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Food brings us together all year – but Thanksgiving is special

Thanksgiving quoteThanksgiving is built around a most basic blessing: food.

What stands out as the highlight of this day for me, though isn’t the food itself so much as the sharing of it. The people around our tables – friends and family members – are special to us, and more than a few are people whom we don’t see as often as we should. Sharing this meal and this day with them is something to look forward to, and to celebrate. Food is a fitting centerpiece for such an occasion (“shameless plug” alert), especially if it was grown in California.

This annual gathering is a great recipe for memories and stories, and for laughter. We “catch up.” We reconnect. We welcome new members into the family fold. As holidays go, Thanksgiving done right is a casual, comfortable affair that is just the right warm-up for the bustle to come.

For our farmers and ranchers, we are thankful this season for the hints of rain and snow that have begun to come our way at long last – may they be a sign of what’s to come.

Part of my Thanksgiving holiday tradition is to help prepare and serve a meal for the homeless hosted by my church in downtown Sacramento. It is a reminder for me that the things we are thankful for may bear a striking similarity to the things we shouldn’t take for granted, from prosperity and health to water, safe shelter, food and family. Not all of us – not even in bountiful California – are so fortunate. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve ALL Californians.

Around many tables this year, families will thank soldiers, past and present, for our safety. We will include parents and siblings, teachers and neighbors in our thoughts and thanks. My family will also thank our farmers, ranchers and farmworkers. They work hard for all of us and the fruits of their labor bring us together, at Thanksgiving and all year long.

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