“Some five million tons of food—enough to fill the John Hancock Building more than 14 times—will be wasted between Thanksgiving and the end of 2013. Worldwide, some 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted annually, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.”
It’s no surprise that preparing a meal is an offering. But what part of the preparation is actually the offering? What if you don’t do the cooking, but just write a check to the caterer? What if you do the cooking, but raid the pantry, failing to contribute a dime?
In the days after Thanksgiving, the household of guests of which I found myself a part conspired to prepare a meal of Thanks for our hosts.
Initially, we drafted an exotic menu and expensive shopping list. We’d have to drive to the store, and I, the only one of our number in possession of an unexpired American driving license, would have to do the driving. . .
At which point I put my thinking cap on and suddenly remembered that we had refrigerators (literally, plural) full of leftovers. Why should we go seek more when the abundance of our present threatened to overwhelm?
Some might argue that it’s not particularly generous to use (steal?) supplies you had no role in purchasing or preparing. However, what if those supplies are so abundant they have become a liability? What if you have every intention of transforming them into an entirely new and unknown future?
For Thanksgiving 2.0 we chose transformation and renewal, rather than waste and excess.
I was responsible for hors d’oeuvres for which I found inspiration in mashed potatoes from which with the addition of eggs and flour I made little 18th century cakes I’d been reading about in Larousse Gastronomique. These I topped alternately with turkey ragout garnished with cranberry orange relish and a nouveau presentation of snowpeas, braised carrots, and a tomato feta melange. Tres elegant!
Our very own femke made turkey croquette, as only a Dutch little girl could, despite having never in fact made her national dish before. She minced leftover turkey, mixed it with a very thick bechemal, formed this mixture into logs, which she rolled in homemade breadcrumbs, and fried during cocktail hour.
To accompany the Dutch treat, our off-the-grid Missouri expat found a very chic mid-century recipe for broccoli casserole: think crispy, creamy custard surrounding bright green veg.
From what was leftover, we provided a satisfying and and I’d like to think thrilling repast. What’s more, we could have done the same many times over. We came nowhere near exhausting the refrigerators’ bounty.
How silly for us to have gotten in a car — wasting time, money, and resources — to purchase a perceived need, when everything we wanted was right before us, on its way to the trash.