Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Green your Thanksgiving: Part 1 of 3

Know your guests
For most families, tradition sets the precedent for who shares the Thanksgiving meal and a simple phone call can easily confirm the details. But a hand-lettered invitation (on recycled paper, of course), or even a clever Evite can set the tone for a truly special event. Whatever your mode of communication, make sure you determine any special food needs your guests might have. Are they vegan? Vegetarian? Pescetarian? Do they have food allergies? Simple questions now can save you a world of last-minute headaches. Timeline: Two weeks out.

Plan your meal
A simple rule of thumb for a traditional Thanksgiving meal is to include a main course, four sides and dessert. Some families add a soup at the start and a salad at the end (or vice-versa). Traditionally the main course is a turkey, but it can translate to a poached or grilled whole salmon for a pescetarian meal, or tofurky or vegetarian casserole for vegans and vegetarians. Luckily, the spread is so broad that you can easily include something for everyone. Write down your selections, then make a shopping list, separating it into items that you can shop for in advance, and those you need to buy the day before. If you want a heritage and/or organic turkey, make sure you get your order in before they sell out. Timeline: Two weeks out.

Shop for your staples and non-perishable items
Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to hit up your local farmers market
for organic, locally-sourced produce.. Since these traditional recipes typically rely on food that's in season, you can pretty much find everything you need in the way of root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams) as well as specialty items like honey or even beeswax candles to adorn your table. Timeline: One week out.

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