Thanksgiving Food for Thought: Foodie Underground


ColumnThanksgiving: Not only a time to eat food, but to really think about it.

Well, it’s that time of year again, the time known for sweet potato casseroles and overeating. Here’s the thing about Thanksgiving: it’s a holiday devoted to eating good food and doing so with people you love. No one can argue with the benefits of that. Unfortunately, it’s also a significant reminder of our culture of overconsumption.

Beyond that, we’re so caught up in the importance of doing everything “right” that we lose track of the point of the holiday. We frantically shop, we stress out about cooking and we forget to enjoy the moment that we’re taking so much time trying to create.

So here are some rules for this Thanksgiving.

Eat, but know what you’re eating and where it came from. Spend time with your family and friends. Remember to take a moment to be appreciative of what you have, because even if you burn the pumpkin pie and your vegan-friendly kale and roasted brussels sprouts dish goes to hell, you will be fine. In fact, while we may have elbowed our way through the checkout line, the fact that we even have food on the table is something to be thankful for.

When it comes to food, there’s a lot to think about on Thanksgiving, so while you’re prepping for this week’s food events, take some time to mull over the following. Consider it your official Thanksgiving Food for Thought.

So here we go, things to think about this week:

-How your food got there. No, really. Think about all the people that were involved. The large majority of us don’t have to get our hands dirty to put food on the table, and if you’ve spent even a few days working the land, you know the time and energy that takes. Find a farmer and thank them.

-Almost $282 million worth of turkey meat is wasted at Thanksgiving, enough to feed each American household in the country 11 additional servings.

46 million turkeys were eaten in the U.S. on Thanksgiving in 2011. In 2012, 46.5 million people in the U.S. lived in poverty.

-The laundry list of reasons to never eat an industrial, factory-farmed turkey ever again. Maybe you’ve considered going vegetarian. Maybe you have considered cutting down your intake of meat. Maybe you are simply committing to knowing where your meat comes from. Thanksgiving might just be a good place to start.

-About 75 percent of farm subsidies in the U.S. went to only 10percent of farms. If there ever was a time to buy produce from an independent farmer, it’s this week.

-While you’re eating a second helping of stuffing, McDonald’s is busy telling its low-paid employees that a great way to deal with hunger is to “break food into pieces.”

So come this Thursday, eat well and then figure out what you are going to do to help the food system, because it needs it. Badly.

Related on EcoSalon:

5 Thanksgiving Recipes from Around the Web (That Don’t Involve Turkey)

EcoSalon: Food, Farmers and Choice

This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’ weekly column at EcoSalon: Foodie Underground, an exploration of what’s new and different in the underground movement, and how we make the topic of good food more accessible to everyone. More musings on the topic can be found at

Image: vxla

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.