Harvest Festivals are celebrated after the harvest is completed in many countries around the world. A common image seen at this time of year is a cornucopia, or horn, filled with seasonal fruit and vegetables. This represents the “Horn of Plenty”, which was a symbol of bounty and plenty in ancient Greece. Just had to toss that in … 🙂
Originally, for the Europeans in the Americas, it was a celebration of giving thanks for a particular event. Arriving safely home for Frobisher; arriving safely to the new world for the Pilgrims and many other celebratory events.
The Native Americans also honoured and gave thanks for the harvest. They assisted the first pilgrims at Plymouth Rock with their festival of thanks, by providing maize, seeds and teaching them to fish. Lucky for the Pilgrims, as they were short on supplies that first year!
In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October – could it be because by November the harvest has been stored away and we are all frozen? Well almost … but not really. Since 1957, by an act of Parliament, Thanksgiving Day has always been held on the second Monday in October. It was moved from its long-standing November date to accommodate Remembrance Day. The two dates were too close and the powers that be decided to give both holidays their own space.
There are many contending dates and places listed as the first Thanksgiving Feast but really people … It’s a Harvest Festival, a Day of Thanks and it began a couple of thousand years ago. Must we pinpoint a date, place and name whom actually labelled this Feast Day “Thanksgiving”? I think not!
Give thanks for your fortunes (I’m not talking monetary), for the harvest, for all the good in the world (there is a lot), and celebrate with loved ones.
Now to the Feast! A Gluten & Dairy-Free Thanksgiving.
Two weeks ago on after a lovely hot and sunny day I watched a cooking show all about spicy, smoked/BBQ pork. The very next day with taste buds tingling and mouth-watering, I went to the store and purchased a huge pork roast for thanksgiving dinner (no, you don’t have to have turkey!). The cooking show gave me the idea to rub it with spices (didn’t write them down … so winging it!) and slow cook the roast for hours on the BBQ. Now I’m just praying it doesn’t snow on Sunday. Yes, the weather man does say plus 15 (celsius) but you never know around here … Ah well, the starter of Spicy Pumpkin soup will warm us up and help to get the celebrations under way.
Briam, which is Greek/Turkish (who really knows – it’s just yummy), is a simple and healthy way to serve a variety of vegetables. In a pan, add chunked-up, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, garlic, eggplant, red/yellow peppers, zucchini, celery, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms (I can’t eat them but you can), parsnips, turnip, (or any combo of these veggies). As the root vegetables usually take longer to cook, cut them up into smaller pieces. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice, liberally over the entire dish. Sprinkle parsley (lots), pepper, chili’s (for a little heat), thyme/oregano, basil and a pinch of salt or a dash of wheat-free Tamari. Cover and cook with low heat, for over an hour, in the Bbq. or the oven. Once it has cooked for 1 hour, remove the cover, mix it up and check to see how done it is (by poking the potatoes). Leave the cover off for the remainder of cooking time required.
Now for something fresh … a green salad with oranges, pears and walnuts, with a raspberry vinaigrette drizzled all over … my mouth is watering!
Although I can’t stand brussel sprouts, I am going to give them a try this year. They will be chopped in half and stir-fried with shallots and a balsamic reduction. Quick and easy. I’ll let you know if I actually eat any …
For a variation on stuffing – I LOVE STUFFING! – but since there is nothing to stuff (except ourselves), how about stuffing (savoury “bread”) balls – or if I get too tired, stuffing in a pan? Begin with a roasted turnip, all mashed up in a bowl. Add to the roasted turnip; a couple of slices of brown rice bread, a couple of eggs, a little all-purpose gluten-free flour, salt, caramelized onions, apples, celery, garlic, parsley and sage. Maybe some nuts too … almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts? This will all, HOPEFULLY, form into somewhat roundish balls which will be placed on a coconut oiled cookie sheet and baked. If it won’t form into rounds of delicious stuffing, it will be spread out in a pan and cooked – stuffing squares anyone? I really hope this works!
Dessert, if anyone can eat dessert after this feast, will be a banana “bread”. Another “new” recipe that has evolved in my head … Mash up a couple of bananas, add some shredded apples, almond meal (finely minced almonds), eggs, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, dates, all-purpose gluten-free flour and see what happens. There is always fruit in case of a dessert disaster.
Well, I’m off to start cooking! Pictures will be up Monday morning on my facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/SimplyYummy123/139865369835
Honour the harvest, give thanks and enjoy this holiday with friends and family.
SPARE THE TURKEY (well … at least for this weekend).
TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
Kali Orexi! (Bon Apetite in Greek). Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.