Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving. It’s All in the Food.

If I hear one more preachy conversation on the radio or open one more magazine or newspaper and read about how we all should watch what we eat for Thanksgiving and we need to all dig into the all vegan recipes, that are oh, so yummy, I think I am going to have a conniption fit!

Seriously, folks?! What has America become? The rest of the year, we don’t seem to worry about how fat we get, all of a sudden, we want to be more Catholic than the Pope and pretend we’re on a diet on Thanksgiving?! Isn’t this just anti-American, or something?!

On my first Thanksgiving here, I didn’t know what to expect. I was honestly looking forward to some (odd) family time, to the much anticipated “you never want to talk politics and religion at the Thanksgiving table and you never want to ask anyone what they’ve accomplished this year. Families talk about everything else but the important stuff. Not on Thanksgiving, anyway!” that you hear about from folklore.

I ended up with good memories, with good family conversation, albeit polite and guarded, but I ended up also with great food memories. A foodie by upbringing, I cannot have a good time unless the food is plenty and enjoyed by all.

On that first Thanksgiving, I kept wondering why do Americans think they eat so much for this holiday?! I was raised at my dad’s school of “Let’s be gluttons!”, and if his weekly parties have less than 15 courses he considers them failures. So, a five dish dinner to me was lame. But I loved the food itself – just the traditionalism of it. The “must haves” to celebrate this particular holiday. It was a celebration and a bonding experience. One thing everyone could not only relate to but also talk about, freely. The only non-taboo topic at the dinner table.

Over the years, I have enjoyed many a yummy Thanksgiving dinners and I have learned that the celebration is centered around food! Whether you think it’s a lot or a little food, there is going to be enjoyment and love in making it. After all, the holiday comes after the Harvest season. Many a peoples have celebrated the fruits of a new bountiful year through a feast. It’s one primordial tradition that traveled across all generations and virtually all cultures all over the world!

And bounty means eating lots of foods that give you pleasure. Sure, if you are a vegetarian the rest of the year, eat what gives you pleasure! But if you eat a steak every week, you really want to dig into that tofurky just ‘cause the Food Channel, and the city magazine and the local radio station have jumped on the wagon of “let’s be healthy”? And it’s not even healthy, unless it’s a lifestyle – so one meal of oh “being different for the sake of being different” won’t make your hips notice. Trust you me!

I am not quite sure whether America is bored with tradition, themselves, or just bored period. I am all for healthy eating, don’t get me wrong, but Thanksgiving is not a time to start, I don’t think, or – worse - a time to pretend you’re doing your body a favor because for one night you’re going to eat carrot sticks! It’s a bit too much pretentiousness for my taste.

I am taking a leave of absence from the roasting of the turkey this year, as we are headed to Seattle for the weekend. But as excited as I am about the trip, I am also sad because my house won’t be filled with the smells of the season this November! I miss the foods, already, and I miss the whole spirit of the Holiday. The pause, at the end of the day, for being thankful to another year gone well. The Macy’s parade. The Food TV with Paula Deen buried in butter, “o’l” and molasses. The fireplace - turned on for the first time for the season.

But mostly I will miss my food. The fresh one and the leftovers! So, dear friends, have some crispy turkey skin for me, some mashed potatoes, some gravy and warm rolls! I will be drowning in fresh seafood and good North Western beers this weekend, and dreaming of my perfect Thanksgiving, which, this year, will only be a memory.

May this Thanksgiving find you with a full fridge and a heart filled with gratitude! And whatever you cook, make sure it’s the true you. Make it a good one, everyone!

No comments: