffing with seasonally relevant ingredients imagine all the different stuffings you could be stuffing yourself with year round! Chestnut and cranberry and rosemary stuffing in the fall. Kale stuffing in the winter. Asparagus and pea stuffing in the spring. Roasted corn and cornbread stuffing in the summer. There’s no reason Thanksgiving should have stuffing all to itself.
Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes make sense because they always make sense. No one questions mashed potatoes. Although seasonally speaking they make even more sense. As the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables dwindle down we are left with roots and tubers which can last us through the winter. Made with amounts of butter and cream that are as liberal as Ron Paul, mashed potatoes are a creamy and starchy symphony of awesome.
Pie: Namely pumpkin because if your Thanksgiving meal doesn’t include pumpkin pie there must be something dreadfully wrong. Pumpkins are ready for the eating right about now, just don’t use the ones that have been steadily rotting on your front steps since Halloween. Most of us fall victim to the temptation of canned pumpkin but if you want to really experience pumpkin in its full glory grow one, split it in half, scoop out the seeds, roast the two halves until tender, scoop out the insides, blend them in a food processor and BAM. If canned pumpkin is One Direction, homemade pumpkin puree is Queen. Let’s pretend that comparison makes a lot of sense.
And this concludes my seasonally relevant contribution on the topic of Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a wonderfully marvelous Thanksgiving filled with lots of delicious and local and seasonal food that sends you all into comas (that you awake from in a timely manner feeling refreshed and ready for a week of leftovers). Happy Thanksgiving! Now go make me proud and test your limits with the cranberry sauce!