Monday, November 21, 2011

Finding meaning for the Thanksgiving holiday

After watching "We Shall Remain" and reading 1491 by Charles Mann this year, I feel like I have a much better grasp on the actual story of the Pilgrim's and the Wampanoag's interactions and historic feast.
Screen shot from Episode 1 of "We Shall Remain"
But I honestly don't want to celebrate these English colonizers eroding the American's quality of life and destroying life in general with disease, Christianity, and war.  And I definitely don't want to celebrate their Puritan ideals which are still pretty pervasive in our society.

So I can either choose to not celebrate the day at all, or to find something, somewhere in the message that's relevant to me.  The giving of thanks is a good place to start.  Thanks for the harvest, thanks for the bounty of food that we are able to store for the winter.  Thanks for the turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie, grits (traditional to my family's Thanksgiving dinner), hey wait, these are all foods native to the Americas!  One of my favorite subjects is food origins, so this realization that almost all of the traditional foods served at Thanksgiving dinner are originally American foods feels like something worth observance (although it seems so obvious).

Supai Red parch corn from my garden this year

Jalapenos from our CSA

For me then, the Thanksgiving holiday will be a celebration of uniquely American foods.  To give thanks and honor the land which I feel so tied to even though my ancestors did not evolve here.  We're traveling to be with family this year, but maybe someday in the future I'll be hosting my own Thanksgiving celebration.  So here's some ideas for my fantasy future Thanksgiving menu:

-Smoked turkey (preferably wild)
-Gravy made from turkey drippings and acorn flour
-Tamales with peppers and quail eggs (although eggs might not be in season?)
-Venison stew with potatoes and wild mushrooms
-Black beans and sweet potatoes
-Squash pie with a cornmeal crust
-pickled green beans

Options are pretty endless really...

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