Canada’s Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October. The day after is a normal work day. The stores are closed on Thanksgiving — even Costco. Many families have their Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, after church, and spend Monday driving home. It’s not a huge celebration, like in the USA. It’s a quiet meal with an extra slice of pie and maybe a few more guest around the table.
A typical Thanksgiving Dinner is begins around 2pm and consists of a Turkey, bread and nut stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, along with mashed turnips, and sometimes brussel sprouts or butternut squash. There might be a salad and bread, depending on how many guests are expected. Dessert is just as likely to be apple pie as pumpkin pie. And if there are a lot of guests, they each might have half a slice of each kind, crowned with whipped cream.
And the next day, life is back to normal. In that respect, we’re lucky. There is no mega push to the next holiday — life moving so fast that we lose today in planning for tomorrow.
And then there are leftovers. In my mind leftovers are the best part of a big holiday — turkey soup, hot turkey and gravy sandwiches, turkey tacos, and turkey wraps in the corporate lunch. And if there’s any left after that, turkey quesadillas. The stuffing goes first on the hot turkey sandwiches, and the cranberry sauce lasts a few more meals, ultimately to be finished off in cranberry muffins. When people are turkey tired, the last of the turkey soup gets put in the freezer to be tossed at the freezer cleanout in August.
For this all to work perfectly we Moms have to pay attention to food safety in the kitchen.
Food safety begins the moment we bring the turkey home from the store and needs to continue until the last of the leftovers are consumed.
To keep your Thanksgiving turkey safe to eat you need to observe a few safety rules:
- Thaw it quickly and safely
- Wash your hands and the cutting board but not the turkey
- Cook it till it reaches an internal temperature of 165F – use a thermometer
- Keep the cutting boards and utensils that touch the raw meat separate from the cutting boards and utensils that touch other food
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours, and then visit with guests
- If you are sending left overs home with guests always pack them in a cooler with ice
- Leftovers should be cut into smaller pieces to cool quickly before refrigerating
- Leftovers should be frozen if they can’t be consumed within 3 or 4 days (ie. the Sunday after US Thanksgiving.)
- Cookies, crackers, and bread left at room temperature are still safe to consume
- All vegetables, meats, and even pumpkin pie should be refrigerated within 2 hours of the meal. If you forget throw it out.
- Be sure to reheat leftover meat to 165F before tasting and reheat liquids to boiling
What to do while you’re waiting for leftovers to cook?
There’s so much that you can do besides waiting in line outside the Big Box Store. Celebrate “Buy Nothing” Day by enjoying all those things you said you were thankful for. Or try one of these things suggested by Mountain Rose Herbs.
5 Ways to Celebrate Buy Nothing Day
1. Clean out your closets and cabinets to collect warm clothing, food, and toiletries that can be donated to a local shelter.
2. Write heartfelt letters of gratitude to the people you love. What a powerful gift!
3. Do you have empty dropper bottles, extra herbs, or other herbal supplies around? Use them up by making gifts or send them to a free clinic!
4. Talk a long walk and enjoy the beauty around you.
5. Host a clothing swap or leftovers potluck with friends.
To celebrate Buy Nothing Day I’m helping out at our local artisan Christmas faire at Gallery 2 in Grand Forks. It’s an annual gathering of local artisans and artists with quality crafts that showcase the very best original and traditional designs in BC. Even though we live in a small town, the quality of the show is comparable to the best show in downtown Vancouver. And this show is affordable for the artists, too. If you’re local to me, come out and meet the artisans and shop local for one of a kind works of art. (Find me and say, “Hello.” If I look spaced out, I probably am and could use some grounding.) If you aren’t local to me, find some local artisans, artists, and small farmers to support this year and build community while you build your gift inventory. Supporting small craftsman and artists is sustainable, community building, and the right thing to do.