At a time when green advocates are pointing to meat consumption as the single most environmentally devastating practice humans have adopted, certain Thanksgiving dishes such as the turducken (that’s a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey) must represent all that is wrong with humanity. But don’t strike off this holiday as an ecological no-no just yet. This week Sarah Poten, Education and Special Projects Coordinator of Greenmarket (Council on the Environment of New York City), saves Thanksgiving by serving up fresh recipes on standard fare locavore and vegetarian families can dig into. This week on Inhabitots, we’ll feature six recipes from Sarah Poten that are “simple, child-friendly, and guaranteed crowd pleasers for eaters of all ages!”
As a mom and educator, Sarah knows that children love to cook. And she encourages this activity because it not only teaches them the importance of a healthy diet, but also “engages all five senses, encourages cooperation, enhances reading and math skills, conceptual development, understanding cause and effect, and helps foster independence.” But it’s not all about learning, as cooking is also “incredibly fun!”
“Thanksgiving offers so many wonderful opportunities to cook with your children, explore your family’s food traditions and enjoy the harvest season,” says Sarah. “There’s no better way to begin celebrating a holiday rooted in agriculture and community than with a family trip to your local Greenmarket.” Sarah suggests beginning your perusal by conversing with the family farmers about what the season has to offer, and then choosing from the cornucopia of fruits and veggies you probably won’t find at the supermarket.
And Sarah isn’t chicken when comes time to talk turkey. She urges smart shoppers to quiz poultry farmers “about the differences between their heritage breeds of turkeys and those raised on factory farms.” But when it comes to kid involvement Sarah issues a warning: “Preparing meat with kids is tricky – there’s the hot oven, lots of kids have problems handling raw meat, and poultry poses some risks. I would recommend that the grown-ups handle the turkey while kids can help with all the sides.” Or better yet, try a Tofurkey… a cruelty-free “bird” that is easy for kids to prepare and eat.
So grab a pair of Doy Bags’ fun mix-n-match aprons made from recycled packaging (pictured, $18-$25) and get ready to enter the kitchen with your kids. Stay tuned to Inhabitots this week for Sarah’s recipes — accompanied by great green kitchen gear to complement your Thanksgiving meal.