Holidays and food, they go together in my world. Our family comes together to eat, laugh, and play for most holidays. Thanksgiving is no different. This year is no different. Except, for the first time is several years, my brother and I are on speaking terms, and my husband has invited his entire maternal line of cousins to my home for the annual family get together. Both things are good in their own way.
I wanted to take a moment and reflect on my “food thanks” before entering into the hustle and bustle of my holiday world. I’ll soon be worrying about whether or not presents are wrapped, delivered, and secured; if trays of Christmas homemade goodies have been made and delivered; and if we as a family have done our best to make a difference in some way to others this holiday season.
So, what does Thanksgiving and “food thanks” mean to me?
I have given that a lot of thought this year for reasons I’ll keep to myself. In my day job, stress is an obvious part of everyday decisions, sometimes more than others. Food and cooking keeps me sane. Making things in love for my family, cooking with them, and teaching them to cook themselves is a giving of myself in love that I cannot explain any other way, but a pure expression of love. There is a joy in food and eating together that I find nowhere else in my life. So, I am thankful for food and the men and women of agriculture that grow it. To me, if there were no farmers, I would have no food. That is so simple to understand. Famers let me have the time to be a physician.
But, it is more than that, I respect the choice of everyone in their choice of food. Today, that is harder and harder to do, when everyone seems to know how you should eat and be very willing to tell you how to eat and feed your family.
There are over 16 million hungry children in America. There are a multitude of families that are more than happy to have food from cans rather than no at all, but we live in a society that is constantly berating the American culture about those very type of food choices. Average every day American families are made to feel less of a parent, person, etc. if by choice or necessity they eat pre-made meals, food from cans, etc.
The First Lady once stated that if you live more than 15 minutes from a grocery store you live in a food desert. Well, I hate to inform her that most of her country lives in that desert. Yes, I am happy that I get to live on a farm where I grow my own beef, shoot my own deer, and have friends and family that raise fruits and veggies (I have no green thumb). But instead of berating others for their choices, I would rather work with others, educate them to utilize what they have, and cook more at home.
For me, “Food Thanks” is more about the time spent cooking what I have with my kids and eating together. No, we don’t have home cooked meals 365 days a year. Yes, we eat frozen pizzas, PB and J sand witches made with Smuckers jelly and Jif, and my kids are allowed one sweet thing a day. But, I choose to make the most of when I can cook and be with my kids and hubby.
So, my Thanksgiving thoughts will be with those that have less than me this holiday. Those that are hungry. Those who are deployed fighting for my freedoms to have this conversation in the first place. Those who feel differently than me. And those who grew my diner in the first place.
My concern for those who have less is why Brian and I support Second Harvest Food Bank, if you would like more information, click on this link Second Harvest Food Bank.
My last hope for this Thanksgiving holiday – other than not burning anything or misplacing a child is to continue to have hopes that we can all interact more and discuss our food differences with respect that while we may choose to eat differently, the important issue is that we all have food to eat and can support those that work every day to grow the food.