Today is a holiday of "Thanksgiving" for many people in the United States. However, I think it is important to understand that this is not a day of Thanksgiving for many people, but a day of mourning. Dr. Gary Kohl has reminded us that Native Americans are not fond of Thanksgiving. Here is the text of a plaque that overlooks Plymouth Rock, the site where Puritans first landed on Native American soil that explains why Thanksgiving has only negative connotations for non-whites: "Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. To them, Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture. Participants in a National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today." If you are fortunate enough to be able to spend Thanksgiving with family members, you truly do have something to be thankful about. But for multitudes in the United States today, holidays like Thanksgiving are simply grim reminders of crimes committed against them that destroyed their families. It is very easy to look at the condition of our culture today, to see the injustice and abuses occurring on a daily basis, and lose hope. Why should one be thankful in the face of terrible injustice, where evil flourishes with seemingly no end in sight, and where it appears that there is no way to fight the corruption that is now the norm? Yet, there is still reason to be thankful...
Sitting down to a big meal with family and friends can be a source of great joy and wonderful memories. By adding fermented foods to your table you provide enzymes and probiotics to aid in the digestion of those ubiquitous and comforting Thanksgiving foods. The microorganisms in these foods are wonderful; and the flavors created through fermentation are unparalleled. Layering the meal with these foods, or simply adding one or two, keeps things both easier on the belly and more interesting for those unfamiliar with the practice of home fermentation. There are many ways to incorporate these foods into your Thanksgiving meal. Sweet treats are prevalent this time of year and many of us will spend a bit of time baking during this week of Thanksgiving. There are a few ways to add culture even to the dessert table.
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy - cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and dinner rolls - these are the traditional foods of Thanksgiving. They are hearty and comforting, filling and tasty, carb and sugar-laden. Thanksgiving might be a feast day in which we give thanks, but for those whose health dictates a low-carb diet, Thanksgiving might seem like nothing but a plate of turkey. Here’s a little secret, though: the familiar flavors of your Thanksgiving favorites can be had without piling on the carbs.
Celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday is just as much about food these days as it is about being thankful, so menu planning is key to a successful feast. Discovering how to plan a completely gluten free Thanksgiving meal (free of strange substitutions and not lacking in flavor) is definitely something for which to be thankful.