Let's get through Thanksgiving
[Julie Burba, a certified culinary professional, taught at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts at 2020 Mass. Ave., before becoming its communications director.]
Greetings Holiday shoppers! As I write this there are 55 days until Christmas. Christmas you say? Let’s just try to get through Thanksgiving first, shall we?
Upon moving to Massachusetts a dozen years ago, Thanksgiving and its family traditions began to fade into memory. That crazy Nixon-hating spinster aunt, drunk Uncle Charlie, creepy cousin Patty, and other miscellaneous relatives asking all-to-personal questions about my life are out of state—for this holiday at least.
Now my Thanksgivings are spent with boyfriends and their own dysfunctional families or with my friends, transients who have families who live elsewhere. When my friend Mike was single, he had a Thanksgiving mantra he said year after year, “This is why I’m thankful on Thanksgiving: My family is in Chicago and my girlfriend isn’t pregnant! Let’s do beer bongs!” Woo Hoo.
Celebrating with friends, single and coupled, adds a new dimension to the idea of Thanksgiving tradition.
No one brings green beans baked in a can of cream of mushroom soup.
We all agree that deep-fried turkey drumsticks constitute gourmet cooking. We don’t care if one of us gets drunk. We all still relate to getting home at 3 a.m. instead of getting up at 3 a.m. to cook, and no one feels slighted if someone opts out early to go on a date.
We do, however, want full details later.So I got to thinking about Thanksgiving food and what to serve this year for my band of vagabond friends and what the day really meant: a giving of thanks to God for the bounty of the harvest and for still being alive.
After doing a little wine-fueled research for some T-day history, I decided to put a little quiz together about Thanksgiving and giving thanks to God (and Al Gore) for the Internet all the while.
1) The first ever ‘Thanksgiving’ meal was held for what purpose?
a. To eat all of the food harvested from the fall crops before those pesky Indians did
b. Summer was over and it was time to fatten up for the winter; besides, it was no longer fashionable to be bone-rail thin; meat on the bones was in vogue in all the English fashion magazines
c. Governor William Bradford had the munchies
d. It was the first-ever elimination challenge: the person who cooked the worst dish using corn, dried fruit, and fish had to pack up their knives and go
2) What foods probably did not show up at the first Thanksgiving meal?
a. green bean and mushroom soup casserole
b. green bean and mushroom soup casserole
c. green bean and mushroom soup casserole
d. green bean and mushroom soup casserole
3) Why didn’t anyone cook a turkey for the first Thanksgiving meal?
a. Real men didn’t eat turkey
b. Governor William Bradford gave the turkey a presidential pardon
c. The Separatists were afraid of being reincarnated as the ugly fowl
d. Martha Stewart wasn’t around to teach the Pilgrims how to cook one
4) What did the people at the first Thanksgiving meal do for fun and entertainment?
a) They drew up blueprints for the first Indian casino
b) Played pin the tail on King James I
c) Invented “Pilgrims and Indians”: Indians 0, Pilgrims 300 million
d) Watched Thomas Tinker carve the first birdhouse out of a gourd
I hope you all have a belly full of good food, have the sense to laugh at your dysfunctional families and enjoy them while they are around, and let that weird cousin have the turkey leg because karma can and will be a bitch.
Happy Thanksgiving! Beer Bong anyone?