The traditional family Thanksgiving dinner can really be a challenge for people with chemical and food sensitivities, but with a little bit of planning, everyone can have a good time and fill their bellies too. Here are some suggestions that work in our family.
We keep the group small (just ten of us this year), and everyone comes fragrance-free. When they get here, coats and shoes are left at the front door. As for food, here is this year's menu:
Two whole free-range organic chickens (raised by a local Hutterite colony), baked with herbs
Cornbread stuffing casserole (cornbread made gluten-free & egg-free with organic cornmeal and rice flour)
Green beans (frozen from our garden)
Mashed potatoes (made with Yukon gold potatoes from our garden and organic chicken broth)
Pumpkin/rice flour muffins (pumpkin is frozen from our garden) served with organic butter (from Costco)
Frozen organic mixed berries (also from Costco) served with fresh whipped cream (O-organic brand from Safeway) for dessert
With the exception of the whipped cream and the butter, this entire meal is free of gluten, eggs, dairy and soy and sugar. All of the food will be cooked in (and leftovers stored in) glass dishes, which are wiped with olive oil to prevent sticking.
I know, now you're asking, "Where's the turkey and pumpkin pie? And what about cranberry sauce and green Jello?"
Actually, this will be the first year I haven't cooked a turkey. The truth is, natural turkeys just aren't that good to eat, unless you cook them the way my mother used to, which requires hours of hand basting and results in a very messy oven, and I would rather spend the time visiting with my guests. The traditional pumpkin is put into muffins instead of pie, and the berries replace the green Jello. As for cranberry sauce, no one in the family really likes it, so why bother?
Perhaps this won't be Thanksgiving as I remember it as a child, but there are holdovers with the stuffing casserole and pumpkin muffins. And if we weren't trying to stay dairy-free, I would definitely make pumpkin pies (at least the custard filling without the crust). Yummmmm!
Any other ideas?