Celebrating the side dishes this Thanksgiving

(Photo courtesy Timolina on Freepik.)

I’m a side chick—meaning the most important part of any meal I sit down to eat is almost always the glorious sides that go along with it. If I didn’t receive strange looks at restaurants, I’d probably just order multiple sides instead of a main dish. I’m talking about the macaroni and cheese, baked potato, creamed corn, fried okra, baked beans, hush puppies, deviled eggs, fried mushrooms, French fries and of course any piece of bread that is set on the table. I enjoy a perfectly-cooked medium rare steak, but my stomach is really just yearning for the starch that accompanies the protein.

Every year Thanksgiving rolls around and while others are dreaming of that juicy bird on turkey day, I’m thinking about the mashed potatoes, stuffing and green bean casserole. I always have a piece of turkey or ham to observe the holiday, but they’ve never really been my primary focus.

This leads me to my discussion point. We hear the phrase thank a farmer often, but are there certain farmers we thank more often than others? We stereotypically think to praise the wheat and corn growers who bring in bountiful harvests every year that feeds the world, but are we forgetting the produce farmer who grows broccoli for the delectable cheesy broccoli casserole or the cranberry farmers wading through their bogs that provide the all too important cranberry sauce? What would Thanksgiving be like without the can of cranberry sauce with the lines indented into the jelly?

We often thank the cattle producer who raises livestock that later become our hamburgers or steaks, but what about the potato farmer who grows the baked spud that is commonly served with that piece of prime meat? If they can share the same plate, they should share the same praise. This Thanksgiving, let’s thank every producer who contributes to this cherished family meal and not overlook a single agriculturists who supplies an ingredient. Whether it’s a turkey or hog producer, dairymen, grain farmer or a vegetable grower. Now let’s gather around the table and remember to pass the sides my direction. Happy Thanksgiving!

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].