Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Tricky Thanksgiving Questions

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!


  1. I'm kinda missing Thanksgiving this year...

  2. While I'm missing being with my family this year, I am deeply grateful that I can't possibly cook a Thanksgiving meal in my tiny Korean oven. I'll be at work, teaching my little students how to make hand turkeys, which I will thoroughly enjoy. Thanksgiving Dinner will be catered at a restaurant tomorrow night for the expats and their families from MrL's work. If it's like it was last year, it should be wonderful - and will include at least one type of kimchi. Ah, multiculturalism...

  3. I, for one, am not a huge fan of Thanksgiving. Oh, I get it, but I'm just not a fan of making such a big meal (and mess in the kitchen). And as for the Green Bean Casserole? That is one of the nastiest things on the planet. It will NOT be served here, I can tell you that.

  4. If you don't have a "kid's table" then you miss out on that very important distinction of being "promoted" to the grown-up table. I mean, high school graduation, getting your driver's license, receiving your college degree, moving to the grown-up table--these are all rights of passage; it would be a shame to miss out on even one of them ;)

    Oh, and that list of examples--you wouldn't necessarily get those honors in that order.

  5. So I wonder, is Christmas dinner as big a deal as Thanksgiving? do you do it twice? We have our Thanksgiving here in Canada in early October for hell's sake - I often just ignore it if my Canadian family will let me get away with it.

  6. Although the food sounds delicious...... I'm not envious of all the hard work that seems to go into Thanksgiving meals. Sounds like it is a bigger *thing* than Christmas.
    Anyway....... happy Thanksgiving.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  7. Goodness, that Jill person on the other blog was just a scream! And she kept coming back for more abuse! Bless.

    I was off yesterday too (work for an American company) and had a lovely time going out to lunch and made pizza for the boys last night.

    So Yay! to Thanksgiving as long as I get a day off. :)

  8. As expats we really don't get it do we? Luckily here in Canada it's more laid back than in the States, Turkey, pumpkin pie and that's about it.
    Thanks for the lesson, you've helped a newbie blogger avoid a minefield, I will never mention green bean casserole on my blog!

  9. Just think of it as an over the top harvest festival.


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