While it may seem difficult to find thankfulness and abundance during the Government Shutdown, this is the time of year of harvesting what you have put out into the world this year, the fruits of your labor and turning under into the soil what no longer serves you.
If you have an opportunity to spend time with family and friends during this holiday, enjoy it for the moment it is. Be in the company of those who build you up. There is no rule you have to spend it with relatives that complain about your dried turkey, ask when you are going to get married and settle down, or take the olives off your child’s fingers because it’s bad manners.
There are many ways you can celebrate Thanksgiving that lessens the burden on you economically, while increases your sense of community.
- Thanksgiving Potluck: Just like the Native Americans and Pilgrims in the original Thanksgiving, it wasn’t a “Martha Stewart” collection of the finest crafts and perfect pie crusts. Lower the perfection standard and invite family and friends who agree to bring a side dish that is one of their childhood favorites. You might get quite a menagerie of cultures and generational delicacies that don’t “blend” at all, but will make for great family stories and enrich your relationships in celebration.
- Farm to Family Table: We are indeed very fortunate to live in a county of such abundance, we often take it for granted. Enjoy shopping for your Thanksgiving veggies, fruits, olives, wine and nuts at your nearest farmers’ market.
- Grass-fed Gobblers: Choose organic, grass-fed turkeys when you can. Not only healthier are they for you to eat, but encourages a friendlier environment. If you order early enough, Heritage Turkeys are reputed to be the best for small family farming that offers the best quality turkeys, that save endangered birds by raising them for consumption.
- The Lonely Vegan: This isn’t necessarily a vegan or vegetarian’s favorite time for celebration. Normally relegated to heavy helpings of mashed potatoes and salad, this only fuels the fire at family gatherings. Try Allyson Kramer’s recipe for “Smoky Butternut Mac & Cheese” www.allysonkramer.com or if Tofurkey is your style, there’s this recipe from All Recipes www.allrecipes.com/recipe/tofu-turkey-i.
- Pay it Forward: Whether or not you are having a feast of your own, the option to help others in your community is the quickest way to deal with the holiday blues. Food banks are always in need of donations, but during the holiday season, it becomes even more important. Our local food bank is always looking for donations or volunteers during its annual food drives.
Also, there is the opportunity to help serve food in one of many free Thanksgiving dinners happening in our county. The warmth of a smile and a hot meal feeds an entire family who has fallen on desperate times, giving back their dignity, through compassion and listening. If you would like to volunteer to serve, or you and your family are in need of a free, hot Thanksgiving meal, go to www.slofoodbank.org.
Adaire Salome has lived and thrived on the Central Coast since 2000. For Thanksgiving, she is thankful for leftovers, olives on fingers and that she doesn’t own white carpet. When not scouring recipes for Tofurkey, she can be found writing her blog “The Adventures of ADD Girl.”