Thoughtful Thanksgiving Menu Planning

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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.

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