I am pleased to say that I am not the only individual so driven by the craving for leftovers that they cooked a second Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, I spoke to quite a few serial-seconds yesterday at market. It’s a natural inclination, I think, for those of us who spend the Thanksgiving away from home. The bustle of the big day (in our case, ten adults and eleven kids) leaves little time for the sort of slow enjoyment that comes from snatching finger-fulls of stuffing from the fridge late evenings and eating it cold in the dark quiet of the kitchen.
Second-Thanksgiving also provides the opportunity to focus on favorites. No rutabaga or sweet potatoes for us. Instead, I made our two family dressings (a French-Canadian meat stuffing of pork, beef, and potato and a simple, buttery bread stuffing); braised cabbage with bacon and veal stock; homemade apple sauce with honey and vanilla; and butterscotch pudding topped with salty pecans. At my preference, we drank red wine, rather than the appropriate white, and fed a few bits of extra meat to the dogs. After a cold, grey day at market, second-Thanksgiving was wholly soothing experience.
And on the subject of market, next weekend marks the final Chattanooga Market of the 2008 season. Though I’ve now celebrated five market-season finales, this year, for a number of reasons, I’m balancing a measure of relief (free Sundays!) and sadness. To start, our good friends Susanna and Joe moved to Bozeman, Montana this week. Susanna was a constant help at the market with her happy, knows-no-stranger outlook, and Joe was actually an inspiration of sorts for conception of Alchemy, having farmed and marketed under the pseudonym “Tomato Joe” for at time. In addition to that, the current economy creates a constant supply of what-ifs for small businesses. Some vendors may return next season; some may not. Needless to say, all of us are hoping for a strong, celebratory conclusion to the year, replete with spirited buying and locally-inspired gifting. If you’re in the Chattanooga area, grab your gift list and head over. If you’re not, find some artisan outlets in your town and give them your holiday dollars.
In closing, the final weeks of market produce came down to apples and popping corn. Pictured above is Rainbow Farm’s lovely, purple popping corn which rises to tasty fluff in a bit of sizzling olive oil. In these difficult times, if you must sit down with the Wall Street Journal or any news for that matter, I highly recommend that you have some fresh, hot popping corn alongside. It’s four ears for a buck, after all. And it really does offer some significant contentment when the final bowls of turkey soup have been slurped.