Quinn on Nutrition: Thanksgiving, pure and simple

December 1, 2014

Each year on Thanksgiving eve, our church hosts a simple and sweet event called "Praise and Pie." We show up with a pie. Then we gather informally to share our thankfulness for the blessings of this year. And then we eat the pie. I like that.

And I like that President Abraham Lincoln officially set the fourth Thursday of each November as a national day "of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God." Pure and simple.

I like that our Pilgrim relatives were simply thankful for the provision of food — judging by this 1630’s poem from one of forefathers in Massachusetts:

Stead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies

Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,

We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,

If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.

I am thankful for foods that have become part of our Thanksgiving tradition. Wild turkeys, for example, are native to North America. And as the story goes, Benjamin Franklin advocated for the turkey to be our national bird. Instead, the bald eagle was given that distinction. So we apparently decided to eat the turkey for Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that — early in our heritage — some enterprising colonist discovered the pleasant taste of milk, spices and honey combined with pumpkin and baked over hot ashes. And for talented family members who can whip up a pie crust in which to cradle this yummy pumpkin mixture.

We can even be thankful for the cinnamon that spices up our holiday fare. Research continues to back up the claim that as little as 1/5 teaspoon of cinnamon each day — along with prescribed medical care — can help people with diabetes control blood sugars.

And how grateful I am for friends like Madge, who unwittingly started a Thanksgiving tradition in my family years ago when she shared her recipe for sweet potato pie.

This year I am especially thankful for pure and profound blessings. That my sister recovered so well from her recent hospitalization that I actually got mad at her for eating too fast. That I am surrounded by such a bounty of nourishing foods and friends. And that I can expend the energy derived from this holiday meal riding my horse and shoveling out his corral.

Most of all, I am thankful for those of you who labor this Thanksgiving Day to enrich the lives of others with food and love. I pray we do not forget the importance of that…pure and simple.




McClatchy-Tribune Information Services