November 28th, 2009
I don’t like turkey. There, I said it. I know that it makes me a pinko commie nazi Canadian sympathizer, but I really, really don’t like turkey. In fact, I don’t like much about Thanksgiving, stuffing, yams, green beans drowning in cream of mushroom soup, cranberry sauce that slides out of a can. I have no use for these foods. The only Thanksgiving food that I actually enjoy is mashed potatoes, and I would say I’m at best lukewarm about them.
For years, I’ve been pushing for a new tradition, and so far I have not won the battle. But now that we have another Thanksgiving under our belt, I’m starting my campaign for next year’s enchilada celebration.
And before you say it, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I’m extremely glad that I have access to Thanksgiving food, shelter and family. I just think that we blow November 25th a little out of the proportion.
There are several logical fallacies in perpetuating the traditional Thanksgiving feast. For one, we must keep in mind that the feast that was started by the pilgrims was started out of necessity, and near starvation. They were making the best out of what they had – which happened to be root vegetables, corn and wild turkeys. No matter the political and social ramifications of Thanksgiving – the menu was based entirely on what they happened to scrape up around them.
It’s the equivalent of looking in your fridge at the end of the month, and pulling out last week’s leftover pizza, the rest of the yogurt with an indeterminate expiration date, a block of slightly frozen cheddar cheese, and a zip lock baggie full of what used to be tuna casserole and serving it to your family for dinner. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it, but is it worth making a tradition out of this?
I don’t think the pilgrims would approve of our nostalgia. I think if the pilgrims were here today, they would want enchiladas and really good dark beer. We don’t have to actually harvest our feast anymore people, let’s stop the madness.
Part of my Thanksgiving dread is based on my holiday experience growing up. Thanksgiving to me as a kid meant helping mom to madly scrub the house from top to bottom. We would wake up early, and immediately begin scrubbing, scouring and hiding all the unfolded laundry. In between polishing things and vacuuming every square inch of the house, mom would cook. If I found a chance to sit down, I was immediately handed a cutting board, an enormous bag of grapes and a spoon. My job was to scoop the seeds out of the grapes for some kind of grape/mayonnaise salad.
Lately I have wondered why Mom didn’t just buy seedless grapes.
Then, around 1pm or so, we would madly scramble to shower, dress and look calm and relaxed. Guests would arrive and we would serve food, pick up dishes, fill coffee cups, make small talk. Then, as soon as they left, we would start scrubbing again. Dishes, serving plates, sauce pans, you name it.
The next three weeks would be a continuous montage of turkey casseroles, turkey sandwiches, turkey potpies….until Christmas came. On Christmas Day we did the exact same thing, every once in awhile we would substitute the turkey for a ham. January would then be filled with ham casseroles, ham sandwiches, ham and eggs…..
It’s time to stop the madness.
My husband and I have been on our own for Thanksgiving for the last five years. The first year was blissful, we pretended it wasn’t Thanksgiving and went to Disneyland. We ate junky enchiladas with the Japanese tourists and Canadians. The last four years, however, we have fallen back in to the turkey trap. Thus, I opened my fridge this morning to see five pounds of turkey and 1,000 Tupperware containers of harvest leftovers staring back at me.
No more. I’m drawing a line in the stuffing. I think that we should serve what we serve on Thanksgiving and any guests we might have will have to deal with our eccentricities. I suspect, however, that Thanksgiving enchiladas and beer will become wildly popular.
The husband is not supportive of this measure. He says the harvest tradition goes way back, before pilgrims. Thus, Thanksgiving is not about eating pilgrim food, it is about celebrating our bounty and our harvest for the dark months ahead. Okay, I get it, not about pilgrims. However, my bountiful harvest comes from the grocery store, and the grocery store sells many, many different foods. Thus, if I am harvesting for the Autumn feast, it makes as much sense to harvest the ingredients for enchiladas and black beans as it does to buy pumpkins and turkeys.
I don’t know if I’ll be successful, it’s worth a shot. Right now I’m off to find turkey recipes that will completely mask the flavor of turkey.