Say the words “Thanksgiving dinner” and what typically comes to mind are images of a dining table laden with dishes of heaping vegetables, steaming potatoes and bread baskets surrounding the main event: one very over-stuffed turkey glistening golden-brown from the oven. Maybe there’s a ring of glazed carrots and pearl onions, a flotilla of gravy boats, the green-bean casserole and dishes of brilliant cranberry relish nearby. The dessert table, off in a corner, is crowded with pies and sweets.
All in all, a honey-hued Norman Rockwell scene. But lately, abundance has seemed to expand into excess and this year, it got some folks wondering. In these anemic economic times, can families actually afford to put out such a spread? Is there some way to turn this year’s Thanksgiving table into an offering to those with less on their table? Ellen Carney had one idea: let’s simplify the meal and donate what we would have spent to charity.
Some sixty years ago, Ellen lived in an intentional community in Pennsylvania where she raised her children. Each Thanksgiving, community members prepared “stone soup.” The tradition was based on an old folk tale in which poor villagers share what little they have for the benefit of all. At first, some may be reluctant to part with even one precious onion, but little by little, each steps forward with a meager offering, and together the village makes a meal.
In Ellen’s community, members would gather fallen branches and twigs for a big outdoor fire. Someone would set up a huge kettle and once that pot got cooking, one by one, people would bring something to add to the soup: a carrot, a potato, a stalk of celery, and so on. What the community cooked together, they ate together. Each brought his or her own bowl, and everyone ate their fill.
This year, Ellen’s Thanksgiving main dish will be a hearty soup instead of the turkey. Guests will bring a few simple sides, corn bread and a pie. It will be a simple meal with good friends and good conversation, and the money saved is being donated to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry.
Lily the dog, star of the new book “Lily In The Sky With Kindness,” and her pilot/companion Jonathan Nash Glynn will be making several stops this Saturday to raise funds for Wings Over Haiti. On Saturday, November 26, Lily and Jon will be at a meet-and-greet luncheon, Hamburgers For Haiti, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bay Burger. The pair will visit the John Jermain Library from 2 to 4 p.m. where Jonathan will read from the book. A book party for “Lily In The Sky With Kindness,” featuring a “paw signing” by Lily will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Sylvester & Co., with readings by members of Karma Kids, a Sag Harbor-based youth group engaged in community service. A minimum donation of $20 purchases a copy of “Lily In The Sky With Kindness,” with proceeds benefiting the Wings Over Haiti organization. The non-profit promotes cultural exchanges between students around the world.
Since the devastating earthquake last year, the organization has built a school and developed a community garden, among other projects. For more about Wings Over Haiti, see their website: wingsoverhaiti.org. Donation checks may be mailed to Wings Over Haiti, P.O. Box 192, Sag Harbor, NY 11963.
Congratulations to Kathleen Comber. She was recently inducted into Ithaca College’s Oracle Honor Society. First-year students who maintain grades that put them in the top ten percent of students in their school are invited into the society. Kathleen is enrolled in the college’s School of Humanities and Sciences. Nice work, Kathleen!
Best wishes to Isabella Stelle who has just begun her first year at Tufts University in Massachusetts. May your studies be challenging and fulfilling. Keep us posted!