Above left: roast chicken, freshly butchered the day before. A young Rhode Island Red rooster, healthy and fat, with exquisite flavor, one of many extraneous roosters resulting from on-farm breeding this year as we increase the size of our laying flock. We’ve found that our farm-processed heritage-breed birds aren’t very fussy in the oven; the breast is still tender and juicy when the deep inner thighs are finally done. I hardly baste or fiddle with such birds; we think the inherent quality of the meat (the moisture is natural, not injected), and perhaps the quantity of fat, keeps it from drying out. Above right: my customized stuffing, the only version Joanna has ever really liked: onions, sage, thyme, parsley, egg, fresh-made bread cubes, organic Missouri pecans, organic Missouri apples, Missouri honey, Missouri Norton wine (adapted from p. 23, In a Vermont Kitchen).
Above left: roasted vegetables, including onion, carrot, potato, sweet potato, parsnip, sunchoke, garlic, leek, daikon radish, salsify, herbs. Above right: fresh-made rolls from a family recipe, including Missouri wheat flour. Not shown, farm-grown/canned strawberry jam, garlic butter.
Above left: fresh-made applesauce from organic Missouri apples. Above right: fresh salad of spinach, goat feta, organic Missouri pecans, organic Missouri apples.
Above left: fruit salad of preserved blueberries, strawberries, Missouri peaches, plus fresh organic Missouri apples. Above right: pumpkin pie: pumpkin, sweet potato, egg, goat milk, sugar, spices etc. with homemade crust. Note: all such pie recipes call for evaporated milk. We hate purchasing such processed products, and in the past have spent time cooking down our own milk to make an equivalent. This year we just used straight whole goat’s milk, which worked perfectly.
The day before, I happened to run across this quote from John F. Kennedy, which seemed especially fitting for our celebration of this holiday:
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
When we assess our current lives, it’s easy to see that our choices and actions directly support those things we value most and are most thankful for, such as independence, food, health, physical & intellectual stimulation, variety, and perhaps most of all, each other. We’re grateful for the opportunities we’ve been given in this life, for the families that raised us to make the most of these opportunities, and for the mutual support, dedication, and love that continually help us build a comfortable and meaningful life on this humble but infinitely worthwhile farm.