Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Yes, it can be a lot of work and, yes, it’s the most fattening meal of the year. But I still think it’s simply fabulous.
My first reason for loving Thanksgiving is because it features the simplest menu – ever. If you have the same family and friends over for this holiday dinner year after year, they don’t want you to experiment and change the menu. They wait all year for that special stuffing. They love that sweet potato casserole. Bring on the creamed corn, mashed potatoes and gravy with buttermilk biscuits warm from the oven. Butter is also a main ingredient in all good Thanksgiving recipes. Pounds and pounds of butter may not make for the best daily diet but it does create the best Thanksgiving Day meal.
The key entrée is always turkey, of course. And always a little bigger than you need to serve the number of people at your table. (Leftovers and doggie bags are a critical component of any Thanksgiving meal strategy). Some folks brine their turkeys, some deep fry their bird, and others tent it with aluminum while baking it. If you’re extremely cool, you’re probably barbequing your bird in your Big Green Egg. (Look at you, you hipster).
Dessert is also simple if you follow the traditional path: Pumpkin or pecan pie with vanilla ice cream on the side. (Notice I haven’t mentioned the mincemeat pie often served on this historic holiday. Call me weird, but I don’t even like the way it sounds. I know it doesn’t really have meat in it….but ewww.)
But the real reason I love this national celebration? No gifts. None. Not one. No running around worrying about what to buy or rushing to wrap what you bought. It’s all about eating and drinking. Lots of eating and drinking. And celebrating with those you love.
Of course, the flip side is that it isn’t a holiday without drama. Family and friends come from faraway places, having dealt with crowded airports, backed up freeways and city gridlock. Thanksgiving dinner tables are also filled with conversations and opinions. And, for some reason, it’s always the place when one of your elderly relatives decides it’s the perfect time to tell a story about someone that’s partially true and completely embarrassing.
The holiday also ushers in a whole season of parties, dinners and office events. Some of us thrive in this environment, while others just want to crawl under a warm blanket with hot cider and enjoy a little peace.
However you decide to celebrate the rest of the season, I encourage you to make the most of Thanksgiving and eat to your heart’s delight. You can always start the cleanse the day after.