Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We are hosting the annual celebration of the harvest bounty.

Our guests will be my parents, my siblings, their spouses and children. All together, there are 10 of us. Our diets are an interesting mix. We have one vegetarian, one salt-free, one post-tonsilectomy, one on Weight Watchers core, one post-gastric bypass, one allergic to nuts and chocolate, one locavore and a few who will not try new things.

This year's Thanksgiving menu is a mix of local and "worldly" foods.

Appetizers include a fresh vegetable platter, hummus dip, and bread. The beets and carrots are local. The bread is from Wave Hill Bakery in Wilton, CT (thanks to Holbrook's Farm Stand). Everything else in this course is of unknown but organic origins.

The soup is pumpkin & butternut squash and includes carrots and an apple. All of these items are from local farms (Don Taylor, Kandew, Missy's Greenhouse). The herbs: sage, rosemary, and thyme, are from my back yard. The chicken broth is from the health food store and the label says organic and free-range, but the known history ends there.

The main course is of course a roasted turkey. It is (sigh) a Butterball. A fresh, not frozen specimen, but a Butterball nonetheless. My guests were not keen on a local free-range heritage turkey and I don't have any experience to make a convincing case. Bummer, but moving on...

Tom will be stuffed with a wild rice stuffing. The wild rice came from Canada--big place and the box didn't say exactly where in that big place. Curious, that they can grow rice in Canada, but not Connecticut. The long grain rice came from Carolina, so the box said. Connecticut really doesn't have much to offer in the way of grains. However, the carrots, onions, and thyme in the recipe are local. The parsley is ours, potted and brought in for the winter.

The gravy is, well, from the turkey and flour. Nuff said.

Alongside Tom will be:
- Fresh whole-berry cranberry sauce: The cranberries are from Lakeville, Massachussets. A great deal of MA is within my 100 miles, but this particular cranberry bog is a 167 mile drive from my house. (Cranberries are one of three fruits native to North America. Concord grapes and blueberries are the other two.)
- Applesauce. Made from 100% Connecticut Macouns, sauced in my own kitchen. A very pretty pink.
- Smashed Potatoes: like mashed, but with some chunks and the red skins still on. Potatoes from Holbrook's farm in Bethel, CT.
- Baked Sweet Potatoes: Also from Holbrook's.
- Artichokes: From the Big Y (a grocery chain in the northeast). Big Y got them from California.
- Herb Roasted Butternut Squash & Turnips: butternut squash from Don Taylor's farm in Danbury, CT and turnips from Cherry Grove Farm in Newtown, CT. Herbs from my back yard, either dried in my kitchen or wintering in pots by the sliding glass door.

For dessert we'll have:
- Apple Pie. Not home made this year, but made by the folks at Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel, CT.
- Pumpkin Pie. Home made with actual pumpkins acquired from Don Taylor's farm in Danbury, CT and fresh eggs from Holbrook's. The rest of the ingredients are worldly. Even the nutmeg, despite CT being the Nutmeg state.
- Ice Cream. From Ferris Acres Creamery (up the road).
- Fresh Whipped Cream. Unfortunately from the ultra pasteurized variety of heavy cream from somewhere else in the country. It turns out that my local milk source does not provide a heavy cream, and although their milk is cream line and you can separate out the cream, it won't whip.

The apple cider is local (Blue Jay Orchards). The wine is local (McLaughlin Vineyards). The water is local (my own well). The Pellegrino is from Italy (as were our ancesters.) The coffees are quite worldly, but predominantly fair trade. (The milk is from CT--both whole and raw varieties.) The teas are also worldly, but the honey is from right here!

All in all, not bad for Thanksgiving three months into my first locavore year. My hope for next year is to discover more local food sources earlier so I can put some favorites by and of course, get some experience cooking a local Tom.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Whatever you eat, wherever it came from, may it nourish and sustain you.

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