In our society, Thanksgiving is a time for turkey feasts and get-togethers with family. It’s a time when elementary school children come home with a nest of colorful feathers or a pilgrim hat on their head. It’s a time for the Macy’s day parade and football games to captivate our television sets.
Regardless of the relationship between American Indians and pilgrims, the day was treated as a celebration of a successful first harvest and survival in the new world. Both cultures dedicated the time to giving thanks for their material and spiritual accomplishments. The first Thanksgiving feast was not prepared with top of the line mixers and conventional ovens that work wonders and strain electricity bills; rather it was a modest feast and a labor of love.
Although they were probably not considering their ecological footprint, the first feast was environmentally friendly, as all crops were grown local and animals were either raised or wild.
We have much to learn from the first green Thanksgiving. In the kitchen, try reducing electricity consumption by hand mixing the mashed potatoes (plus you won’t have to go to the gym!). Rather than buying stuffing, use any stale, old bread, add onions, celery, mushrooms and any other complementing foods.
If you dried fruit this past season, or are interested in a stuffing alternative, substitute the celery and mushrooms for dried fruit such as cranberries and apricots. If you have not found a stuffing recipe, try this one:
2-4 Italian sausage links
1 cup chopped celery
4 corn muffins
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cranberries
salt, pepper and rosemary seasoned to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a pan sauté the Italian sausage links in extra virgin olive oil while breaking them into smaller pieces. This should take five minutes. Season the sausage with salt, pepper and rosemary just before you take them out of the pan. Let the sausage cool. In another pan on medium heat, mix the chopped celery and the onions together for about five to 10 minutes or until soft. Crumble the corn muffins in a large bowl and add the sausage, vegetables and cranberries together. Next, add the eggs and the chicken stock in and mix with your hands. Put the stuffing into a baking pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour depending on how you like your stuffing.
If a turkey is a mandatory part of Thanksgiving, keep in mind that, like everything else, organic is always a better choice. According to the National Turkey Federation, about 46 million turkeys are eaten during Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving had much more than just a turkey; try something different, like deer, geese, lobster, boar or even tofu.
What are you tips for a green Thanksgiving?