Want the good news first or the bad? Okay, bad news first: A night or two of freezing temps have killed the squash. It was a gamble from the start and we (or they) lost. The good news? Our survival doesn’t depend on the success of our squash crop.
The early English colonists to this country were dependent on their crops for their survival. When the pilgims in New England had a really good year, they decided to give thanks by having a big feast. They invited the locals, the natives who had helped them survive and taught them what was good to eat here and how to grow it. According to one of the only two period accounts that tell of that first “Thanksgiving”, the natives brought five deer. There were games as well, and a good time was had by all. That’s the good news. The bad news? Our United States government still refuses to grant some Native American tribes in Virginia sovereign Indian Nation status (read more about it here). So the descendents of some of the Native Americans who may have aided the colonists at Jamestown and other East Coast settlements, are not being recognized or assisted by the federal government that they helped make possible. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
Native Americans at a Powwow in Virginia Beach, Va.
I’m sorry I did not ask their names or their tribe.
And while we’re on the subject, we (husband and I) don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but this year I cooked a meal for us that (almost) falls within the definition of the word that was just voted 2007’s Word of the Year by Oxford University Press: locavore. The word means someone who eats only food that has been grown or harvested within 100 miles of where they live (this 100-mile zone is known as your “foodshed”). Here’s what we had:
Swiss chard from our garden (chopped, steamed briefly and seasoned with lemon pepper, garlic powder and olive oil)
Sweet Potatoes from the neighbor’s garden (sliced in half, placed in a casserole with butter, cooked till tender)
Corn Pudding from our corn and using a recipe from Barbara Kingsolver’s new book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (see recipe here)
Cranberries from the grocery store (organic in a bag, cooked with sugar and water)
I said almost locavore because the seasonings in all the dishes and the ingredients in the corn pudding (besides the corn) were not sourced locally. Kingsolver’s book is about the year her family went locavore; I recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about being a locavore or anyone who just wants to read a really fine writer. Or you could read my latest work called Proust was a Locavore. Just kidding.