It's Not About the Cooking

9:21 AM Edit This 8 Comments »
I got one of my favorite cooking magazines yesterday. So when the day was all said and done, and I was tucked into the chair with my slippers and bathrobe, I smiled to myself and pulled it toward me. For the first time, this magazine did not make me happy. And it's not the magazine. It's me. See? It's the Thanksgiving issue. The one that shows you the newest and most risque ways to cook your turkey. (Which I always read about, but never do. I like the way I do it. Time honored and tasty thankyouverymuch.) It shows you which pairings of squash and greens look the prettiest on your plate. It tries to convince you to make the "low-fat" version of your grandma's green bean casserole. (And to that, I say NO! There WILL INDEED be Durkee French Fried Onions on top of mine.) It's got advertisements for the cutest little pastry cutters shaped like leaves so your pies will have pretties on them, and it pairs wines with different courses for you people not in the know about fine dining. (Which, hello? Just suck down some wine in a box. You're going for the effect anyway, right?)
That's all fine and good entertainment for a rainy Wednesday night. But what I didn't like was what it referenced as "The Alternative Holiday Celebration." Can't be with your family? Your kids aren't coming home from college for the first time this year? Your children are taking your grandchildren to *gasp* see the OTHER grandparents? You're stuck in the snowy Midwest and can't catch a flight to Great Uncle Henry's in Florida?" Then gather up the other misfits and throw a party. "You'll be doing all of you a favor." Which, okay. I can understand. Some people really use the holidays as time to get together with family and if you can't be with them for some reason, you might be lonely and/or sad. I'm not going to put that down. But to say that if that's not how it plays out in your life, you've got to do something "alternative?" That doesn't sit well with me.
My family rarely gets together on holidays. When I was working for the church, I always had to well - work. My sister lives 1200 miles away and flying over the holidays is never a good idea. My brother's wife lost her mother shortly after they got married and she really wants to be with her dad and sister when celebrations come up. My Thanksgiving has always had a flair of the "alternative" I guess. I was either invited to someone's house or throwing a party at mine. The last three years, I have gone to the recovery club. Where anyone can come and celebrate together. You bring something if you can and don't if you can't. There's always enough to go around. And that's what means Thanksgiving to me. Kids running around, eating off of styrofoam plates, diving into the dessert table before someone steals all of Sue's banana cream pie, squirting people with the sprayer in the kitchen, cleaning up the inevitable red koolaid stain on the carpet, chasing after someone who put ice down your shirt when you weren't looking, general mayhem and distraction. No, that's not everyone's idea of a good time. Some people want to sit down with their close family at a pretty table with fine china and polished silver. But to say that mine's "alternative" because it doesn't fit that mold? No.
So, fancy cooking magazine? You don't win this year. How dare you try to make me feel like I'm doing something "wrong" for not living up to the so-called American Dream of family and home. Because frankly? My "alternative" Thanksgiving is the one that feels like home to me.

8 comments:

LiLu said...

Family is the people you love, period. I plan on spending this Thanksgiving with a group of my best friends, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Malaise Inc said...

A better Thanksgiving?

melissalion said...

Amen to this one. This Christmas Fancyhats and I are going to housesit in Malibu. We'll probably sit on the beach then get Mexican food for dinner. Ummm hello, heaven anyone?

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I think there is a lot about our culture that is incredibly offensive to people who don't spend every waking minute with their families. What do you mean you're not going to celebrate your birthday with your family? What do you mean you live thousands of miles way from your family? What do you mean you consider your friends your family? And it's those people who EXPECT everyone's tradition to revolve around family who usually have something effed up about their own. =)

artemisia said...

When I lived in DC with my two best friends, we always - intentionally -- stayed in town and celebrated Thanksgiving together. They are family.

I miss those Thanksgivings the most, even though now I celebrate with my folks.

Dingo said...

If spending the holidays with the family are so great, why does everyone bitch, moan, and dread them?

buffalodick said...

Home is where your heart is.. I like to hold Thanksgiving at my house, I have for 30 years. I can , and do give thanks anywhere- but my giving is best done to guests and family..

G said...

Thanksgiving is never about the food, it's about spending quality time with the family and friends.

Well....maybe with friends.