Monday, November 28, 2011

A "Normal" Thanksgiving at Grandma's

I just finished reading Folks, This Ain't Normal, Joel Salatin's latest book.  It is amazing, and if you are looking for a good book to entertain, enlighten, and challenge you, I very highly recommend it.  If you're not familiar with Joel Salatin, he's a Virginia farmer who has helped revolutionize the world of local, pasture-based, sustainable food production.

The main thrust of his book is that food (among other things) in America has become very abnormal, when viewed in comparison to the rest of human history.  From families that have no idea how to cook anything from scratch, to neighborhood laws banning front-yard vegetable gardens, to half-alive hens crammed into cages and cranking out eggs in huge warehouses, clearly food production in America is very different than it it was 100-or even 50-years ago.

While the foodscape in America has the potential to be a bit depressing, Salatin's book is not.  Each chapter ends with a list of things people can do to make food more "normal" in their own lives, and in a small way, in the rest of the world.

With all this in mind, I am very happy to report that we had a very "normal" Thanksgiving weekend at my grandparent's house.  I'm lucky enough to have grandparents who value real food, and time spent in the kitchen and at the dinner table.  Just as Michael Pollan advises us not to eat anything our grandmas (or great grandmas) wouldn't recognize as food, maybe those of us with grandparents who remember and value good home cookin' and real food, shouldn't eat in any method our grandmas wouldn't eat!  Plunking down in front of the TV to demolish a whole bag of potato chips?  Not my grandma.  Grabbing huge burgers and mega-fries to gobble down in the car while racing from event to event?  Not so much.  Sitting down together to a real lunch at a real table, with real dishes?  Bingo!  Grandma-approved!  And oh-so-normal.

Are you lucky enough to have real food-eating role models in your life?  What wisdom, cooking or otherwise, have you gleaned from them?


  1. I am going to have to find this book. I didn't know it was out, thanks for the referral!

    Just this weekend, I made some bierocks with my German mother. She was a little surprised that I knew what I was doing although I'm certain that I've watched her and my grandmother make them a long while ago. I kept thinking, this is food for poor German people. Shove meat and veggies inside bread and call it a meal. Amazing.

  2. Hope you enjoy the book! I'm glad you explained what bierocks were too - I was about to look it up. :) The old family recipes seem like the best ones!


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