The Real Story of Thanksgiving

With parents arguing over elementary Thanksgiving costumes, it’s clear the last several generations haven’t a clue as to the real history of America. Instead, their primary focus is one of being inoffensive, which only makes them all the more offensive.

The Indians, no doubt, got a bum rap on many land deals. On the other hand, the American Indian tribes needed a little spiffing up, no strangers to human sacrifices, warfare, and cannibalism, not exactly the makings of innocents. Europeans had a far superior culture due to their superior God. Unfortunately, visit the major historical centers such as Cape Cod and Plimoth Plantation (where I’m pictured, sweeping out a cabin), and you’ll hear a revisionist history being shared – one of corn-stealing Pilgrims and abused Indians. Given the politically-correct atmosphere gripping Amerika – a country soon not to be equated with freedom, I appreciate Rush Limbaugh’s telling of the authentic Thanksgiving story.


Countdown to Thanksgiving Dinner

Huge Turkey - Daniel giving thumb's up I’ve been looking forward to this week since….well…..since we had the same dinner last year. We have a real turkey farmer, in northern New Hampshire, who raises turkeys as naturally as possible, allowing them to free-range the way the Lord intended – running around sun, bug and grass-filled pastures all summer long. Unlike factory-farmers who claim “free-range”, but instead confine hundreds, if not thousands of birds to sunless crowded, buildings, our farmer only raises a couple dozen – enough to peacefully exist and co-exist on the acres he has available.

While I’ve always been attentive to food preparation, there’s a far deeper sense of gratitude and respect for the life that was given, when I know the care and effort that was put into raising our food. I know from talking with him, that “processing” the birds never gets easier, and each year he talks about it being his last. Yet, he also knows, if he doesn’t continue to raise his own food in this manner, instead buying it from the grocery store, he’ll be feeding his family an inferior food. So, like us, he gives thanks for the lives of those creatures that lost their lives in order that we might be sustained – a daily reflection and eternal perspective of the Cross.

For preparation of this year’s turkey, see my Turkey Brine entry from last July.


"That's Hot" Sweet Potato Casserole


The real name of this dish is “Madeira Sweet Potato Casserole”. But ever since a friend’s husband, inadvertently renamed it a few Thanksgiving dinners ago, this name, said with a few winks and grins, has stuck.

Invited to their home for Thanksgiving, I was asked to bring my “famous” braided Challah, a sweet potato side dish of my choosing, and a “non-pumpkin” desert because my friend informed me that, “No one can match my pumpkin pie.” I decided to make a chocolate pecan tart, which I figured was as far from pumpkin as possible.

She’d spent weeks planning her menu, pouring through Food & Wine, Epicurious, Sunset and Cooking Light magazines and cookbooks. Her table was beautifully appointed, a work of art that could easily have been photographed for any fine-food magazine. Beautiful linen tablecloths, sparkling crystal, and flickering candlelight set the stage for a formal five course dinner, the first three courses deserving and equal to the ambiance and setting. Subtle background chamber music intermingled with genteel, polite conversation, when suddenly – as loud and shocking as if someone popped a huge balloon – her husband exclaimed, “That’s Hot!”


Don't Be Ignorant About Flu Vaccines

alk about convenient. No matter where your errands take you – grocery, hardware, or your favorite warehouse store – you can also roll up your sleeves, getting jabbed with a very unnecessary flu vaccine. Of course, industrialized “medicine” would have us believe they care, and are looking out for our best interests, thus, the reason they make it so convenient. I’m way over being gullible. The collective “we” didn’t make enough clinic appointments to satisfy the bottom-line needs of the vaccine industry’s investors and stockholders. They’ve got billions to be made and we were not cooperating.

Flu vaccines are one of the biggest marketing scams that exist. They’re not based on good science, but instead, greed and profit at the potential expense of not only our health, but potentially, our lives.

