100 Mile Thanksgiving Feast Challenge

This is the follow-up to yesterday’s post with the 100 Mile Thanksgiving Feast Challenge that I started bandying around. This should not be too complicated and it should not be onerous. This is intended to be fun, a little culinary challenge, and an adventure to try something different.

Rules: There aren’t any real rules; flexibility is key and this isn’t about being perfect. The goal here is to make as many dishes as possible* that you serve on Thanksgiving Day from a local source, local here being defined as 100 miles from your general metropolitan area.

Exemptions/Exceptions: Since there aren’t real hard and fast rules, let the rule of practicality guide your exemptions and exceptions. For example: many herbs, most seasonings, and dairy are all very difficult to get locally. Most people do not buy their flour in bulk from the local mill or get it in smaller quantities from the local farmer and grind it themselves. If you can do these things, give yourself bonus points. If not, don’t sweat it. No one is forcing you to leave the cranberry sauce or Savory Toasted Cheese off the table just because you cannot get cranberries or brie locally. This is about having fun and trying a new concept, not about ruining Thanksgiving.

Ideas and Suggestions:

Turkey is king for Thanksgiving in the typical American family, but turkey does not have to be the be all, end all protein source. Consider other easily accessible local options: venison, lamb, beef, or even goose can all frequently be obtained from a local source and can serve just as nicely.

Fresh vegetables are much more difficult to get in the mid-atlantic region in late November. Consider buying them now, at their peak, and preserve them either in the freezer or canned if possible.

Budget is important to everyone so plan ahead and save up. Locally purchased protein sources are usually much more expensive than what you find in your general grocery store. You certainly won’t be getting any of the typical “Buy $50 of groceries and get your turkey for $.25 a pound” deals so frequently advertised around Thanksgiving. This is reality, but this is also how you vote with your dollars. Consider what source you will be supporting with your money, and the fact that a CAFO turkey mill won’t be getting your money, even if it was only $.25 per pound. Vegetables bought at farmers markets are frequently comparable to what you would pay in the store, occasionally even less, and very frequently much less than you would pay for what “organics” cost in the store, so consider your savings that way.**

Challenge your family’s taste buds and maybe their ideas about what has to be on the menu for a “traditional” feast, but don’t go too far afield. If no one enjoys the meal served and the food is wasted, then it comes out as a loss.

*The key here is “as possible.” Being practical, being logical, and eating delicious food lovingly prepared for your loved ones that they will enjoy is the most important part of this challenge. But don’t bankrupt yourself or make yourself (and therefore, by extension, your family) miserable trying it. This is in the spirit of local food and local fun.

**I can feel a whole post forming on how save while splurging all at the same time for this challenge.

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