November 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm
Sustainable Living Guest Blogger: Kate Ruffing
Thanksgiving Day is typically filled with all sorts of family memories. The clanking of pans early in the morning. The warm, spicy smells that fill the house as a football game blares. The post-food coma that you joyously settle into after giving way to much thanks. And of course, losing power for four days.
Okay, so hopefully that last one is a memory only special to our family, but it is definitely one that we recall as our first (and perhaps only) 100% sustainable Thanksgiving, “off-the-grid”.
As these things typically start, we had a group of people that were traveling over the river and through the woods to get to our house for the holiday. About that same time, moist air from the Pacific collided with a cold air blast from Alaska and dumped mountains of snow, resulting in many trees coming down across power lines. My mother had literally just arrived, walked in the door, set down her suitcase, and poof! – we lost power. That was Monday.
By Wednesday we were still without power and given the reports of widespread outages across the region, we knew we were looking at frozen turkey popsicles unless we found a way to prepare our food differently that year. There was a brief moment when we contemplated calling for Turkey take-out, but after fanatically planning to enjoy a meal composed of 100% local ingredients, it wasn’t an option.
Our Thanksgiving feast was featuring a locally grown, Heritage Turkey, Sourdough stuffing, Sweet Potatoes, pumpkin pie, and family-favorite casseroles made with homemade Cream of Mushroom soup (no cans of the condensed stuff). Lack of power would not stand in our way from delivering – not this sustainable family!
So we launched into preparing our meal. Thanks to readers like yourselves who were following our adventures online (thanks to the cellular coverage we still had), we received lots of helpful advice. We were instructed on how to successfully roast a Turkey on the grill, prepare a pumpkin pie in a dutch oven, and bake our casseroles outdoors. Because we only had one grill, dishes were prepared and cooked in rotation.
It was a wonderful sustainable living adventure and we have never been closer to our food or our family. There was no football to distract us from conversation and given the fireplace only heats one room, we spent a lot of time sharing stories and lots of laughs.
And as we sat down to eat our fully outdoor prepared, 100% local, Thanksgiving meal with scarfs and hats on, the power came back. Bathed in the warm light of electricity, with the furnace struggling to get the house back up to room temperature, we gave a true thanks. Thanks for the food that was sustainably labored over, from farm to fork. And thanks for electricity and the power company workers who were probably going without their Thanksgiving meal.
This year, we will be repeating some of the practices we adopted that year, like cooking the Turkey on the grill and turning off the T.V., but we are hoping it is by choice, not necessity.
For details on the full meal and how it was prepared “off the grid”, please read our full story.
Follow Kate Ruffing’s Sustainable Living adventures and discover solutions for your family at www.KateRuffing.com