Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Open Season on Food

It's the Wednesday before the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and today's food edition of my local paper sold out before I went in search of a copy early this afternoon. That's because, I'm assuming, it's loaded with food ads and wine ads and recipes for the great American meal.

I decided yesterday to go ahead and cook, even though I don't have very many people to come and I won't do a turkey. Whoever comes is the right group, and whatever leftovers will get eaten eventually.

I'm not sure what I'm having yet. I like stuffing, so I think I may try baking some winter squash and then stuffing them with something. Perhaps adapt my standby stuffing, with brown and wild rice instead of bread cubes, but retaining the butter, onion, cranberries, orange juice and rosemary. Then more vegetables: Brussels sprouts or another flavorful dark green veg in some form, and creamed onions with blue cheese. Green tomato mincemeat pie with cheddar for dessert for sure. Haven't homed in on a starter yet.

I began, as I came up with menu ideas, worrying about having cheese in every dish. But then I realized that too much cheese is a dairy vegetarian's equivalent of too much gravy. Most days I limit myself to one ounce of cheese. Maybe my goal should be to have cheese in every course for this celebration of abundance.

And cranberries in every course, too. I was surprised to read in one food column that the writer felt she must choose between having cranberry sauce with the turkey and a cranberry tart for dessert. Why?

But then, I think about two precedents. One is that I came from the land of Ocean Spray world HQ. (You've seen the guys in the bogs in the ad. Bogus bogmen.) We thought little of having cranberry juice and vodka cocktails, cranberry sauce, cranberry jello salad, cranberry-raisin pie, etc.

The second is the learning when in Japan twenty years ago that if you went to a crab restaurant, every course, every dish, had crab in it. I do not see why Thanksgiving should not be a similar celebration of the cranberry for those of us who truly love them.

And I have absolutely no food miles shame around the fact that yesterday I went in search of guaranteed Massachusetts cranberries from Wareham. Not the kind that say they may have been packed in Oregon, Wisconsin or Massachusetts.

Here's a helpful article from the Times with three great looking vegetarian dishes that really do fill the bill for one person's hearty side is another person's main dish.

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