Explaining Thanksgiving.

” It’s not Thanksgiving unless you eat the leftovers for breakfast.”

I really dig Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s the lack of religious iconography, or the day off you get from school (in the U.S., that is) But I think it has to do with the whole premise. Lets get together, eat a lot of really filling food, and then collapse in a companionable food coma amongst friends and family.

This is assuming that you don’t have to explain the historical background behind the holiday. A hopeless endeavor. It just makes you and America look bad. An example:“…So the settlers had no food and were starving because they couldn’t get their shit together and the Indians basically saved their asses by showing them how to eat corn. They celebrated this gesture of goodwill with a meal offering thanks. What? Oh yeah, then the settlers kind of killed a lot of Indians and now Indians live on reservations. But we still celebrate Thanksgiving…..”)

This holiday is easy to share with non-Americans (or NonAms). Many of them have been to a number of Thanksgiving feasts before, hosted by various expats around the world. I enjoy cooking the meal, and accepting with humility the compliments afterward (scratch that. Those complements make me feel like The Greatest Chef In The World. Self-esteem goes up through the roof.)Sitting around an international Thanksgiving table, there are always inevitable questions.

Q: What is the difference between Turkey and Chicken?  

Chicken and turkey have nothing in common except mutual birdhood. Maybe they look like large/small versions of eachother when decapitated and de-feathered, but that is no way to compare them.  Next.

Q:Why must Americans have a holiday which celebrates gluttony over a dinner of carbs, then finishes it off with three kinds of pie? Do you really need three kinds of pie?

Yes, we do need to finish with three kinds of pie because America is the land of plenty and that is how we roll. Next.

Q: [With wonder] What is this dish of bread chunks and fruit that tastes like meat?

That, my Viennese friend, is stuffing. In my experience, stuffing is a surprisingly unknown dish outside the U.S.A. Many NonAms have never tried anything like this strange mixture of stale bread, cranberries, apples and turkey juice. They don’t understand it, but they love it anyway.

And that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.


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