There are a lot of posts at the moment on the subject of Thanksgiving; many by Americans living abroad as they remember family traditions and bemoan the fact that they can't get half the ingredients they need for the Thanksgiving meal. It's a big deal for Americans, and for those of us living here who didn't grow up with anything like it, it must sometimes seem as if we're being a bit well, disrespectful. We just don't get the gravitas of the whole thing.
It's so important that turkey companies like Butterball, have a hotline for your turkey emergencies; every web site on the planet seems to have links to recipes for the Thanksgiving meal, including the dreaded Green Bean Casserole. (If you followed my retired blog, Pond Parleys, who could forget this massive fight about the GBC which got 81 comments, for cryin' out loud.)
And as I write this, one of the national morning news show is doing Thanksgiving etiquette questions. Questions like -
- do you take a dish to the meal you're invited to? Answer - OF COURSE. You should ask at the very least, but the general consensus was that you should never turn up for Thanksgiving without contributing a dish.
- are you obligated to serve every dish that is brought to your dinner? Answer - again, a resounding YES. Presumably we're talking here about revolting dishes, and there's always one. Great aunt Glenda always brings her corn souffle, and no one ever touches it so you have to mush it around a bit to make it look like someone has taken a nibble.
- do you have a "kids' table" or do you have everyone sitting at the same table (if you can fit them around it.)? Answer - it depends. Since many Thanksgiving dinners are for twenty plus people, there is often the need for a supplementary table, so do you separate it by kids or adults or do you put all the kids on one table, and if so, what's the cut off age? What if one kid wants to sit at the grown up table and s/he should clearly be at the kids' table?
- do you serve alcohol if your ex-alcoholic cousin is coming? Answer - ooooh, a tricky one. Do we all have to go on the wagon just because one person doesn't know the meaning of the word "moderation" or do we all abstain in support of this person? And what if that person turns up smashed and everyone else has to pretend that there isn't a problem?
Yes folks, there's a lot to think about at Thanksgiving. I'm sometimes glad we only had Christmas gatherings to contend with growing up!
Happy Turkey Day!