Don’t worry. This is not going to be an ode to all the things for which I am thankful. Nor is it going to be one of those exercises like I’ve done in the past where I explain why I’m thankful for the seemingly-bad things in my life.
This is an ode to food. Pure and simple.
I love food, but I don’t have the patience to be a food blogger like the ones who are so popular now. I might have considered food-blogging awhile back but a scathing comment about me in a public forum was once made by a popular food blogger and so I pretty much decided that was a social circle I didn’t really want to enter. Besides which, for me writing about food is like writing about sex, music, the colour purple. There are some things I just love for themselves and I don’t want to put them through the wringer of the magic of words because they have a magic all their own for me. Writing about them, conjuring them into this space, seems like gilding the lily.
But Thanksgiving is my holiday for food. Before you go down that road let me explain that one can love food without being a glutton, just as one can enjoy sex without being promiscuous. It’s a common misconception in our weight-obsessed society that loving food is a bad thing. Since I know it isn’t, I love Thanksgiving, with all its celebration of not only the deliciousness of food but also the seeming bounty.
Thanksgiving dinner is my favourite food; it’s what I’d ask for at my last meal were I to be executed. Not that I’m planning to BE executed. (That’s why I avoid that food blogger. I find there is less danger of my facing lethal injection if I don’t kill somebody else.) Since it IS my favourite meal, I like it straightforward and traditional. Turkey, oven-roasted golden brown, with mushroom stuffing. Cranberry sauce that slides from the can with the gloppy kiss of suction removed. Potatoes mashed with cream and butter and salt and black pepper, so thick from the cream, so golden from the butter that they stand stalwart on the plate, ready to hold a reservoir of my perfect, oft-requested turkey gravy.
One of my pet peeves is the way that the food networks and cooking shows decide that they’re going to tart up a perfect meal with all sorts of spin. “This year, do a turkey braised with Apricot Brandy and stuffed with Chestnuts, pine nuts and Rosemary! Add to that my perfect Sweet Potato Quinoa Tart, riced Yukon Gold potatoes with mango bacon butter and gluten free cranberry scones* for the meal they’ll talk about all year!” Yes. They will talk about your hipster-trendoid nightmare all year because they expected the traditional meal everyone loves and instead got some sort of whack experiment that would get you kicked off Top Chef in the third episode.
There is a time for fancy fiddling around in the kitchen. It’s called February. Take one of those blustery shut in weekends and do yourself up a Cooking Light feast. It’ll give you something to do, it’ll be a welcome treat for your audience and it WILL NOT MASSIVELY SCREW UP THE HOLIDAYS WITH YOUR GOOFERY.
Tomorrow I go to Kroger for my annual feast shopping and I look forward to that as much as I do Christmas Day. It’s odd to realise that about oneself, but I say, hey. Go with it. Be thankful.
* I made all of these dishes up. Do not ask me for the recipe. But I bet five dollars if you google them you’ll find actual recipes somewhere. There are only so many trendoid permutations of food out there.