It's almost upon us again. Thanksgiving. Unequivocally my very favorite of all holidays. There are a lot of reasons to love Thanksgiving, most of which have to do with unadulterated gluttony. Is there really anything more American that one day devoted to the gluttonous consuming of as many calories as your body can handle before calling uncle? No my friends, nothing says America like Thanksgiving. Sure, other countries have their own versions of our American tradition. Canada celebrated their Thanksgiving last month. Although I've never encountered a foreign Thanksgiving, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wouldn't compare with the States version.
I love the family aspect of the holiday as well. I'm a huge believer in the power of family, be it blood relatives or close friends. A day to give thanks for your loved ones strikes a chord with me. Another thing I love about it is its decided lack of religious foundation. No matter what your religion, you can celebrate Thanksgiving with abandon. It sort of sums up the American way of 'all men are created equal.' I love that. Just the thought of a day set aside specifically to be thankful for everything you have, no matter how much or how little, is a lovely idea. Some critics of the holiday argue that the original Thanksgivings were an exploitation of the Native Americans... Blah, blah, blah. Being of Native American descent myself, I don't believe that hooey.
There's the football, which I'm not a fan of at all. I'll admit that it's a huge part of the American landscape on Thanksgiving, though. It's not the same without a game on in the background... One that I ignore completely. Of course there is the Macy's parade as well. I never watch the whole thing, but the end with Santa always makes me smile like a little girl.
And then there's the actual food. There are certain things, in my mind, that must be present on the table for it to be a true Thanksgiving dinner. First and foremost, there's the turkey. Turkey is the essential ingredient not only to the holiday dinner, but to the leftovers for the next week. What's life without a turkey sandwich on Black Friday? Of course if you're from the south, there has to be some incarnation of sweet potatoes. This is essential. Stuffing/dressing... The debate about which is which rages on. If you're Southern like me, dressing is baked in a dish on the side and stuffing is baked in the bird. Both must be on the table. End of argument. Gravy. Gallons of it. No compromise, it must be homemade. That stuff in a jar is a joke. Mashed potatoes... No potato salad, baked potatoes or rice thankyouverymuch. And if you even think of busting out instant mashed potatoes, I'm not coming to your Thanksgiving dinner. That's just blasphemy. Green bean casserole... I like mine with fresh green beans, but that might offend some people. It must include French's onions on top. Cranberry sauce is ubiquitous, although I must admit that I really love the stuff in the can that's flopped out onto a relish tray with the lines from the can still intact. I make a damn good cranberry mold as well, but I'm just as happy with the canned goodness. There must be some sort of pumpkin dessert. Good southerners wouldn't be without a pecan pie on their table on Thanksgiving day, either. Apple pie is the All-American dessert, so it's always welcome. Some sort of dinner roll must be present to slop up all those gallons of homemade gravy, too.
I've been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving this year, because as I stated, it really is my favorite holiday. Part of the reason that I've been thinking so much about it is because I've been having thoughts of moving out of the U.S. in the next few years. Yes, I'm dropping that bomb in the middle of my American holiday post. No, I'm not answering any questions about when or why. I just know that if I do make that move, Thanksgiving will still be held on the last Thursday in November in my house, no matter where in the world I'm living. I would say that it's the one day out of 365 that I'm the happiest. Nothing is better than surrounding yourself with your loved ones, a huge table of homemade comfort food and the opportunity to reflect and be thankful for everything you have. I'd say that's a holiday without borders, even if it is All-American.