4 Food Questions to Stir Up Thanksgiving Gratitude

Cultivate the spirit of appreciation around the holiday table by reflecting on your favorite food memories from the past year.

by John D. Ivanko

4 Food Questions to Stir Up Thanksgiving Gratitude - Photo by iStock/Thinkstock (HobbyFarms.com)

With the harvest fully in and the snow already flying here in Wisconsin, we have one thing on our mind: food! As we head into the Thanksgiving season, all eyes (and mouths) fixate on traditional holiday foods, from turkey to pumpkin pie. While friends and family gathered around a table full of delicious food is definitely cause for celebration, let’s not miss the real purpose for Thanksgiving: gratitude.

A grateful attitude relishes in the gifts our farms and families have been given over the course of the year. With the media spewing out a chronic litany of problems and crises, cultivating a thankful outlook can be a challenge. By focusing on our favorite topic—food—we find it easier to be appreciative. Whatever may have been going on for you this past year, there undoubtedly were some high points around the table.

To help you reflect on gratitude this Thanksgiving, throw these five questions on eating and drinking better into the conversation mix. Grandma’s answers may surprise you!

1. What new local food did you discover this year?
Thanks to the burgeoning local-food scene, it’s easy to discover new locally produced options. For us, living in the highest cheese-producing county in the country, we’re always grateful for the abundant local cheese options close by. Our new favorite is the sheep’s milk cheeses made by our friend and new cheesemaker, Anna Landmark of Landmark Creamery.

2. What not-so-good food habit did you replace, improve or give up?
To finding new good-food options, you must continually sift out the bad ones, working toward healthier replacements or—if you can muster—giving them up entirely. Lisa is trying to cut back a bit our coffee habit (not necessarily the worst of habits), even if the coffee we do drink is Fair Trade and organic. After one morning cup, we switch to water the rest of the day.

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3. What’s your most memorable meal of 2014?
This is hard to narrow down for us foodies, but the answers undoubtedly prompt some reflective discussion. Is it your favorite meal because of the food you ate, the people you shared it with, or both? Our favorite meals tend to cluster around our travels, experimenting with new regional cuisines and meeting the visionary chefs behind them.

Some of our most memorable meals this year included:

4. What new culinary challenge will you master in 2015?
For Lisa, it’s learning to bake an authentic sourdough rye bread that’s true to her Estonian and Latvian heritage, where rye bread ranks like royalty. January will be the perfect time to experiment and test techniques. Who knows, by Thanksgiving 2015, rye bread might make the food-appreciation list!

Gratitude means shifting from the glass half empty to half full mindset, taking the time to appreciate the abundance that fills our lives. Enjoy, give thanks and savor the holiday flavors and memories to come. Have a great holiday!

Savoring the good life,

John and Lisa's Signatures

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