Leaves are turning golden amber, days are getting colder and shorter. It’s time for our favorite holiday! Thanksgiving is all about spending time with our family and friends, eating delicious homemade food and being grateful for what we have.From a foodie point of view it’s a full on celebration of seasonality, an occasion to enjoy the bounty of the year with a special traditional meal. Did you know Thanksgiving originated from a harvest festival? It was the celebration of the end of the summer harvest, often marked by sumptuous feasts. Similar festivities were present in European rural times, marking the success of the year’s labors upon which prosperity and wellbeing depended.

Let’s analyze a few of our holiday classics, starting from the Queen of the Table, her majesty the turkey, one of America’s native animals, firstly domesticated by the Mexican people in 800 BC. When Columbus arrived in the Americas turkey, guinea fowls and insects were practically the only animals eaten. It was only after the Columbian exchange that America started tasting chicken, beef, pork, etc..
So Thanksgiving is truly a meal that rotates around ingredients which are indigenous to the Americas,  including corn, potatoes, pumpkin and cranberries, unknown to Europeans before.
Corn today has a controversial story, it’s the most produced staple food worldwide (having surpassed wheat and rice), and its consumption is not only human but also used as animal feed and in the production of biofuels. It is one of the main GMO crops: about 65% of US corn acres planted are GMO. With its incredible history and beautiful biodiversity, choosing to eat hairloom naturally grown varieties can really make a difference!
Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, K, A and antioxidant properties, especially when eaten raw! Why not serve a freshly squeezed cranberry juice as a base for a cocktail for this years’ celebration?
Pumpkins, essential both at Halloween and Thanksgiving, are the true protagonists of fall. They are a particularly good source of fiber, as well as of a range of vitamins and minerals. We dedicated a whole post to this fabulous ingredient, to learn more read here.
Potatoes are the world’s fourth staple food  – after wheat, corn and rice – loved for their incredible versatility in the kitchen. There are about 5000 varieties of potatoes worldwide, with 3000 native to the Andes alone!
Fall is one of the richest seasons when it comes to fruits and vegetables, an endless number of delicious ingredients to choose from.  Here is a comprehensive list to choose from and be inspired by for your holiday cooking: apples, arugula, beets, broccoli, brussle sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, chestnuts, chicories, cranberries, escarole, fennel, garlic, green beans, horseradish, jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, quinces, radicchio, radishes, rapini, rutabagas, shallots, spinach, sweet potatoes, turnips.

Happy cooking and happy Thanksgiving!