Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving for beginners

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is so distinctly American that it is hard as newcomers not to feel a little like pretenders.

We have no relatives to welcome into our home - or avoid - and no traditions set in stone. Yet tonight I found myself at the local Trader Joe's two hours before closing time - just as I did last year - filling my trolley with the makings of a Thanksgiving feast.

My husband specifically requested that we skip the turkey altogether and instead cook up the lamb that is currently sitting in the fridge. But I protested, irrationally, that this was a day where only white meat would do and if it wasn't turkey then it would have to be chicken. Somehow a lamb roast felt too quintessentially Australian (never mind that it was imported from New Zealand).

At the supermarket I picked up an organic chicken. And then gently placed it back again, opting for a turkey we have no idea how to cook and are unlikely to ever get through. But arguing over the best way to cook a turkey and complaining about the inferior qualities of turkey meat seems to be about as American as the apple pie that my oldest child is currently carefully preparing for Thanksgiving dessert.

Also placed in the trolley was the cornbread packet mix and (oh the shame) the turkey stuffing mix. And my excuse, which I will no doubt still be touting in twenty years time, is that as first generation Americans we have little choice. There is no family recipe and, seriously, what could be more American than packet mix cooking!

The thought of skipping Thanksgiving altogether, opting instead for some decent Chinese, crossed my mind more than once this week but was relegated to the dustbin the moment my 8-year-old solemnly handed me an envelope marked "Open on Thanksgiving".

I am not sure what that envelope contains, but more than likely there will be a child's reflection on the meaning of Thanksgiving, on all that we have to be thankful for.

My own thoughts on gratitude this year are informed by what I see happening in the wider world, making me grateful that any problems we have are of the most ordinary kind; that while we may at times feel weighed down by the everyday, the mundane aspects of our lives, an ordinary life is no small thing and is indeed something to be most thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.



7 comments:

  1. Ahhh - for the days that my daughter and I would get up at 5:00 AM to start preparing for 20 or more of our closet relatives to descend upon my house for Thanksgiving dinner.

    In an oddly perverse way - I miss those days.

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    1. I can see why! For me one of the hardest things about any celebrations in the US is not having family descend on us. I adore the chaos of big family celebrations even though the prep can be hell.
      Hope you have a lovely day tomorrow.

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    2. Thanks - though I still miss having either my son - if I am up north - or my daughter - if I am down south - with us ... But not both. :-(

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  2. Closest, not closet relatives ... Though looking back, both would have been appropriate. :-0

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    1. *snorts* I quite like the idea of closet relatives ;-)

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  3. What you're thankful for should not be underestimated. Have a wonderful day. Who knows, you may turn out to be an expert turkey roaster.

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    1. Thanks Benison. I am of course leaving the turkey to the husband. I shall only deal with packet mix food. x

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