Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Thoughtful Thanksgiving Menu Planning

by Cally Carswell 


Tags: Spirituality, mindful living, Thanksgiving, slow food, Slow Food USA, NPR,

Thanksgiving Spread

Instead of gorging yourself on industrialized, Butterball turkey, canned cranberries, and just-add-broth stuffing this Thanksgiving, take a cue from the folks at Slow Food USA, who have given serious thought (and research) to the dishes that will populate their Thanksgiving spreads.

To aid in menu planning, the Slow Food USA blog is referring readers to their US Ark of Taste list, which catalogs hundreds of rare, regional American foods. These foods make for an inspired family feast, the blog contends, because it's only "fitting to prepare foods that support people in our communities and reflect our local traditions," on a holiday that's all about celebrating thankfulness through food.

Here are a few of the foods in the Ark catalog that should blend seamlessly into your Thanksgiving meal:

The site highlights eight heirloom turkey varieties, including the Royal Palm, Bourbon Red, Midget White, and American Bronze. (NPR's Monkey See blog makes a good argument for embracing these turkeys and leaving Butterball behind for good.)

It offers a list of American apples long enough to fill a whole bakery with pies.

And, it also suggests the Ivis White Cream Sweet Potato, produced in the northern U.S., and two white potato varieties, the Ozette and the Green Mountain.

Each of the ingredients on the Ark list is accompanied by a thorough description of its heritage and cultural significance, which provides the added bonus of great fodder for dinner table conversation.

Image by CarbonNYC, licensed under Creative Commons.

margo
11/25/2008 9:33:53 PM

I hope that regionally farmed turkeys are raised and slaughtered with more humanity than factory farmed turkeys. Americans consume 45 million turkeys each year just during Thanksgiving. The high demand has lead to extreme over-crowding of turkeys in farm warehouses and genetic mutilation that disables them from being able to stand upright much of the time because they have been bred to have abnormally large breasts. If we're going to have an intelligent discussion on thoughtful Thanksgiving menu planning, animal cruelty shouldn't be ignored.


bennett gordon
11/21/2008 5:03:56 PM

Hey Cally, Our sister magazine, Mother Earth News, has an amazing guide to a sustainable Thanksgiving. Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/5hq6fm