We’re almost at the most wonderful time of the year – eating season! It’s also a time to gather with family and friends and count your blessings. At Slow Food, our blessings consist of Good, Clean, and Fair food, and we want to share our stories of how we infuse those principles into our own Thanksgiving traditions.
Because my husband and I are farmers, we raise and cook most of the food we eat year-round. Thanksgiving is the one time of year when we supply the food and relax while others prepare it. We grow vegetables and raise turkeys, and our families use those ingredients to cook the full Thanksgiving meal. Being local farmers, “Turkey Day” means something very different for us – it’s not Thanksgiving Day, but rather a few days before, when we butcher the turkeys. While this is not the most appetizing of topics, it’s important as we can experience and appreciate how food gets from farm to table. We know how our turkeys are raised and slaughtered. We know how they were treated and what they were fed, etc. – this is the best turkey around, in our humble opinion!
This Thanksgiving is my first being a part of the Slow Food family, and I am inspired to start my first adventure in cooking with Good, Clean and Fair foods. Being a city-dweller, it’s not always easy for me to incorporate these principles into my diet, which is why I am starting small and trying it out with a few dishes. For a Friendsgiving I am attending, I will be purchasing a free-range turkey from Clifton Natural Foods. The turkey comes from Kuck farms, and I think it would be great to support the local farmer who is treating the turkeys with respect (free range, no hormones or antibiotics). I’ve never cooked a turkey before, so wish me luck!
In addition, every year I make an apple crostada (similar to an apple pie, but more rustic). This year, I am going to try to get more local ingredients for the butter, eggs, and apples.
I don’t let turkey bones go to waste after the big day. Instead, I make an easy turkey stock from the remnants to use throughout the winter. Typically a day or two after holiday, I take the turkey carcass, cover and simmer it in a pot with water, raw vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery (I put some veg aside before making my side dishes), and dried or fresh herbs. After 2 to 3 hours of simmering, pour the stock through a strainer (if there are bits of meat left, you can pull them off and freeze separately for another use, like turkey enchiladas!), and refrigerate overnight. The next day you can easily remove the layer of fat from the top and freeze the stock in containers or flat in sealed plastic bags. I’m always glad when I make turkey broth – it’s a relaxing way to spend time after Thanksgiving, and then I have broth ready for all my winter soups and stews!
We hope this inspires you to try preparing your Thanksgiving dishes with the Good, Clean, Fair, principles. If this is your first time, remember to start small…the more you get familiar with these ingredients and local suppliers, the easier it is to build on them at your next event. Also, share these tips with your family and friends, as that is the best way to get the word out about Slow Food principles!
P.S.: We’re thankful for all the support you give us throughout the year!