October 9th, 2009

Thanks for the eats

Canadian Thanksgiving, for those from elsewhere or just confused, is a harvest celebration. There’s some murky bits of American tradition in there, but we have no silly mythology around the holiday (other than Tom Turkey, I suppose)–we’re just glad there is stuff to eat.

This used to make a good deal more sense to me when I actually experience the harvest. Where I grew up, Thanksgiving was the last weekend of county fair season (after that were only the big fairs, like The Royal Winter Fair). All through fall, we’d be bringing in tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, pumpkins and squash, the prettiest of which were entered in some fair or other (I would like you to know that I won a ribbon for my butternut squash in grade 3; not sure if it was a first-place ribbon, but I choose to believe it was).

In short, at this point in the year, we’d be coming to the culmination of a harvest that began in May and June with lettuce and strawberries, and it would make perfect sense to be sitting down to a meal that both featured and celebrated the fruits of that harvest.

Now that I get most of my food from Metro (though my folks are constantly thinking of reasons to come visit with quart baskets in the trunk), the celebration makes slightly less sense. But I like it very much, not only because of the nostalgia, nor yet the enforced grade-school grace-saying (yes, it was a public school, but in a *very* small town) that makes it seem logical to me to owe my supper to someone greater. I like to cook and I like to eat, and when I was younger I liked to garden to. The harvest has always been a good time.

Food is a fraught business in 2009: between genetically modified tomatoes, body-image dismorphia, peanut allergies and gluten intolerances, sometimes there’s no one at the table that has a purely peaceful relationship with their plate. But it’s the stuff that makes us live, and whatever role we play in the food chain (gardener, chef, shopper, restaurant-orderer) can be a lot of fun. I like that, though most holidays are celebrated with food, this one *is* food.

May you eat well this weekend.

RR

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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