EATING WELL IN KANSAS CITY - November 2018
By Emily and Brandi
At this time of year the talk of gratitude is as thick in the air as pumpkin spice. And though we do love a good pumpkin spice latte, sometimes we wonder just why modern food developers are putting pumpkin flavor into ALL THE THINGS. It’s probably safe to assume that “no pumpkins were harmed in the making of this latte.” Or muffin, or wine, or candy bar.
You know what else is pumpkin flavored? Actual pumpkins. And when the pumpkins arrive at the farmers market, that’s when you know that autumn has finally arrived! Following closely behind come all the fall things; drinking apple cider, visiting the pumpkin patch, and unearthing cozy boots and flannel shirts from the back of the closet. We believe that the changing season is the perfect time to contemplate the passing of another year. Reminiscing about times past over a bonfire? Yes please! It’s one of the reasons we love this time of year. Well, and of course, the food!
Traditionally, this is a time of harvest. It’s funny that we say “traditionally,” as though it were an old way of life. For the farmers in and around Kansas City, attention to the changing seasons isn’t an old way of life. It’s just … life. Regardless of how modern we’ve all gotten, the weather (though unpredictable in the Midwest, now more than ever) will turn cold. Plants will quit growing or at least will grow dormant for a season. Those last harvests will come in from the cold. And this is the harvest that we’re meant to be so grateful for. The hearty storage crops like sweet potatoes, apples, onions, and winter squashes promise to feed us until spring greens reappear.
We’ve been talking lately about the phrase “Say Grace,” in all of its different forms and contexts. Traditionally, it’s the way that people described prayer. But it's fun to think of so many other ways we can think about "grace" at this time of year.
Sometimes there’s grace as in “graceful”—like poise, elegance, finesse. This doesn’t describe the majority of meals in our households. Our meals are hurried, sloppy, necessary moments between school, homework, and activities. Our kids are noisy and rambunctious. There is usually a dog or cat in the background adding to the chaos. So maybe we’re not entirely graceful, but we try to be grateful. Those dirty dishes piled in the sink means that we have full bellies and a full table.
There’s also grace as in a “grace period”—an extended period of time that allows someone to catch up - to be a little bit late, but with forgiveness. We could all use a grace period—time to catch up with the things that matter most and to remember what we’re grateful for. Maybe even time to spend preparing a meal of hearty and healthy food that was grown close to home - and sharing it with the ones we love the most.
Saying “grace” or just feeling grateful reminds us of our friends, family and the food on our table (including that PS latte!) Our Farmer BFFs work so hard to grow great food, and their hard work means the best food for us, for our community, and our earth. That’s something we can all feel grateful for ... especially at Thanksgiving.
The KC Food Circle is a non-profit connecting eaters with local, organic, free-range farmers to promote a sustainable food system in the Kansas City region.
For more information visit www.kcfoodcircle.org.