What is on the menu at your home on this Thanksgiving Day? Or perhaps you decided to give the chefs of the household a rest and eat at a local restaurant. Either way, we all need to give thanks for the abundance that hopefully we are enjoying on this day.
If, in these tough times, that abundance is not what we would like or had in the past, let's be thankful for the blessings we can count. We need to remember to thank our farmer friends for producing the basic ingredients that go into our food. Without their dedication and hard work to produce the abundance that we have, we could find hunger staring us in the face.
Our modern, conventional family farming systems that efficiently produce our food at the lowest cost of any country in the world give us a lot to think about and be thankful for. Combine the efficiency of today's modern farms with the use of technology on the farm and we have a system that is the envy of much of the world.
Going further down the food chain, we need to be thankful for those who transported the basic farm ingredients to the processor, then those who processed and packaged it into forms we want and enjoy. The food retail businesses provide a useful service in the form of clean, attractive stores with food attractively displayed. And their shelves are well stocked with a great variety of products.
Coming back to what might be on the menu at your home today, we note that turkey is still one of our favorite foods. We eat a lot of turkey in this country, and about 46 percent of that is eaten on Thanksgiving. Christmas and Easter are the other holidays where it is a favorite food.
Much research has gone into developing a turkey that meets the tastes of folks today. They have more white meat, are lower in fat and higher in protein than the bird of years ago. White feathers are preferred because they don't blemish the skin like dark ones. Today you can buy turkey bacon, hot dogs, hamburger, and more.
When this country was settled, wild turkeys were the only ones available for Thanksgiving. Only the alert and strong wild turkeys would survive. Any minute a fox was ready to grab one for a ready meal.
Let's also think about the real meaning of "Thanksgiving."
"Thanks" means just that, to be truly thankful for the many blessings we all enjoy. Taking an inventory of all we have to be thankful for would be a good exercise on this special day.
"Giving" needs extra emphasis in these difficult times. Giving financially to those in need always helps. Giving of our time to others is also important. There are so many ways and opportunities to give of our time. Helping elderly neighbors, volunteering at a nursing home or hospital, helping with church programs, becoming a 4-H adviser or scout leader, just to name a few.
Even if we don't have the money to give, we can give of our time which can be important and helpful in many ways.
Do enjoy your day by giving thanks and pray for those in the military fighting to protect our freedoms.
Parker is an independent agricultural writer for the Tribune.