Monday, November 23, 2009

What's on your plate this Thanksgiving?

Freedom from Want, by Norman Rockwell, courtesy Curtis Publishing

Rarely do I take a chance to post about the mental and emotional aspects of celiac's disease. I would always rather talk about the food. I think recipes and product suggestions are practical steps to helping us cope with a difficult life path and hope that some of the things I have posted on this blog have been helpful to someone. And now that I am starting to slow down a little this week and focus on my own food for my own holiday, I wanted to share some thoughts with you. And I promise I will be back with recipes on the next round of posting, so bear with me.

This Thanksgiving will be the first year in my entire adult life that I will be home with all my children, my husband, and no one else. Don't get me wrong, as a reformed only child, I love big holiday gatherings and big meals with lots of chatting and eating. I love each and every person that has shared our Thanksgiving table with us over the years and I really love each person that has invited my family to a Thanksgiving table over the years, saving me from lots of food chores. However, every few years I am finding that I just want time with my own family sometimes. I don't feel like I spend enough time with my children as it is, and I am resisting more and more the urge to go and do on those days off, however few and far between they may be. So as I have been sitting around thinking about our little family meal this week, I am becoming giddy with the anticipation of running my own show for me and no one else. And since I am the best chef in this house, we are going totally gluten free this year.

Here's a peek at my menu for Thanksgiving 2009:

*Roasted Herbed Turkey Breast (no one here likes dark meat, so why bother with the whole thing? Plus, shorter cooking time!)
*Homemade Turkey Gravy with Cornstarch
*Mashed Potatoes
*Green Bean Casserole with Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup and Onions fried in Olive Oil
*Gluten Free Stuffing with Grandpa's Kitchen Bread
*Halved Brussels Sprouts sauteed in Browned Butter with Pine Nuts (a new recipe I saw in a magazine somewhere)
*Frozen Peas and Carrots
*Canned Cranberry Jelly
*Rhodes Rolls for the kids and hubby
*Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

I am so traditional. There isn't anything there that no one has ever made before. There's no new groundbreaking recipes that are going to take over the internet or make me a blog star. Just good homemade food that I can safely, comfortably eat myself into a stupor with. And I love that I just put down on the list all of the pre-made foods like frozen vegetables and canned cranberries on there. There's no shame in that. If they make it better than I can, why not? Food needs to be something that we feel safe with, not something to be afraid of or be constantly inspecting, looking for contaminants. We definitely need to be vigilant in our food choices, but I feel like sometimes I spend so much time researching and scrutinizing my food that the pleasure and satisfaction from eating it is lost. The best way to do that is to prepare and cook as much of your own food as possible. I know it's hard nowadays with our busy schedules and uber-frantic lifestyles, but the joy of following a recipe and getting something delicious from it that you know you can eat every last bite of is worth every last second you spend doing it. The more cooking I do, the more I realize that the relationship I have with food is better the more I get to know it while I am making it. Using a good sharp knife to slice an onion, sauteeing mushrooms in a pan, simmering something yummy until it is good and ready to eat while I talk with those children I don't have enough time with, these are the things that make me feel whole, like I'm not different from all the other people who can chow down some Chips Ahoy. I feel complete when I cook my food. My kitchen is my safe zone.

I would love to hear from my readers about your safe zone. Is it your own kitchen? Is it a favorite restaurant or health food store? What makes you feel mentally and emotionally balanced with your gluten free food? Leave me a comment. I'd love to know. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! And happy eating!

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