Thanksgiving brings out the traditionalist in all of us. Even the most adventurous eaters look forward to favorite, tried-and-true dishes at this once-a-year feast.
November 2012 Issue
Editor's Note: Local Flavor
I know, because as a home cook I’ve tried to get creative, and my efforts have been met with skepticism and/or disappointment. Freshly ground cranberry sauce? Uh uh. The canned, jellied version must make an appearance, too. Green beans with artichoke hearts? Nope, plain or mixed with cream of mushroom soup is the favored preparation. Whole wheat rolls? Negative. Brown-and-serve has to be on the table.
But that doesn’t stop me, and this year I’m looking forward to trying some new Thanksgiving strategies with the recipes in this issue (see “A Special Feast,” page 86), provided by cooking instructor and author Marilou Suszko. The “Roasted Heritage Turkey” sounds wonderful, and “Do Ahead Gravy” could make the dizzying countdown to the meal much less stressful.
In her book, The Locavore’s Kitchen (Ohio University Press, 2011), and this month’s article, Marilou stresses that foods sourced locally offer not only better flavor but also the satisfaction of knowing who raised them. They also give cooks the opportunity to meet producers at farmers markets, at-farm markets and roadside stands.
Increasingly, local, independently owned grocery stores are offering food from Ohio’s more than 14 million acres of farm fields, orchards and pastures, and promoting the items with special signage and events. Today, replicating the Thanksgiving meal of our grandparents and great-grandparents, and finding nearly all the food for it within a 100-mile radius — the defining distance for a “locavore” — is possible for nearly all Ohioans.
So this year, when I’m doing my shopping, I’ll look for a fresh Ohio-grown turkey, root vegetables, apples and other ingredients for our Thanksgiving meal. And I won’t suppress the urge to be creative, either.
But I’ll make sure a dish of soup-can-shaped cranberry sauce in on the table, too.
For the past seven years, a November tradition at Ohio Magazine is the naming of our Best Hometowns. This year’s honored communities are a diverse group, from Findlay (pop. 41,202) in northwest Ohio to Peninsula (pop. 602) in the northeast part of the state. Beginning on page 54, you can read about these and the other 2012–2013 Best Hometowns: Greenville, Grove City and Gallipolis. You’ll discover why the proud residents of these communities consider them to be great places to live, work and raise their families.