From The Ladle To The Gravy

This post was supposed to be completed on Thanksgiving, but you’ve still got leftovers in the fridge, right? Then it still counts! I hope everyone had a great holiday.

Once again we skipped the turkey in favor of an alternative delight–penne pasta in a homemade basil sauce, Italian sausages roasted with bell peppers and onions in a homemade marinara sauce and triple chocolate brownies. Unconventional Thanksgiving fare, to be sure, though perhaps an homage to Christopher Columbus, who paved the way for later explorers and pilgrims.

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While on the subject, did you ever think about Thanksgiving as a political holiday? Whether for religious or political reasons, every holiday has its fair share of detractors. But every Thanksgiving the cynics arrive by the gravy-boat loads. Discussions arise about everything from how the original Pilgrim feast differed from our modern Thanksgiving tradition to snarky comments about how "we" screwed over the Native Americans to the inevitable diatribe against American imperialism and genocide. Sometimes it’s enough to keep me from having seconds.

One unarguable property of Thanksgiving is that it’s a time to be with family. The far-flung converge at this or that relative’s house. Often it’s the only time of the year that the bulk of the family sees each other. So in the course of chatting and catching up on events, there will inevitably be heated and reheated discussions of sports or politics as each turkey has his or her turn on the soapbox. It’s also a recipe for high drama when the teens, college students or unemployed members of the family show up with unexpected new boy/girlfriends, tattoos and piercings, punk hair styles and clothes plastered with leftist slogans.

But fortunately this micro uprising only exists to tweak the nerves of the older folk who long ago sold out to The Establishment, and it only lasts until the hard-earned mashed taters, gravy and stuffed fowl hit the big table. I can’t say whether these trappings are an accurate reproduction of the first Thanksgiving, but they will be our tradition from the cradle to the grave.

You’ll find less political gatherings on Christmas and Easter, but Thanksgiving continues to be that stubborn holiday when people complain and give thanks at the same time. Like it or not, it’s a uniquely American time of year that hopefully proves we’re not the hotheaded gunslingers that the media, foreign governments and random wacky polemicists sometimes try to portray us as. While I don’t deny the sorrows that blemish this country’s past and present, I give thanks for the enormous amount of good that has come from this place. And all the amazing things that are on the horizon.

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