I'm not sure this is totally accurate, but I do not recall ever being a fan of Thanksgiving (TG). For starters, I played a pilgrim woman in about 400 Thanksgiving plays during my elementary school years and really felt complete pilgrim burnout by the time 6th grade rolled around. Secondly, TG has always felt SO blah to me. You've got a 50/50 chance of an overcast day, the sky nothing more than a funereal shroud hanging low. And the hues! Thanksgiving feels as if drums of muddy earth tones exploded everywhere. Cornucopias are yellow-brown, turkeys are brown, potatoes are white, gravy is brown, apple pie is pretty much beige, iced tea is brown, pumpkin pie is orange....you get my drift. Growing up, the only truly bright jewel was Nanny's cranberry sauce, a staple then and a staple now.
And the meal is always around 3pm. Why? You have to save up enough room so that you can still eat the meal but you also must graze enough beforehand that you don't go batshit from plummeting glycemic levels. I suspect this sounds really anal, but I'd rather go for straight-up lunch or straight-up dinner.
Though tasty, our traditional dishes -turkey, cornbread dressing, rice dressing, bean bundles, garlic bread- were a monotonous, sleepy hue (even the green beans are wrapped in bacon [brown]; delicious but nonetheless brown), and the carbs in concert with the turkey's tryptophan meant that after stuffing ourselves in the dining room, we moseyed glassy-eyed the short distance to the living room and took sonorous naps on the floor. You couldn't escape that slumber if you tried. And now, no amount of tryptophan will tamp the boys' energy so a darn nap isn't even possible. For me, wine as a TG beverage lost its spot years ago; if I imbibe AND eat turkey AND can't nap because of the kiddos, oh lawd, I hate to even consider the state I'd be in.
Since marrying Tom, we have celebrated TG with his lovely family, and, as I would with my own, I have tried to rock their culinary traditions boat just enough to put color on the table but not so much as to sink or disrespect the vessel. A vibrant Brussels sprouts slaw with mustard vinaigrette and candied pecans is now de rigueur at our TG meal, offering a visual counterpoint to the mashed potatoes and a helpful bit of fiber to boot. I tote along cranberry sauce a la Nanny, as well as my double grape-rosemary-pine nut compote. The standards remain -dressing! pecan pie!- but they get gussied up a bit with colorful neighbors.
I know that many people adore Thanksgiving because it is a family-based holiday minus the materialism that comes along with other holidays like Christmas. And that is surely nice, but for some reason, I just don't like the day. More often than not I end up feeling lonely and glum. I wish I could understand why. Perhaps it's the expectations of the day -BE THANKFUL AND HAPPY!- or the nostalgia that sweeps in with the advent of the holiday season, but I adore Christmas so there is something different about Turkey Day.
I have found in years past that starting the day with a Turkey Trot, the proceeds from which go to help those less fortunate, is critical for me. You get some exercise and give thanks by helping others. That's how my crew is kicking off this Thursday- the Turkey Trot downtown on Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues that benefits So Others Might Eat (SOME). And then we'll head to my in-laws to see a host of cousins, aunts and uncles. I suspect my annual doldrums will appear, but I can always hope for otherwise.
Do y'all like Thanksgiving? [polldaddy poll=7593420]