In the U.S. we’re about to celebrate what used to traditionally be harvest time by gathering around a previously frozen turkey that spent its short life jacked up on hormones, antibiotics, and corn (probably in that order), then filling ourselves to bursting with mounds of food drowned under a liter of gravy*.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, so Thanksgiving is kind of fun since I get to make things I don’t normally whip up, and I appreciate the desire to get together with family (as long as no one forgets the wine). I just find it weird that we still celebrate Thanksgiving to the gut-bursting level that we do in modern society.
Given the obesity rates in America and our odd relationship with food (as in the “screw flavor and quality, give me as much as possible, as cheaply as possible, as quickly as possible” relationship), I can’t understand why we still feel the need to gorge ourselves every fourth Thursday in November.
After all, the whole notion of harvest time, bringing in the crops, and thanking the fertility gods for providing a substantial bounty to fatten up on before the lean times of winter has been a bit skewed by modern farming (most Americans now think it’s normal to have “fresh” blueberries in January and grapes in March) and the above mentioned American attitude toward food.
I know this is a lot to ask, but perhaps after you’ve checked for the third time whether or not your belt can expand anymore (trust me, it can’t), when you’re swearing you couldn’t eat another bite (all the while wondering when the pie is going to be served), when you’re trying to decide just how horrible it would be to go out shopping on Thanksgiving, could you take a moment to say thanks to all the local farmers who would be glad to show you the joy of eating seasonally, to the home bakers who know that bread should only have a handful (not a paragraph) of ingredients, and to the growers who aim to raise their animals humanely.
After all, eating is something we do every day, it’s something we should enjoy with all the senses, and it’s something that can have a huge impact on the world. A few choices, a few changes here and there can make a huge difference.
*PS – To everyone who’s reading this from outside the U.S. and wondering about this strange holiday…although I personally find the stuff disgusting, it is indeed true that Americans eat a freaky amount of gravy on Thanksgiving. A very freaky amount.
Want to Learn More About Making Wiser Food Choices?
Here’s a few books to get you started….
- Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss – You will never look at packaged food the same way again.
- Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser – After reading this you’l wonder how anyone can put fast food in their mouths.
- Food Rules by Michael Pollan – Simple, logical, sensible advise (mostly) about eating well.
- Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall – If Jane Goodall ran the world it would be a utopia!
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – Taking the seasonal eating challenge…and she makes cheese!
TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCIL. YOU CAN FIND HER WORK AT TAMMIE PAINTER’S BOOKSTORE & GALLERY.