Thanksgiving: American Food Culture’s Defining Moment

The holidays are upon us. As I waited in Chicago’s Union Station for my son’s train to arrive, I thought about my Thanksgiving menu. Crammed in my purse was the recipe from my sister for her baked sweet potato mousse. It’s a cardiac arrest in a casserole dish, but it defines the holiday for our family. As does turkey and my Waldorf salad. None of this is easy to make, of course. But I don’t care. Today, I’ll close up shop and set to work.

More Americans are cooking and eating at home these days. I guess that’s the upside of a down economy. Many are returning to cake mixes and packaged goods that the Hartman Group calls “assistance” foods. Unlike “convenience” foods, they rank higher on the food chain because they still require some preparation and often some fresh ingredients. Or they complement a home cooked meal. Stove Top brand stuffing is a good example.

Thanksgiving is a parade of American food culture. Never is it more true that “We are what we eat,” then at Thanksgiving. The meal defines our families, and our nation. What are the defining dishes on your table?

PS–Here’s wishing you much love, happiness and all the “assistance” you’ll need to enjoy the holiday!