I have some thoughts on Thanksgiving the history and food filled holiday. I don't want to soapbox it, so I will only say it is a loaded holiday. I am never really sure how to talk about my misgivings surrounding the event or discuss the context of the celebration or whether to even bring it up. Mentioning my divided thoughts on the subject at all is likely bad marketing. But this year, I decided to mention it. So here is a more realistic tale of Thanksgiving, from a brief internet search this morning. It leads with a frank history and follows with a gentler version. I didn't know that Thanksgivings after the "first" one in Plymouth were direct celebrations of massacres of Indigenous Americans.
The parts of this Thanksgiving write-up that I appreciated the most were these two perspectives:
"there always has been a Thanksgiving story of some kind or other for as long as there have been human beings. There was also a "First" Thanksgiving in America, but it was celebrated thirty thousand years ago.(11) At some time during the New Stone Age (beginning about ten thousand years ago) Thanksgiving became associated with giving thanks to God for the harvests of the land. Thanksgiving has always been a time of people coming together, so thanks has also been offered for that gift of fellowship between us all. Every last Thursday in November we now partake in one of the OLDEST and most UNIVERSAL of human celebrations, and THERE ARE MANY THANKSGIVING STORIES TO TELL."
And the following
Today the town of Plymouth Rock has a Thanksgiving ceremony each year in remembrance of the first Thanksgiving. There are still Wampanoag people living in Massachusetts. In 1970, they asked one of them to speak at the ceremony to mark the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrim's arrival. Here is part of what was said:
"Today is a time of celebrating for you -- a time of looking back to the first days of white people in America. But it is not a time of celebrating for me. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People. When the Pilgrims arrived, we, the Wampanoags, welcomed them with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end. That before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a tribe. That we and other Indians living near the settlers would be killed by their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them. Let us always remember, the Indian is and was just as human as the white people.
Although our way of life is almost gone, we, the Wampanoags, still walk the lands of Massachusetts. What has happened cannot be changed. But today we work toward a better America, a more Indian America where people and nature once again are important."
Both of these sentiments incorporate my main heart, we are alive along with the land and its creatures. It is through our relationship to this beautiful world, with its ornery weather, diverse ecosystems, and all the unique, individual organisms, that we are able to survive and thrive. We must value this relationship and strive to cultivate and engage with it.
Okay, I guess I did get a little soap-boxy. Truth be told, the history of Thanksgiving has never played into my practice of the gathering. For me it is a fully secular experience. My family treats Thanksgiving as a time to be with family and eat really well. I try to incorporate gratitude into my daily life. I don't remember much of what I learned as a child on the holiday. I have vague memories of a maypole and bringing various foods to potluck style events. And maybe I remember making some construction paper pilgrims. I think I was lucky enough to be surrounded by adults that represented an at least partially historically sensitive reckoning. Moving forward, I plan to more actively acknowledge the holidays whole history in the context of the United States and in the context of humankind. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue growing and try to do better.
Eat up and enjoy each others company! I plan to.
Beets by the pound
Brussels sprouts by the stalk and by the pint
Cabbage: pointy sweet, big green classic, savoy, red
Carrot by the pound
Kohlrabi: Beastly beauties!
Greens: Arugula, mustard, tatsoi, Tokyo bekana (bok choi lettuce), spinach (limited)
Swiss Chard: main veins damaged by the cold but that leaf lamina is sugary sweet.
Collards: Even sweeter now!
Potatoes: Cal white versatile, Dark Red Norland: versatile, elfe- waxy buttery
Sweet Potatoes- the tiny ones are my favorite roasted whole or tossed in stew
Radishes- Daikon, green meat (sweet), black, watermelon, and pink
Rutabaga: The turnips mild cousin. Creamy and sweet. Excellent roasted.
Winter squash: Delicata, Spaghetti, Festival dumpling & Long Pie!
Turnips - purple top and golden globe