Countdown to Turkey Day: <24 hours.
When most of us think of Thanksgiving, a traditional cornucopia of foods come to mind. Turkey of course, and for the vegetarians, the gelatinous “Tofurkey" alternative; mashed potatoes and stuffing smothered in gravy from the bird’s belly, sweet potatoes, corn, an assortment of vegetables including squash, pumpkin, and zucchini; cranberry sauce, apple pie, etc.
These Thanksgiving staples largely reflect the local fare that would have been available to the pilgrims in Plimoth, Massachusetts, and their Native American friends four centuries ago for an autumn harvest feast–whatever your notions of the contentious history behind the real “First Thanksgiving.”
In fact, according to History.com, many of the foods commonly consumed at modern Thanksgiving celebrations would NOT have been eaten by early settlers in the 1600s. Among the Thanksgiving “impostors” are potatoes and sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie (sweet foods were uncommon, as sugar supplies were limited).
And of course, harvest feasts in other regions of the country would have looked quite different from those in New England, as variations in climate, soil, and precipitation conditions yielded production of distinct crops.
So this Thanksgiving, why not try something new and “make like the pilgrims” by eating local!
The Eat Well Guide, along with the Consumers Union, is serving up a “Thanksgiving Local and Organic Food Challenge” to encourage people to take advantage of local, sustainably produced resources.
Here are the details:
“This Thanksgiving, try to incorporate at least 1 local, sustainable, or organic item into your Thanksgiving feast. Search the Eat Well Guide to help you find local farms, stores and markets and then submit your recipe here:
[Another great resource I’ve discovered is the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) “eat local” website where you can search for fresh, local produce by home state and season of the year.]
Why eat local?
The Eat Well Guide makes the following case:
1. Buying local and organic food is better for you. Organic food has fewer pesticides and more nutrients, and is grown in a sustainable manner.
2. Buying local supports your local economy and members of your community.
3. Local and organic food is better for the environment. Local farmers practice organic and/or sustainable methods which use less chemicals. Plus, eating local reduces your carbon footprint because it hasn't been shipped thousands of miles before it gets to your table.
So you see, the simple act of eating local benefits you, your community, and the environment! Check out http://www.eatwellguide.org for more information.
Does your family regularly eat non-traditional foods on Thanksgiving? In my family, we can always count on spaghetti—my Italian grandmother whips up pasta regardless of the occasion!
Sarah Jane for My Wonderful World