Monday, November 11, 2013

Meatless Monday: Celebrating Regional Traditions

And, they’re off… In the quest for the ultimate meal, Thanksgiving Day chefs everywhere are pulling out their trusty cookbooks, notebooks, and boxes filled with family recipes — the traditional tools for holiday menu planning.

Slow Food USA reminds us that there were regional celebrations in honor of the harvest long before 1941, when the last Thursday in November was declared as the legal Thanksgiving Day. Here is the interactive regional map of the USA Slow Food USA recently posted. Click on a region, and you will see a variety of recipes from harvest celebrations unique to that place. The Northeast has the most offerings. While  Nasaump may not find a place on your holiday table, Stewed Pompion might. As a New Englander, I encountered many surprises as I traveled West on the map, finally arriving in Hawaii. I don’t expect to try the recipe for Kulolo, but I enjoyed watching Uncle Val and his family making a very large batch.

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to thank your family farmers in your area — by shopping at farmer’s markets and farm stands or by purchasing foods labelled “local” at the supermarket.

Do you have a memory of a natural food you once ate but can no longer find — say a certain type of squash or dried bean? Slow Food’s Ark of Taste project “travels the world” collecting such products. “The Ark was created to point out the existence of these products, draw attention to the risk of their extinction within a few generations, invite everyone to take action to help protect them.” You can find these foods listed alphabetically in the Slow Food Ark of Taste online catalogue. Here you can read about the history of the food and its nutritional value. Because some farmers have made the decision to propagate distinctive foods at risk or in danger of extinction, you may, in some cases, be able to purchase these products. If that is the case, a link will take you to the LocalHarvest site with sources for the item. 

If you would rather just shop, go directly to LocalHarvest where you can shop by category with the options either to purchase online or to locate the closest retailer for whatever you desire.

Have fun. Happy planning!

Happy Monday! 

Have a great week. Eat well. 

I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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