We are entering the season of traditions. A collection of customs, objects and ideas intended to help us find cause for celebration. Otherwise known as patterns.
In a country with 330 million people, it is difficult for me to predict how the pattern of your fourth Thursday in November looks. Is it marked by turkey, cranberries and the Dallas Cowboys? Are you taking the opportunity to learn more about Native American history in your region? Do you head out to work a retail job or catch a new movie in the theaters? Are you an immigrant trying to marry new traditions with old?
Me? I’m watching The Wizard of Oz.
In an early childhood mostly devoid of football, Dorothy followed the yellow brick road immediately after Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year. A tradition that the internet tells me likely started around 1991 when it began regularly airing on television in November. A now meaningful connection born out of coincidence and repetition.
At a recent work meeting, I found myself bridging a generational gap by repeating a more popular coincidence. That if you start playing Pink Floyd’s 1973 release, Dark Side of the Moon, on the third roar of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s lion in the introduction of The Wizard of Oz, a pattern appears. One that pop culture has been trying to impose meaning on for nearly 50 years.
Meanwhile, as The Dark Side of Oz was circulating through counter-culture, another green utopia was born. One that has arguably had a bigger impact on what you cook alongside your turkey. If you even have one.
The Moosewood Restaurant was established in 1973 in Ithaca, NY as a collectively owned natural foods restaurant. It has since been credited as being one of the most influential forces in America for popularizing vegetarianism.
Go to the cooking section of any used bookstore and you’re likely to find one of Moosewood’s 14 critically acclaimed cookbooks. Filled with simple ingredients, suggested variations and light hearted instructions they have brought plant forward recipes into millions of homes for over four decades.
So it’s no coincidence that it’s a book I come back to often. Recipes that have quickly become part of our pattern for the holiday. Leaving me filled with foods a little greener and thankful, just like Dorothy.
green bean and walnut salad
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant: New Classics
Dressing note: If you don’t have any type of blender, mince the garlic and whisk ingredients together in a small bowl for a more vinaigrette type salad.
what you need
dressing: 1/4 cup walnut oil ◾ 1/4 cup olive oil ◾ 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar ◾ 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped ◾ 1 garlic clove ◾ 2 teaspoons dijon mustard ◾ 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
salad: 1 cup walnut halves ◾ 2 pounds green beans, trimmed ◾ 1/2 cup shaved pecorino romano ◾ 4 cups mixed salad greens (optional)
what to do
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Prep a large bowl with ice cold water.
While the water heats, whirl the dressing ingredients in a blender until emulsified.
Blanche (AKA flash boil) the green beans in boiling water until just tender, 90 to 120 seconds. Set a timer, it goes fast. Drain the beans and plunge into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again.
Toss green beans and walnuts with dressing. Serve alone or over a bed of salad greens. Top with shaved pecorino.
Reading - The Unlikely Rise of French Tacos by Lauren Collins (2021) which is a very New Yorker way to say “we’re the last to realize that filling a burrito-esque wrap with grilled meat and French fries smothered in cheese is very likely to be a hit”
Watching - TURN: Washington’s Spies (2014)
Listening - Everything I Didn’t Say by Cry Baby (2021) brought to you by the return to live music
Smelling - Masculin Pluriel by Maison Francis Kurkdjian (2014) a scent for when the shop clerk mixes up your feminine version sample and the full bottle, but you just roll with it