Bring What You Have
Thanksgiving without all the trimmings was refreshing and delicious.
few years ago, we were invited to a Thanksgiving dinner with a twist. The idea was to prepare and enjoy a festive meal like the one the Pilgrims had in 1621.
The rules were simple: no buying items for this meal. We could bring things we already had on hand,
Asuch as canned goods or food from the garden, or we could barter for what we wanted to bring. No matter what we brought, each dish would have a story. We were fortunate; a friend had given us a few ducks that were now in the freezer. I didn’t know how to cook them but soon poked my nose into a series of cookbooks.
It was amazing when we finally arrived, in early afternoon that Thanksgiving Day, at a beautiful home settled among tall evergreen trees and with a large window facing the salty Puget Sound. The time of year was gray and overcast, but there was no threat of rain.
With about 10 people, the group was intimate and cozy. Our meal began with homemade popcorn as an appetizer. It tasted delicious with the warmed cider we were drinking. And the children in the group loved the novelty of having popcorn for dinner!
We talked about the lives of our early ancestors and what they might have eaten. We talked about the simplicity of their meal, made with items they had managed to plant, fish for and no doubt hunt.
As we moved on to the main course, we were astonished at the dishes that graced the table: duck and salmon, green salads and fruit salads, baked potatoes. For dessert we indulged in a persimmon pie and Swedish fruit soup.
We laughed and shared stories about where these foods had come from. Many gardens had produced some of it. Along with our ducks, the persimmons had been given as gifts. (Thankfully the gentleman who brought the pie knew how to make a pie crust.) The host family had caught the salmon almost in their front yard. I don’t remember anyone saying they missed turkey or pumpkin pie.
After dinner we all took a walk outside and later gathered in front of the fireplace to play board games. The words that come to mind when remembering this meal are simply satisfying.
It felt good to have taken the extra steps in finding the food. It felt good that it was uncomplicated and delicious. All of it together made for a terrific Thanksgiving that I will always remember.