Thoughts on a Very Strange Week in America
An Open Letter to the Adventure Kitchen Community by Lynley Jones, Creator of Adventure Kitchen
We deviated from our usual recipe/cooking newsletter content this week, in response to the election. Following is the text of the email sent to the Adventure Kitchen community on 11/13/16.
Dear Adventure Kitchen Friend,
This has been a very strange week, to say the least. And this will be a fittingly strange email from me, with a great little Thanksgiving story to go with it.
This week, to be perfectly honest, I’ve had a hard time doing the usual cooking, creating recipes, writing, photographing, and excitedly choosing the most valuable bits of all of these things to share with you. Although emails from other foodie websites are filled with all the usual cheery suggestions about what we should be serving on our Thanksgiving tables, to me, this is no normal week.
This week, we are feeling divided. The election results were a surprise to most, and a shock to many. My own social media feeds have been filled with everything from anger to elation, and from fear to hopefulness, depending on who is doing the posting. There are protests in the streets. And at the very same moment, many are wondering what all the fuss is about.
The thing is, this is exactly what Adventure Kitchen is for. This is why it is what it is. From the very beginning, it’s been about more than beautiful pictures and reliable recipes.
Cooking connects us with the world around us. Meals are meant for sharing. In every dish, we encounter the people from whom that food came, and with every serving, we give a small part of ourselves to someone else. No matter who we vote for or where we live, we are all enticed by the scent of a simmering pot, nourished by a warm bite, and refreshed by a cool drink.
And you and me, my friend, we are curious cooks. We are open-hearted. We turn our full faces toward the world in a spirit of friendship and generosity. We value all the gifts the wide the world has to offer. We respect the stories of the people we encounter, and we allow these experiences to change us. That is why I started Adventure Kitchen, that is why it is the way it is, and that's probably why you found your way here.
Right now, this week, the world needs our openness, our generosity, and our kindness. In less than two weeks, we’ll be sitting around our Thanksgiving tables with the people we love, nourishing them with the gift of our best culinary offerings. We may share this meal with people who agree with us, and we may share this meal with people who see the world very differently.
No matter who may join us for this feast, my wish for you, my friend, is that you share your openness and curiosity with them. That you welcome them generously, and take pride in the friendship you offer. And that you are in turn surrounded by peace, love and joy.
(And maybe that someone else does the dishes.)
And now, a story:
This was my very first Adventure Kitchen cooking series, exploring the true story of the "first" Thanksgiving, which is actually much more interesting than the sanitized version we usually learn in school. It's filled with juicy details like backstories for every character, intrigue and double-dealing, daring escapes and close calls, and finally in the end, hope, redemption and a big party.
This was the very first content I created when I was still learning how to make a website (and it shows!). It's told as a narrative for children, from the perspectives of two real people who actually attended the "first" Thanksgiving: a Wampanoag man named Squanto, and an English pilgrim girl named Remember, and it includes recipes in each section to help tell the story. It's based on several books (including Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick), a trip I took to the Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts the previous summer and several follow-up conversations with the foodways experts there.
While we all know that this particular feast is not the end of the history of these people, it is a real-life occasion in which real people, with all their flaws, came together to find common ground that could work for everyone. And to share a meal in peace and joy.
The peace they achieved lasted for more than 50 years. Which is something we can all draw hope from, this year and every year.
We'll be back to our usual programming next week.
In the meantime,
From my adventurous kitchen to yours,