This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday that results in the busiest travel days of the year, as people venture out to spend the day with family and friends. But today, it seems that a lot of the significance of the holiday has been lost to the idea of eating until we’re sick and fighting crowds to score holiday deals. It’s sad really, since this holiday was a time to be thankful for basically, survival. As plimouthplantion.org states:
“Today’s national Thanksgiving celebration is a blend of two traditions: the New England custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest, based on ancient English harvest festivals; and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting.”
In those times, we were reliant on the harvest, otherwise we would go hungry. Today we can simply go to the grocery store and buy any item we would like, seasonal or not. Though many thanksgiving dishes still revolve around seasonal produce and meats, not many families are going out and hunting wild turkeys, or digging sweet potatoes, and picking pumpkins. Sugar was too expensive, and the pilgrims did not have flour to bake cakes and make pie crusts. We’ve lost site of the origin of our food, and maybe this is where some of the value of the holiday has been lost. Many feel now that as a culture we have lost our connection to the land, and in turn, a connection to the world around us. Dazzled by smart-phones, tablets, and TV’s we’ve sacrificed conversation, bonding, and knowledge sharing.
From personal experience, and many farmers i’m sure can relate, there is something magical gained from the hard work put into growing food and raising animals. The profession is based upon so many uncontrollable factors, that when there is a bountiful harvest, you can’t help but be proud and thankful. Farming is not simply a profession though, it is a way of life. You cannot take a day off from farming, the land is basically your child.
Even if you do not farm you probably recognize the ability of food to bring people together. If your holiday is anything like mine, the kitchen is the busiest room in the house, as everyone gathers around to catch up on each others lives, as the kids run circles around the house. This relationship with food and culture should be a part of every day life. Wouldn’t it be nice to share a meal with your family every day? (Some family members more than others, maybe). Should it really take a holiday to bring us together and appreciate what we are thankful for?
Take note of how food is centerfold for family and cultural ties. Thanksgiving could be a way of life, in a way. Purchasing seasonal is a way to come to realization about the bounty of the harvest, and gain an appreciation for the nourishment we receive from our food. Having dinner around the table with our family allows us to reinforce bonds and provide each other support. So, this Thanksgiving take time to be thankful for the bounty that we as a nation have, and the costs of having that food affordable and easily accessible, and make it a goal to share at least one meal a week around the table.