My Thanksgiving Is All About Cooking and Eating Together
And feeling grateful and inspired.
Thanksgiving is here. It's my favorite holiday. It's also the one time each year when almost everyone cooks and eats together. Potlucks are encouraged. Tables are extended to include friends and family, sometimes even strangers. Despite murky historical origins, it has come to symbolize a sharing of the land's bounty. At its best, Thanksgiving is about generosity and showing your love through feeding others. To me, this is what cooking is all about-and how cool that we have a national holiday that celebrates cooking and eating!
Today, Gordon and I will be roasting up loads of carrots, radishes, and turnips to make fall vegetables agrodolce, an Italian-style dish that is sweet and tangy and adds some much needed brightness to traditional Thanksgiving fare. We'll go down to the farm and harvest some tender lettuces for a big, luscious salad with an herby buttermilk dressing. Then we'll load it all up and head over to Durham for a big potluck meal with my mom and a bunch of friends.
We take Thanksgiving very seriously. Back when we lived in Brooklyn, one Thanksgiving we carefully wrapped a very large, dry-brined heritage turkey and lugged it onto the subway and then the train up to my dad and stepmom's house in Connecticut. It barely fit in the overhead luggage rack.
Everything we eat has a story behind it-a story of sunlight, soil, and water; of farmers and food workers; of land and home-and the best way to be a part of this story, or to have a positive impact on this story, is to cook. Really. I believe that cooking is the single most important thing you can do to support small, sustainable farms. Not just on Thanksgiving but as often as you can. Cook for yourselves, your families, and your friends. Invite people over and cook together. Make mistakes. Have fun. Try to buy as many ingredients as you can directly from farmers. Because the more you cook, the more you take the story of food into your own hands. You can make it a story you're proud of-one that reflects the world you want to live in.
The story of what we eat is the story of who we are. I think that it's one of the most amazing things in life and being aware of it is a gift. Suddenly, everything you cook and every meal you eat becomes a moment in the day to feel grateful and inspired. And odds are, the food you eat will be more delicious, and the company you share it with will be warmer.
Here's to making every day a little bit more like today. Happy Thanksgiving y'all!