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The Scoop on Sustainability: A slower Thanksgiving

Columnist

Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

It’s coming.  The holiday best known for turkey and football: Thanksgiving. This short stretch of time between Halloween and Christmas is often overlooked. We live in a society where material demand is outpacing moderation, and over-consumption is the norm. Thanksgiving is one of the few times people slow down to appreciate life. This period, however brief, gives us the opportunity to enjoy good family, friends, and food.

Or does it? The holidays are a great time for cooking. I flip through magazines, eager to find new recipes, but the articles I find are nearly always accompanied by overeating facts. There’s advice on how to stay thin and avoid bloating, along with warnings of calorie intake and saturated fat.  Dinner has become a gauntlet. While eating has always been the center of this holiday, whatever happened to simply knowing and enjoying your food, or to the fundamentals of being thankful? 

We forget this story of Thanksgiving. Hundreds of years ago, the Pilgrims arrived in a new world. Ignorance of the land led to sickness and starvation. Fortunately, local Native Americans shared their techniques, and the colonists were able to succeed. A feast was prepared in celebration of the generosity. This event made history, but it seems that the initial feelings of gratitude and community are fading.

While America is becoming a country characterized by greed and excessive waste, there is a way to change. We can reclaim the spirit by practicing slow food. While it’s hard to find counter space in the kitchen to cook, I love helping my family. I become connected to the food, because I was the one to prepare it, and it’s satisfying to see this effort on our plates.

My best advice to you this season is to get involved. Learn how that food got to your table, and further, take an active role in getting it there. Ask friends for recipes, or look them up online.  Even if you’re nervous and still learning how to cook, every contribution matters.  Instead of just eating, try washing, chopping, mixing or sifting. Talk as you do it; enjoy the time with your family.  Be thankful.

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