Thanksgiving is tomorrow.
Many people think Thanksgiving is a day to overeat filled with too much turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, but really, Thanksgiving is much more than that.
Growing up in New England, the Thanksgiving story is one I’ve heard told many times ever since I can remember. The Plymouth settlers, i.e. those who sailed over from England on the Mayflower in 1620, suffered greatly their first Winter on the Massachusetts coast when nearly half didn’t survive to the Spring. But that next year they managed to form relationships with the native peoples of the area, a Wampanoag tribe (an alliance that would last some 50 years), as well as being helped immensely by the famous Squanto who helped teach them about the crops that could be grown and how to manage the harsh New England climate. That next Fall when the harvest came, the settlers held a large feast with their native friends to celebrate their alliance together – but the settlers, being a Christian people, also celebrated simply surviving and the good fortune that had befallen them through a harvest season and the help they received by giving thanks to God. After that, days of thanksgiving became practiced in other New England settlements as well. And while Lincoln may have been the initiator of the annual nation-wide feast day Americans partake in every November, even the early presidents had issued their own days of thanksgiving for everyone to express their thankfulness for the good things in life – including Washington, Adams, and Madison.
You see, Thanksgiving is about American a holiday as one can get, started from the very beginning. And even in our modern day, while we may not all be celebrating a harvest, everyone has their own life story. Those first settlers were survivors. They were resourceful, and they understood very well the value of working together and bridging new relationships. In our own lives, I’m sure we all have our own adventures to tell – and many of us are survivors in our own right. Maybe I view this holiday a bit idealistically, but whether it be surviving a hardship or illness, or you just want to celebrate a friendship or time with family, we all have something to be thankful for, to share with each other.
For me, I am thankful for meeting my husband those years ago on one of the most random chance circumstances that could have occurred. I am thankful for getting to see my family, and see my new baby nephew. And as I am on the way to starting my own family, I am thankful for all the friends, my fantastic in-laws, and the amazing support and love that has surrounded us. For every trial that I have been through and overcome, and for all the incredible warm and kind-hearted spirits I have been lucky enough to cross paths with so far.
So when my family gets together tomorrow, sure there will be food (and plenty of it) – but the focus won’t be just on eating too much turkey and having the game on, because I know what really matters. Each other. So today, I present a simple and humble dessert. One with some of my favorite seasonal ingredients – apples and pears. A recipe so easy, to remind us all of our humble beginnings, and to give us all time to celebrate things more important than food.
adapted from Peach Crumble by I Adore Food
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr
- 1kg (2 lbs.) apples and pears, thinly sliced
- 150g certified gluten free oats
- 75g chestnut flour
- 75g hazelnut meal
- 200g butter, melted
- 200g raw sugar
- cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
1. Preheat an oven to 350F (175C). Arrange fruit in the bottom of your baking pan (I filled several small ones).
2. In a separate bowl combine oats, chestnut flour, hazelnut meal, butter and sugar and spices and mix together until well blended.
3. Add the crumble on top of the fruit, and bake for about 35 minutes or until crumble is golden brown and fruit softened.