I have probably written about sixteen columns for Thanksgiving over the last sixteen years and after a while you just get real with the titles–Happy Thanksgiving may not be an original title–but is says it all. This is my weekly column for Thanksgiving 2014:
Esoteric though it may be, I love the Encarta Dictionary’s definition of Thanksgiving: “A Public acknowledgement of divine goodness.” It is important to note that it is not the first definition given in the dictionary, but it is so much more satisfying than the other two, which are serviceable but more mundane. The first is short and to the point: “a prayer that offers thanks to God.” The second is more secular and self-explanatory: “an expression or an act of giving thanks.”
I really like the third definition. Thanksgiving, the holiday, is a public acknowledgement, but adding “divine goodness” puts it on a higher plane. I love the whole idea of Thanksgiving—the excellent and abundant food, the gathering of friends and family, the gratefulness for the harvest. Chef Marcus Samuelsson agrees with me, or I with him—whatever the case may be.
“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centred around
food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.”
Though I am not a chef, food and family, with the addition of friends are of utmost importance to me too. Though I have professed in this column many a time my lack of love for preparing turkey, I have found a foolproof method of not having to handle the beast too much at the suggestion of a friend who I think was tired of my eternal complaints about handling and stuffing a big bird. At her recommendation I now buy a stuffed and butter basted bird from the freezer section of the local grocery store. You do not even have to thaw the little devil and there is very little work to it before it can be thrown in the oven. Sure, a frozen bird takes more time to cook, but that is little to ask in the stress it relieves. I would like to be the type of person who buys a fresh turkey or thaws out a frozen one, but I know my limits and work with them.
I must confess that I did try to get out of even cooking the frozen stuffed turkey this year and asked my family if they would be satisfied with a nice roast. My youngest, Tyler responded by saying, “Mom, you always try that. It is turkey day. When was the last time we had turkey—last Thanksgiving? It is tradition—we have to have turkey.” So, I went out and got my turkey, and it is nestled in the freezer among the frozen veggies and ground beef—just waiting for the grand day.
My Favourite “Gratitude” Quote
Authentic is a word that is bandied about a lot lately, but I think that Thanksgiving is an authentic holiday. It asks very little of us other than to enjoy and give thanks for good food. At its core, authenticity is genuine and real, and what could be more real than thankfulness in the guise of gratefulness.
This is one of my favourite quotes and it is by author Melody Beattie:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough,
and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to
clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger
into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
What are you thankful for?
I put this question on my Facebook page and of the responses I received no one said that they were thankful for turkey or the harvest or their Lamborghini. Almost everyone expressed the importance of friendship and health. One I felt particularly meaningful while still being funny was a woman who declared that her “drugs” (prescription may I add quickly here) were her saviours, and made every day worth living. Another had just survived a tricky eye surgery and even though she was in pain, she was glad that it was over and she was recovering. Several others expressed that our friendship was dear to them which of course brought a tear to my eye and warmed the cockles of my heart (though I have yet to discover exactly where the cockles are.)
So what am I thankful for? In a nutshell: my family, friends, food, and good health. If Thanksgiving is “a public acknowledge of divine goodness” then it is the people in my life who help bring that goodness to the fore.