Mashed PotatoesNovember is upon us, with the deep onset of winter. This is the time my thoughts of cooking turn to stews and hearty potato dishes. Available produce includes hard winter squash, potatoes, onions, leeks, parsnips, and carrots. All these foods can be turned into bone-warming, spirit-lifting dishes for family and friends.

Some of my favorite dishes to make at this time of year include lentil stew, fava bean cassoulet, tofu chili with rice and beans — dishes that will keep us energized enough to fight off the mild Arizona winter.

Oddly enough food observances for the month do not really reflect the available foodstuffs. But then, produce growers aren’t the ones who create these holidays. There is National Stuffing day, the only food observance that honors Thanksgiving. My favorite day this month is Clean Out Your Refrigerator day. I do this at least three to four times a month, but we also need a reminder to accomplish this task which can be challenging for some people. I included National Mousse day simply because I used to love this decadent, chocolaty treat and, some day, I will make a vegan mousse that will be just as decadent and lovely as those from my past.

cranberriesOther foods to be looking out for this month include oatmeal and other multi-grain hot cereals. We are in the third (and final!) month of celebrating the apple harvest. There are apples, lots and lots of apples: baked in pies, made into applesauce, baked and stuffed with walnuts, cranberries, and ginger. There’s a day celebrating homemade bread. Baking bread is an activity that I do to relax. I love baking bread and even though the Spouse is gluten free, I still have the ability to make a hearty home-baked loaf for myself – esp. in the winter months when the oven will keep the house warm.

Continuing with November food holidays, month-long celebrations include World Vegan Month, National Pepper Month, National Georgia Pecan Month, National Raisin Bread Month, and National Pomegranate Month. We only have one week-long celebration, and that’s in the first week: National Fig Week.

Here’s the short list of daily food celebrations.

  • November 1: World Vegan Day
  • November 1: National Vinegar Day
  • November 3: National Sandwich Day (yes August was Nat’l Sandwich month)
  • November 6: National Nachos Day
  • November 11: National Sundae Day
  • November 14: National Spicy Guacamole Day
  • November 14: National Pickle Day
  • November 15: Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day
  • November 17: Homemade Bread Day
  • November 18: National Vichyssoise Day
  • November 22: National Cashew Day
  • November 23: Eat a Cranberry Day
  • November 26: National Cake Day
  • November 28: National French Toast Day
  • November 30: National Mousse Day

There you have it. Now go, eat a cranberry, make some tofu French Toast, and go have fun in the kitchen!