I may be rebellious. I may despise conformity. But I am also, in some things, a creature of habit. During the holidays, for instance, I adore tradition. Until just last year I eschewed the idea of any deviation from what I considered a traditional holiday feast. Especially when the feast was to be had on Thanksgiving.
Turkey, mashed potatoes — in my defense I had deferred many years earlier to the advent of smashed potatoes as a time-saving substitute on this count — green beans, corn, biscuits, gravy, squash, cranberry relish, stuffing. It’s unclear whether or not (most likely not!) those who celebrated the real first Thanksgiving would have considered even a portion of my meal traditional, but my opinions have always stood nonetheless.
Don’t even get me started on green bean casserole. The pilgrims did not have cream of mushroom soup nor crunchy fried onions in a can! But don’t tell me they didn’t have all the things on my menu either. I don’t want to hear it!
I am also unreasonable.
Fortunately, on account of my self-righteous inability to waiver even in the slightest, I live in an agricultural state more than capable of providing all of the above listed bounty aplenty. The bag of green beans frozen fresh from a local farm awaiting their pre-destined place at my Thanksgiving table is just one testament to this fact.
Unfortunately, for some, traditional Thanksgiving fare served on tables across the country for many decades past is not as easy to come by locally. At least not without incredible foresight and, in some cases, a comparable amount of cash — if at all.
In states like California, where potatoes may not make the list of top crops produced but kiwifruits do, locavores are required to take a more creative approach to an all-American holiday. An approach that, should it be forced upon me by availability constraints, I like to imagine I would enjoy, even embrace with great gusto. A girl can dream.
As you examine the contents of your pantry, the offerings at your farmer’s market, the availability of local produce this quickly approaching holiday season; I — the creature of habit — encourage you, should you find yourself in a position of lack in one area or another, to throw tradition to the wind. Do not succumb to the two dollar bag of Idaho Potatoes that beckon. Unless of course you live in Idaho, in which case, by all means indulge. Instead dig deeper, look closer and invent your new traditional menu.
Swap artichokes for turnips, strawberry pie for apple, peach chutney for cranberry relish. Disregard holiday-food conformity, free yourself and your Thanksgiving table, treat your taste buds to rebellion.