By: Saira Malhotra
What if sustainability shared a spot on your Thanksgiving dinner table? It is nothing but a few moments of reflection away and Chef Bryant has made it even easier by showing us how. Chef Bryant is acclaimed author of Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine and Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen. It should come of no surprise that he has seamlessly figured out a way to make the holidays fun and festive while being categorical on all things sustainable. Here are some of his suggestions:
- Local and seasonal - This may mean that you have to trade some items from your ingredient list if they are not available at your local farmers market. Let this be a time to be artistic and your grandmother will be proud of you, after all, she brought her dishes embodying her philosophies to the Thanksgiving table, now what will you bring to yours?
- The Farmers Market - When picking herbs and vegetables from your community backyard is not an option, seek out the local farmers market. LocalHarvest.org is a great resource to allocate the market closest to you. Perouse the market stands and allow the produce to speak to you.
- Maximize your own kitchen and pantry ingredients - Did you freeze fruits and veggies from the previous season? Now is the time to pull them out. If you think that basil plant growing on your kitchen window has no place at Thanksgiving, think again.
- Drink Locally - Many places now produce their beers and wines. Doesn't this sound deliciously artisanal? Think about what it is doing for the carbon footprint.
- Apple picking, make it a family excursion! Chef Bryant suggests going on a local apple picking trip and then put them to good use, such as Apple Cider, Apple Jack Toddies, and Apple cranberry sauce.
- Get as much leverage from your ingredients as possible - Why throw away fruit peels when they could be roasted and used to scent your home or thrown in to a cocktail? Or scrape those pumpkin seeds off, roast them, and toss them in seasonal spices.
- Why get hung up on making everything disposable? Rather than wasting paper plates and plastic cups, use the real deal. You'll notice that your guests will hold on to their glasses and plates for much longer.
- Share the love - Think about making this a special moment for the people you love and the people in your community.
For more holiday tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)