Want to celebrate Thanksgiving like a caveman? Then perhaps you’ll want to plan your dinner according to the so-called “paleo diet.” The idea of the paleo diet is that human beings should eat like our ancient ancestors in order to prevent certain health problems that can arise from modern diets full of fat, sugar and refined flour. Proponents of the paleo diet advocate eating meat, seafood, vegetables, nuts, and eggs, while omitting grains, refined sugars, most fats, and dairy products. What? No whipped cream for my pumpkin pie? No cornbread dressing? How can this be? Here are a few suggestions.
For appetizers that rock (that’s a little paleo humor), try bowls of mixed nuts, a vegetable tray, and bacon-wrapped broiled shrimp. Let’s assume that our caveman ancestors lived on the Texas coast where they could seine for shrimp and had wild hogs running around to make bacon. They could also harvest pecans and perhaps find wild squash and prickly pear fruit for their vegetable tray at this time of year. No sour cream or cream cheese dip. No ranch dip. Strictly speaking, not even hummus (a dip made of chick peas and tahini or sesame seed butter). But bacon-wrapped shrimp? Sign me up!
Turkey of course! Or ham. Or brisket. Or leg of lamb. All meats except those with preservatives are allowed on the paleo diet. No flour, milk or butter in that gravy though. Just use the delicious juices from the meat itself, maybe enhanced with a little wine. Not bad.
Potatoes, squash and tomatoes are all native to the Americas, while greens are native on all continents except
Antarctica. All would be perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course these particular vegetables would not have been available on the Texas coast thousands of years ago, but human beings are creative and adaptable. Ancient people would have found whatever plant foods were edible at this season and used them. The real problem for Thanksgiving as I see it, is dressing. Paleo diet books generally do not endorse grains as part of the natural human diet. No corn bread. No wild rice. No rolls or biscuits. Not even a crumb. Sorta makes me want to cry. But such is the sacrifice to go paleo.
This category may present the most problem to those who want a Thanksgiving dinner just like momma used to
make. Remember no flour, butter or dairy allowed. Sssh! No pie crust, no cake, no ice cream? What’s left? Well, how about a crustless pumpkin pie? Same wonderful flavor and texture, sort of like a mousse or custard. Sounds good to me! Or how about fresh autumn pears poached in spiced red wine? That’s one of my favorites. Light, healthy, and delicious. The perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
I think it would be safe to serve wine or beer at this paleo dinner, since archaeologists
have found evidence in many parts of the world of ancient alcoholic beverages. Tea, being nothing more than leaves, would probably be all right too. But that cuppa coffee to go with dessert? I doubt it. Oh well, I’ll just have another glass of wine and call it a day!
Let me add that the so-called paleo diet is controversial due to the lack of grains and limited fats. And lack of whipped cream. I think I’m just going omnivore, or as the hipsters say, flexitarian. That way I get to choose a little bit of everything!
Happy Paleo Thanksgiving Everyone!
For my friends outside the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving whenever you celebrate abundant harvests. And if you don’t have a special holiday for giving thanks, I hope you give thanks for every day you have. Cheers!