James Van Der Beek sets his Thanksgiving table with intention, interview

James Van Der Beek for Libby's Vegetables, photo provided by Libby's Vegetables
James Van Der Beek for Libby's Vegetables, photo provided by Libby's Vegetables /

For many people, Thanksgiving is a celebration beyond the bounty of food presented on the table. It brings friends, family and more together for a moment of celebration. While many people are familiar with James Van Der Beek and his work, the talented actor, husband, and father sets the Thanksgiving event with intention and a simple recipe that gives back with every serving.

Some people serve traditional recipes year after year. While there might be a particular seasoning that flavors a stuffing or the method of cooking that turkey, the cooking techniques may not be the focal point of the celebration. It is the preamble to the real purpose of the meal, the moment to spend time with others around the table.

Recently, James Van Der Beek partnered with Libby’s Vegetables to give back this Thanksgiving season. As seen in his Instagram post, the partnership not only looks to connect people but also give back. The partnership is supporting Meals On Wheels, a charity that holds special meaning for James.

Recently, FoodSided spoke to James Van Der Beek about this Libby’s Vegetables partnership and his Thanksgiving traditions. When James described his holiday table, he mentioned that there are many “Thanksgiving orphans,” meaning that friends who come together as a community ,at his outdoor concrete table in Texas. While the rustic setting by the river might be picturesque, it is more than the view that puts everyone in a celebratory mood. The potluck dining experience is a time to reflect, sing, and celebrate.

While his own table might be full of gratitude, the collaboration Libby’s Vegetables and Meals on Wheels brings up a special connection to his family. James mentioned that he vividly remembers his grandfather working with the organization and the pride that he took in being able to provide meals to seniors.

As James explained, it was more than just food on the plate. It was about the “meaningful social interaction.” Specifically, he explained that there is a need to “provide food for the body and social interaction for your soul.” When both components come together, it is quite memorable.

That willingness to serve is a sentiment that he is passing onto his own children. From simple gestures to sharing stories around the table, it is about giving them the knowledge to make informed decisions. It is about the desire to go out and make a difference.

This year, James gathered the whole family in the kitchen and learned to make this special green bean casserole recipe. James has found that family cooking can be a great way to add a touch of learning with the flavorful food. Although a fraction lesson might not be front of mind at the holiday season, the flavorful food can encourage the kids to eat a few more vegetables at dinner. James found that the kids are often more willing to take a bite because they are invested in the dish when they make it.

While his family will be making the Libby’s Vegetables Green Bean Casserole, he admitted that they do use store bought gravy. A few semi-home made hacks can make the festivities run smoothly.

No matter how many people gather at the table for the holiday, one sentiment is clear from any celebration. A moment of gratitude and the willingness to serve others will linger fill the memory for a long time.