How Not To Give Thanks

Holy crap. Thanksgiving in the U.S. is upon us once more.

I’ve got my organic, free-range, grass fed turkey in the fridge already. There’s a menu in my kitchen notebook, along with a shopping list almost completely scratched out (except for fresh thyme. No fresh thyme to be found last night, unfortunately) and a punch-list of prep work for the day before our big feast.

Ah. The big feast.

Most of us in America eat better on a daily basis than much of the world does. And yet, we feel a need to kick it up a notch (thanks, Mr. Lagasse) during the holidays, consuming even greater quantities of food than our normal obscene amounts. I find it particulary ironic that most of us have absolutely no stinking idea where our cornucopia of food comes from. It’s certainly not our own backyards.

Yes, we have a lot to give thanks for. We can go to the grocery store – at 3AM, mind you, if we choose – and “pick up” virtually any food we want. We can get it ready-made and microwaveable, even. That’s right, you don’t even have to slow cook your chicken stock, or chop up your vegetables. Just open a package and you’ll have exactly what you need to make your holiday feast a success, in minutes.Unfortunately, this is the antithesis of gratitude. While we might hold hands over our globally-generated gastronomic gourmet tomorrow and say a little prayer, I wonder what, exactly, we are giving thanks for?

Are we thanking the agribusinesses like Monsanto for the biologically-incorrect but bountiful harvest? Are we thanking the farm factories which churn out poultry that never saw the light of day so we could buy it at 99 cents a pound? Most ironically, are we thanking farmers in far-reaching, foreign countries for their hard work to ensure the American thanksgiving is plentiful and fabulous?

This year, we are mindfully sharing another local bird at our table. I’m trying hard to serve foods whose origins are at least identifiable, if not exactly regional. While it’s not the 100-mile diet, we’re trying, with potatoes from western Ohio, carrots from the mid-central part of the state, milk from the next county over, and pies made from squash and apples grown at our market’s farm.

Unfortunately, the garlic is from California. The grapefruit and orange juice concentrates for the punch are from South America. And I have absolutely no idea where the whipping cream came from. But we’re trying.

At least the whipping cream isn’t in a can.

PS: Happy Blogday to (Mother)Me. Yesterday, MotherMe was one year old. How the time flies.

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