My hope for this Thanksgiving: Americans become like the food the holiday represents. I’m pretty sure at most Thanksgiving meals, there are dishes people like and dishes people don’t like, yet all the food is welcome at the table. Nobody would dare put up a “fuss,” as my mother would say.
In my childhood family, my mom cooked all of the Thanksgiving food, rising early to get “the bird” in the oven so we could eat by 3 pm. All of us kids snitched tastes from the batch of stuffing she made from heels of bread she collected and froze over the course of the year. She drenched the bread pieces in Imperial margarine and sautéed onion. Once the raw egg went in, we had to stop the sampling, lest we come down with a case of salmonella poisoning.
My brothers and sisters and I would have been perfectly happy being served nothing but turkey and yummy stuffing for Thanksgiving. We might fight over the drumsticks but otherwise, there was a turkey part for everyone. But that’s not how my mom and dad liked their dinner. My dad insisted on a carry-over from his southern roots, green beans flavored with bacon grease, an “ok” dish by us kids. My mom’s favorite, the pearl onions drowned in Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and topped with crushed saltines. This was the one dish most of us kids skipped. If she ever stopped making it, the table would seem a bit empty. We got used to the creamy lumps in the 9X9 Pyrex pan co-mingling with the bowls of mashed potatoes and green beans on the table.
My absolute Thanksgiving favorite is the pumpkin pie I make from scratch. I could eat it for three meals a day, suiting me best for breakfast because my stomach is most empty; I can eat more! My friend Kim, she is not a fan of pumpkin pie and I can’t fathom Thanksgiving without it. She prefers pecan pie, an extension of her Texan roots, another part of America and very well deserving of a piece of the American pie.
Yet, I like my friend Kim and her family. We share the same taste in Pinot Noir and sparkling Rosé. We both love Italy, America and California. Our husbands like each other and so do our kids. Celebrating Thanksgiving together seems so natural given both our extended families live out of state, except for the pie part. We eat together anyway, appreciating each other’s differences.
I love Thanksgiving because every American can participate. By sharing a special meal we build community and tradition even if we like to eat different things, something we can model in other parts of our lives. My hope for our great nation: To be like a Thanksgiving table where everyone gets a pumpkin pie and accepts the creamed pearl onions. No fuss.Share on Facebook