26 November 2008

ThanksVegan, The Meal

For the last three years our Thanksgiving table has been graced with vegetables from our CSA with Fair Share Farm. Even though the season ends in October, our farmers still have a few winter crops that keep growing into November, which they harvest and bundle and bring in to town just in time for the biggest food day of the year. We picked up this year's Thanksgiving share last Friday and drove it straight to Tulsa for ThanksVegan. Several items from our abundant local stash featured prominently in our meal, including the sadly maligned Brussels sprouts (whoever thinks those adorable little vegetables aren't delicious maybe just hasn't eaten sprouts fresh from the farm?) which we roasted until slightly crispy with olive oil and walnuts. We also had swiss chard (sauteed with onion in olive oil) which we combined with chard from Jon & Erin's yard, the food "miles" of which could be logged in a mere handful of footsteps. We also had a plenteous Wilted Spinach Salad with Fair Share spinach and a good old fashioned Sweet and Sour Cabbage, complete with a local apple from Bad Seed Farm. Looking back, I think this year's meal may be the most local we've had.

Looking forward, I am realizing how absolutely possible (dare I say, simple?) it can be to source an entire ThanksVegan almost completely locally; we could have done that with this year's meal, had we eaten in Kansas City where I have learned about so many great sources for local food. This year, the only things we ate that are not available locally are lemons, orange and cranberries, walnuts, olive oil, and olives. But everything else is available this time of year, at least around the midwest. We could have gotten bread for the stuffing and the croutons in the salad from Hot Mama Bakery or Bread of Life bakery (to name just a few). We could have gotten butternut squash, potatoes and onions from any number of places near by. We even could even have made our Tofu Roulade with local tofu from Central Soyfoods in Lawrence, KS. It hadn't occurred to me that we could do almost everything local since for our version of the holiday we typically buy a Tofurky® or a Field Roast®, but by making the main dish ourselves, we could.

Well, if we went completely local, I guess we'd need to find a midwestern substitute for cranberries. Or I suppose we could make an exception for the sake of an old tradition, even in the midst of what I think makes a lovely new tradition - a full Thanksgiving dinner made with food from close to home.

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