That Thanksgiving Challenge Again

Eat Local Thanksgiving Challenge

We are closing in on a month away from Thanksgiving here in the States (happy belated Thanksgiving to my one or two Canuck readers) and my challenge hasn’t left my mind, but I am realizing the significance of the challenge, or really, how many challenges this encompasses.

Challenge No. 1 — Avoiding “Weird” Foods
There are very few “weird” foods to me, however, when dealing in particular with my older family members who have very deep rooted food “comfort zones,” serving unfamiliar produce that is in season locally is going to come across as “weird.” A roasted root vegetable salad like I made several years ago is the perfect seasonal produce dish that I can serve, but when I made it a while back, it was definitely not the most popular dish on the table due mostly to its unfamiliarity.

Challenge No. 2 — Handling “Traditional” Expectations
We always have corn on the table at Thanksgiving, therefore, it must be traditional, right? If I want to serve local corn, I have to hope there is still some around right now and de-cob it (is that at word?) and freeze it. Otherwise, I either will miss that window or make an exception for the table. Further, I will have to be okay with traditional non-local foods like cranberries being there because it just “wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.” That’s okay too.

Challenge No. 3 — Being Okay Not Being Perfect
I frequently set myself a goal and when I see that I cannot perfectly execute said goal, I tend to give up altogether. I recognize this as the character flaw that it is. So when I see myself having to make exceptions (like Sweet Potato Casserole with locally grown sweet potatoes but HFCF-dense marshmallows and maple syrup from Vermont), I wonder why I am even bothering. Instead, I am trying to focus on two things: a) alternatives to the objectionable ingredients (like the maple syrup) or b) barring any alternatives, accepting that this is supposed to be fun, not make me insane and my family unhappy.

Saturday morning, I intend to make a visit to the South of the James Farmers Market and see what there is to see. I would like to make my roasted root vegetable dish again, though it has been some years since I last did it, and serve it. Those who don’t try it will miss out. I am looking for interesting apple dishes to try since apples are so easy and abundant locally. And I will see what fresh remaining summer-type produce I can get now and preserve in ways to put them on the table on Thanksgiving Day.

Soon, particularly after visiting SotJ this weekend, I hope to start scratching out a menu, which I intend to share here.

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