We all know about the Pilgrims ... we have been taught since our childhood that they are the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is almost as if we were taught that every November there has been a Thanksgiving celebration since their first little meal, but that is not the case. For some decent information (not perfect information because it does come from the internet) check out this LINK. And don't forget the first national Thanksgiving holiday proclamation made by George Washington:
"Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country...for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed...and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually...To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best."But, enough of the history. Let's talk about the Thanksgiving meal! I'm a pretty plain guy when it comes to food. I'm not a big fruit or vegetable guy, but I am working on it. My perfect Thanksgiving meal would consist of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn (or preferably corn casserole), fresh bread, green beans, and pumpkin pies. If you wanted to get fancy I guess I would take some stuffing and maybe some carrots and celery, but not much more than that. Oh, except for maybe a ham if a lot of people were going to show up! So, as I was thinking about the good meals I will be eating in the days to come I realized there is quite the possibility that we could raise/grow most of our Thanksgiving meal. How rewarding and tasty would that be?!? So, I did some searching and I came up with some links to get me (and you) thinking about a home raised/grown Thanksgiving meal.
Lets start out with the TURKEY because it is the main deal. Click on the link to read an article about heritage turkey from the New Farm website. I was wondering if I could raise a couple in the back yard next year ... hmmm, I wonder how much poultry my yard can support? If nothing else I guess I could try and persuade my dad and family to raise some for all of us down on the farm. Just some poultry fencing, feed, and water. I think I even could find a good local source for heritage birds!
Next we have to look at the garden stuff. The corn, potatoes, pumpkins, and green beans. This will be the easiest to do because we already have the garden, we just need to make room for the goodies. This year we had success with fall green beans and slight success with the pumpkins. We can easily build on that. We did not plant corn or potatoes this year, but could do so if I really wanted to. The key with those is that we keep them mulched and composted to combat the walnut tree problems in the soil. The only question I have is, how do you make cream corn? I need cream corn for the corn casserole (along with butter and sour cream and corn bread mix, but we can sneak those in from the store), and I think the corn casserole is very important. Here is a LINK on growing good sweet corn. A LINK to an article about growing organic potatoes. A LINKto an article about bean varieties. And finally, a LINK that tells you how to make a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin not from a can.
What is a Thanksgiving meal with out some bread or rolls to sop up the gravy and to use for sandwiches at supper time? I used to be a store bought white bread only guy, but since my wife has begun making our own bread I must admit it is growing on me. Check out this LINK on baking whole grain bread.
Now, I realize that I might have to buy some sour cream and butter (I'll get the egg from the chickens) to make my corn casserole. Of course I could always start milking the Dexters ... But, I started to wonder what else would make this meal from the "farm". How about some whole grains for all the breads and possibly for the stuffing? Check out this ARTICLE by Gene Logsdon from an issue of Mother Earth News circa 1978! If you are really serious about raising your own grains you can even try and find an out of print copy of his book Small-Scale Grain Raising.
Will it happen? I guess you'll have to check out the blog next Thanksgiving season to find out ... I for one hope we can make it work because I see it as another step in the farming direction.