Friday, November 27, 2009

A very local Thanksgiving

Well, really, a "somewhat" local Thanksgiving. James and I talked about preparing only local foods for Thanksgiving this year, and made what I would call a valient effort, but we discovered that it really is a very difficult thing to do. During their year of eating local MacKinnon and Smith use only ingredients that come from within 100 miles of their home in Vancouver, Canada. They give up salt and sugar and flour, among other ingredients, except for what was already in their home when they began their project.

The book contains a page-long passage about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving in which I learned that the feast we commemorate, which was back in 1621, probably consisted of "corn raised from Wampanoag seed, and five deer provided by the ninety visiting Wampanoag warriors, plus wild turkeys and other fowl, fish and shellfish, wild nuts and berries, and a local species of squash."

Our own Thanksgiving had some elements of this, sans the seafood, deer, squash and corn. Our turkey, while not "wild" was free-range raised and came from the Colchester farm in Plympton, Massachusetts. It was butchered on Tuesday, and delivered quite fresh to our door on Wednesday. The delivery was actually just lucky. Ron Maribett, who runs the farm, also teaches part-time at Bridgewater State College and told us he would drop it off since he had to come out our way to teach that day anyway. We also had green beans and peas from Colchester farm, as well as the celery that James used in the stuffing. I had frozen all of these vegetables over the summer when they came in our CSA farm box. Even more local, Hanson farm, here in Bridgewater, about 2 miles from our house, provided us with the cranberries, from which I made dressing, and the eggs and onions which were used as ingredients in several dishes. The apples used in the stuffing were from Clark Bros. Orchards in Ashfield, Massachusetts, and the apple cider came from C.N. Smith farm in East Bridgewater. For dessert I made pumpkin pie from scratch. The pumpkin originally came from Colchester farm. I had cut out the flesh and frozen it last month and then thawed and pureed it on Wednesday and Thursday. I have enough puree for my Christmas pie, too. This is good, since I learned today on NPR that there is a pumpkin shortage. Plus, I have another whole pumpkin that I am cutting the flesh from today to freeze for later.The crust was made with flour from King Arthur flour in Vermont.

We opened two bottles of wine yesterday. The first one, a Rkatsiteli (yes, that is spelled correctly!) came from Westport Rivers Winery in Westport, Ma. The other, a sparkling red wine, came from Australia. I don't guess anything could be any further away from Bridgewater Massachusetts than that. I will say that we already had it in our wine rack since last spring. I will further justify it by saying that we did support a local business, The Wine Palace, in West Bridgewater when we bought it, and that we purchased it during a fundraiser for the Bridgewater Public Library, which, I will point out once again, is in dire straits.

This Thanksgiving the Hayes-Bohanan's dined alone. We had no guests. Sometimes we have company for Thanksgiving, and sometimes we go to a friend's house, but this year it was just the three of us. I often hear people with small families say that they eat out on Thanksgiving because they just don't see a reason to cook a big meal for a small family. I argue that my family, however small, is worth the effort to cook the meal. It is a holiday, a special occasion that warrants a big meal. We all helped to cook this meal and we all enjoyed it, and will enjoy the leftovers for the next week or so. We also got our the good silver, (yes, for just the three of us, because we are worth it). I try to use the silver at least once a month. It never gets tarnished if it is used regularly. We also (almost) always eat in our dining room. It is very rare that we would eat in our kitchen.

Things that were not from local sources included any sugar or spices used, and some of the other baking ingredients, the walnuts I used in the green beans, and, ironically, the potatoes my daughter mashed. It would actually have been pretty easy to get local potatoes, but I couldn't see buying them when we already had a whole bunch at home. (MacKinnon and Smith talk about eating a lot of potatoes in their book, too.) Like the potatoes, most things that did not come from a local source were things we already had on hand. I think James bought two or three things specifically to make the stuffing that may or may not have come from local sources.

So, all in all, not what a real locavore would call a local meal, but I'm giving us a pass on this one.

1 comment:

  1. Yes -- a wonderful Thanksgiving indeed, and reasonably local. The sugar was not local, of course, but it was fair trade and organic, as was the coffee, of course. A good baseline from which to start planning next year's feast!