For most people, the flu shot does not prevent illness, but actually does the polar opposite—it weakens your immune system and makes you more predisposed to the illness. The people who actually die after contracting the flu do so because they are already sick and have compromised immune systems, and that certainly doesn’t have to include you. Why Flu Vaccines Don’t Work


Sour Cream Apple Pie


This year’s harvest is bountiful, a benefit of this past summer’s prolific rain, the apples larger and juicier than past years. The downside is the flavors are a bit more muted, taking a little more tweaking, playing with spices and sugar levels to maximize flavors. While my mother only used one type of apple for pies – Granny Smith – resulting in a consistent taste, I use at least two varieties, one that will holds its shape, and another that will break down during cooking into a lovely sauce.


Apple Pecan Cake


My paternal grandmother was a wonderful cook, employing her grandmother’s “lump of this and dash of that” measuring methods. Eventually, she translated favorite recipes to modern measuring devices – graduated measuring cups and spoons – meticulously recording the details on 3 1/2 × 5 index cards. After her death, it was this recipe collection – stored in a hand-made, beautifully dove-tailed hand-rubbed box, 6 by 12-inches long – that I held to be the most dear, of all her earthly possessions. I stopped my aunt and mother – Betty Crocker, General Mills, and Pillsbury women – from pitching the recipes and box into the trash bin, with both expressing surprise I’d want “something so old-fashioned and out-of-date – who wants to do all that cooking?” One person’s junk…..another person’s treasure……..


Easy Ricotta (Ricotone) Cheese 101

Draining the whey from the curds is a process by which you can control the density, dryness or creaminess by the length of the time. Shorter periods of time – 4 to 6 hours result in a creamy, almost Mascarpone
texture, wonderful for tiramisus. Longer draining, 6-12 hours, results in a drier texture for making a New York style cheesecake, or stuffing layers of Sunday-morning French toast. The possibilities are limitless…..


Parsnips, Smoked Fish & Horseradish


When I reach for my vegetable brush to scrub off what appears to be half-a-garden of dirt, I think back to the time, many years ago, when my father-in-law challenged me, “Where’s your vegetable brush?” Vegetable brush. Who needed a vegetable brush? He, a Master Gardener, and I, about as far removed from gardening as a person could be, were working together making dinner. Handing him a potato peeler, figuring if there were any dirty spots on the carrot, a peeler would take care of them in short order, I caught a few of his mutterings trailing after him in the breeze he created working around my kitchen, “…peelings….nutrition….should have a brush…”. For the life of me, though, I was quite sure I’d never seen a speck of dirt on any of my grocery-store vegetables and I just didn’t get what all the fuss was about.


Turning back time...

The living history demonstrations, which tug the most at my heartstrings, involve food – butter-making, hearth-roasted meats, wild-yeast bread “sponges”, or cheese making. Each 1830’s costumed-interpreter’s passion and love for their craft leaves no doubt, that while they exchange their 1830’s garb for 21st Century garments when returning to their “real” lives, they take their timeless cooking techniques with them to their world.

Having been raised on Velveeta cheese, canned vegetables, and boxed deserts, I developed an aversion to the narrow range of processed-food “flavor” – salt and sugar – preferring to make my own meals from “scratch”.

Even though I had very few processed foods to cull from my cabinets when we followed the Nourishing Traditions way of eating, I’ve still managed to make substantial changes over the past half-dozen years, buying and eating only locally-raised organic foods, including meat that has been raised using traditional methods.

The way we now eat has much more in common with an Old Sturbridge Village 1830’s way of life, than it does with our modern culture.

The last time I shopped in a 2008 grocery store was last April, purchasing several packages of organic strawberries. Walking the aisles of a modern grocery store is like walking through a graveyard of nutritionally dead food.


Justified for Evermore


s far as any eye could see
There was no green. But every tree
Was cinder black, and all the ground
Was gray with ash. The only sound
Was arid wind, like spirits’ ghosts,
gasping for some living hosts
In which to dwell as in the days
Of evil men, before the blaze
Of unimaginable fire
Had made the earth a flaming pyre
For God’s omnipotent display
Of holy rage.
The dreadful Day
Of God had come. The moon had turned
To blood. The sun no longer burned
Above, but, blazing with desire,
had flowed into a lake of fire.
The seas and oceans were no more,
And in their place a desert floor
Fell deep to meet the brazen skies,
And silence conquered distant cries.