Thanksgiving Feast: 4 Recipes for a Homemade Holiday Dinner

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to choose foods selectively and reflect on the bounty set before us.

| November/December 2006

  • Choose fresh, local and organic ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal that celebrates all that's good about our country's culinary heritage.
    Photo By Joe Coca

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s so simple and so pure. It’s about cooking, eating and sharing. Period.

Unlike some holidays, Thanksgiving results in very little waste (apple and onion peels can be composted), and as for leftovers—well, leftovers are kind of the point, aren’t they? Turkey sandwiches, pie in the fridge and reheated stuffing. Yum.

I also have a lot of respect for the Thanksgiving traditions. When I think of the effort it must have taken to pluck, clean and roast a bird or to bake a pie 400 years ago, I’m in awe. And when it comes to this celebration, many of us—no matter how busy we are—have the urge to get back to those basics and mindfully prepare a nourishing, heartfelt meal.

Returning to basics, in fact, was the inspiration for these recipes. I took my cue from the folks at Slow Food, a group that advocates eating seasonal, local and organic foods as much as possible. Founded in 1986 in Italy, the now international Slow Food movement encourages us to make smart choices at the market—choices that affect our physical and emotional health and the planet’s well-being.

As farmer poet Wendell Berry says, “eating is an agricultural act.” This year, why not try an heirloom bird, some old-fashioned apples or maybe just some local honey? Each step makes a delicious difference.

Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy  

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