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.

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