Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving, Not Just a Meal

I don’t take too much time off my writing and authoring business. From the time I was starting out as a writer and my first fiction teacher Anne Lamott said, “Write 300 words a day and in a year you’ll have a novel,” I’ve done that. At least 300 words a day, no matter what, vacation, illness, you name it. Often, I do more, but there are the days where I don’t write. I don’t feel compelled to tell people about my latest book (Oh, yeah, Intimate Beings!). And one of those days is Thanksgiving, yesterday.

But Thanksgiving can be problematic for other reasons. Some people just do not like the menu. What, exactly, is someone supposed to do if he or she doesn't like turkey? I mean, doesn’t like the meat, the flavor of it. What if the same person who hates turkey doesn't like to eat too many carbs? You know, the kind of carbs that are in potatoes and stuffing. This could prove to be a bit disappointing, as no matter where you went on Thanksgiving, there it would be: turkey. Yes, people try to do things with it. There is the intense operation in the kettle like turkey deep fryer. There's the brining, the roasting, the stuffing under the skin with herbs and lemon and garlic. There's the turkey breast only. There are the special garnishes. But, in the final analysis, turkey every time.

I love turkey. I love it because it's bland and absorbs the taste of gravy and salt and pepper. I love the disgusting crackly crunch of turkey skin. Yes, I am a carnivore from way back, and I know I could eat myself through a mastodon. Please don't say anything about eating nothing with eyes. I don't eat eyes, but I will eat pretty much else what you can present me (organ meats, not so much, but I'll give it a small go if you serve it politely). I love the gobs of mashed potatoes with butter. The stuffing sticky with turkey drippings. Yes, I will eat some vegetables, but don't you dare eat that last scoop of potatoes.

But my boyfriend Michael? A turkey disdainer, though he tries to make it a happy thing by doing fancy turkey tricks. He's a master briner, a roaster par excellence. But in the final analysis, pass him some fish, which, as we know, makes more Native American sense. And after all, they were half of the original invited guest list.

He's not into potatoes or stuffing. And because there is a long slightly strange white person tradition in my family of the canned jellied cranberry sauce (the kind that comes out with a sound and has the tin marks on it), he forgoes the sauce. He often suggests we make our own, but no one will eat it. We want to cut down the tubular body of the cranberry sauce and hope it doesn't fly off the serving plate.

The good news for him is that we don't do whipped potatoes with marshmallows, but I think that might be our only saving grace.

But Thanksgiving isn't about the food, really, and Michael knows that. This year, our first together in this house, the first together while living together, is about bringing our lives together in one place. His daughter, my sons, my mother. One table, the table we bought together. A bird that we both figured out how to cook together (it's going to be a brined bird this year). Ugly sauce, lots o' carbs, and pie. But family first. Us first. Here.


Gina said...

Thanksgving is really a time for family and friends. I find that it really makes you appreciate life more when you hear why every one is thankful.

Michele L. said...

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year because we always go to my cousins house and visit with all my relations. We had 21 of us this year and we had such a grand time!

Everyone always brings somethings so my cousin and her hubby don't get stuck making everything. They just do the turkey and everyone brings all the side dishes. We always wind up with a feast! We had 4 turkeys this year all cooked differently. My brother smoked a turkey, yum! My cousin's hubby deep fried a turkey, oven roasted a turkey, and then they brined a turkey. Just delicious!

Oh I am a memeber of the "LOVE ALL THE FOOD" club! That is my favorite meal of the year! I always look forward to catching up with cousins and having a good time. Everyone stays all day and eats twice. Love it!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Michele L.

Jessica Barksdale Inclan said...

I should have thought about how "flling" this conversation would feel the day after thanksgiving. The good news is that everything turned out wonderfully, and I suppose that is the bad news, too, because we ate it all! My mom toook home a big pile of it all, and I'm hoping my tow boys will graze their way through the food before they get in the car to go home tomorrow.

Glad you had a wonderful time, Michele, and Gina, you are right, The time together does make us appreciate things more.


danie88 said...

My Thanksgiving was great... I had some great food and hung out with my family and we had so much fun!

Jessica Barksdale Inclan said...

There is that one movie, Home for the Holidays with Robert Downey, Jr. It is about the worst Thanksgiving I've ever seen, but it was funny.

I wrote a novel once (that has never been published) about a very bad Thanksgiving. My agent could not stand it!

I guess we want happy Thanksgiving stories.



Helen said...

I do hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving here in Australia we don't celebrate Thanksgiving but it sounds to me like a wonderful holiday where friends and family can spend lots of fun times together and have some wonderful food.

Have Fun

Jessica Barksdale Inclan said...

Well, after leftovers, it's all about getting to the gym, which I am going to do about now.




Avi J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Avi J said...

Thanksgiving is great for all the food too, but Christmas is right round the corner so the weight will pile up. (lol) I have extra gym sessions now so like you said Jessica Sigh!