It occurred to me this week that the traditional Thanksgiving meal is – in fact – an iconic example of real, local, in-season food. In autumn, our seasonal foods are all highlighted at the event: potatoes, cranberries, brussels sprouts, yams, sweet potatoes, applesauce, pumpkins and squash.
Also, autumn and winter is the heralded time of pies, meats and warm thick family meals. Can you imagine eating this heavy meal in August? Likewise, can you imagine feeling fulfilled with fruit salad and potato salad in November? We all have a sense of how we want to eat seasonally. Part of it is likely innate, but we can build off of the cultural knowledge that is passed down through our seasonal meals.
Food writers, such as Michael Pollan, bemoan the fact that we have lost a lot of the cultural food knowledge that used to be passed down in the kitchen from one generation to the next. It’s as if the current generations don’t know how to eat, most of the time, and that’s why it’s so easy to fall prey to the glistening lights and greasy palates of fast food joints. However, our food heritage isn’t completely gone. At times like Thanksgiving, we remember grandma’s secret recipe, we cherish the old foods and the long processes of cooking them.
But, we cram all our favorite foods into one event, then sit, stuffed as a turkey, snoozing on the couch.
What if – instead of saving the tradition for Thanksgiving Day – we carried it over into the entire season? If we made one or two of those special dishes every week, we’d be celebrating our heritage, spending time in community cooking and eating, and we’d be attuning our food senses to the natural dishes of the season.
There is so much to be thankful for, and there are so many local foods to be thankful for, that saving up for one day a year hardly seems possible. Express gratitude with your kitchen. Feed yourself with heritage.
2 Delicata Squash
=/ We also had a 5 lb bag of potatoes, but I for got them at the farm.