It was Turkey Weekend last weekend, and we were able to host Thanksgiving dinner. Since moving here, we haven’t been able to host Thanksgiving as often as I would like. We originally started hosting an Orphan Dinner in 2000 or 2001. Because of our close proximity to family, we spent the previous 3 Thanksgiving weekends busy at dinners that others are hosting. Which is nice, but it’s good to cook too.
This year, the regional fam packed up their bags, their bikes, and Grandma, and headed out to Spence’s Bridge for Thanksgiving camping and riding. This left us in town with a free weekend, and a couple of hungry friends. So we did up the dinner, but we did it a little different this year.
First, it wasn’t an orphan dinner, most people had family plans on the Saturday or Sunday.
Second, we weren’t technically hosting, just cooking. We don’t really have chairs or a table at the moment, so we actually hosted at Nick’s place in Historic Gastown, where we got to watch a homeless guy get arrested for being homeless.
Third, we decided to forgo the traditional Turkey, Stuffing, Potatoes, etc, and run with a Hundred Mile menu instead.
I had heard of the 100-Mile Diet before, but I hadn’t really given much thought as to what it meant for regular meals. I was introduced fully to the idea earlier in the summer when I attended a 100-Mile Bar-b-q hosted by a friend from work. Her husband was just finishing filming a Documentary on the diet, and their family had been participating (at home only) during the shoot. Meeting other people who were doing it, and hearing about their stories, was incredible and I thought it would be fun to extend the idea into at least one shared meal before we left. Thanksgiving seemed to be the best place, as it’s a time to celebrate the local harvest season, and what better way to celebrate, than to eat! Also, as it’s our last Thanksgiving in this area, we thought it would be nice to have foods from the region.
Some interesting facts about eating 100-Mile in Vancouver.
- No one in town makes flour. If you want to eat flour, you have to buy wheat from a local farmer, and mill your own. This requires the use of a wheat mill as well.
- No one in town makes salt. If you want salt, you can head down to the beach, grab some water, and dehydrate until you have homemade sea salt.
- There is no yeast within 100 miles of here. This means no leavened bread, no beer, and very little wine. (Some wine is made with natural occurring yeast that grows on the grapes.) You can still make flatbreads (with your personally milled flour), and I think you might be able to make sourdough.
- There is very little naturally occurring oil around here. Hazlenut oil or butter is really the only option.
- Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, chocolate, coffee, olives, etc. do not grow around these parts.
There is, however, plenty of meat, fish, vegetables, dairy, berries and several fruits. So we don’t really have a shortage of tasty food, but it does take a bit of a mind shift to work within the constraints of the menu.
What we ended up making was as follows:
- Mushrooms in a garlic cream sauce.
Sarah and K learned to make this at a cooking class earlier in the week. We grabbed some local mushrooms and milk, and mixed with garlic and other kitchen magic to make a tasty appy. We used some brandy from out-of-region in the sauce.
- Grilled Sockeye Salmon, with a blueberry/honey reduction, and local herbs.
Salmon is tasty, and fits better with some dietary restrictions at the dinner. We did the glaze because oil, lemons, pepper, maple, brown sugar and salt (all tasty salmon toppers) are not from around here. Note: Local blueberry juice is crazy expensive.
- Cucumber salad, in a Creme Fraiche and chive dressing.
I wanted a crunchy salad to go with the meal, and when I tried this at the bar-b-q it was delicious. Also, I got to make the Creme Fraiche from scratch, which was really cool.
- Wheat Berry Tabouleh, with Cranberry and Apple dressing.
Tabouleh is normally made with Cous Cous, but as it’s not a regional grain, we subbed Wheat Berries instead. So good!! Lemons are not regional, so we used cranberries for the sour flavour. Tomatoes, cucumber, herbs, and apples from the farmers market finished it off.
- Potatoes au Gratin.
This was a recipe from a French co-worker. Apparently it’s a staple of her family dinners. The potatoes used the home made creme fraiche, some herbs and garlic, and a local cheese. They should have used Swiss, but it’s a long way from here to Switzerland.
- Pumpkin Pie.
This was not 100-MIle Pie. But it was tasty!!!
We cut a few corners here and there, but it was true to spirit. We even cut the salt and oil out of most of the dishes (except the cucumber salad, which used salt for drying the cukes).
It actually wasn’t as hard as I would have thought. I think that some of that is because we live in an excellent food producing region. Also, we have been trying to Eat Local, and eat slow, for a while now. The 100-Mile diet fit nicely into both of those systems.