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November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving: Some Final Thoughts

Filed under: Food,Holidays — Twistie @ 12:14 pm

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I sincerely hope yours was as good as mine. I sat around a table with people who ate without shame, enjoyed what they had, and stopped eating when they felt they’d had enough. Nobody commented on what anyone didn’t eat, either. We just shared good conversation, good food, and gratitude for lives filled with plenty.

Since that day, I’ve been merrily eating leftovers. Leftover potatoes (I made the Patrician ones I told you about…including an extra batch for the folks at the table who couldn’t have nuts), leftover macaroni salad, leftover cranberry relish, and leftover pumpkin pie. Delicious.

I know some of you probably didn’t have quite the shame-free holiday I did. To those, I say that it doesn’t have to be that way next year.

For a start, ignore articles like this one from Cosmo. You are an adult who is free to make her own choices as to what to eat. If you like dark meat and green bean casserole, go ahead and eat them. If you want the white meat and steamed veggies, go ahead and eat them. Me? I’ll have the dark meat and the steamed veggies. Why? Because those are the things I like best.

Second, avoid sitting down to dinner with people who shame you – particularly if they expect you to make all the goodies they don’t want you to eat. I know there are circumstances where it can’t be helped, but if that’s the case, minimize the time you spend with them. Practice telling them that you’re an adult free to make your own choices. Oh, and that if you’re not ‘allowed’ to eat, you’re not willing to cook. Sometimes a little emotional blackmail can go a long way.

Thirdly, if you don’t like the traditional meal, feel free to make your own tradition. Candied yams will never, ever appear on my table because I prefer my yams savory. If you and yours are vegetarians, why on earth would you roast a turkey? Hate cranberries? They’re a tradition, not a law. Feel free to give them the bum’s rush from your tabletop. And if what really makes you feel festive is Thai food, have it. Again, you’re an adult. You get to decide what to eat.

The point of the holiday is to appreciate the good things you have in your life. Food shame is a bad thing any way you slice it. Don’t make room at your table for self-loathing. It’s a lousy party guest.


  1. I am convinced that my darling husband was raised in a barn (well, he sort of was) as he thinks it is OK to say that what I am eating is disgusting. (This from a man who likes tripe.)

    “It is not polite to give your opinion on or even comment at all on what someone else is eating,” I scold. He is getting better now.

    Our Thanksgiving was great. We were five states away from his parents, so there were no drunken outbursts, no tears, no slamming doors. No “How can you let the grandkids take all white meat you’re a bad mother” to my SIL” one year and “I’ve never liked white meat the dark meat is better” the next. Oh yes. I am taking notes for my book.

    We smoked a pork loin, two chickens, and some beef. Had those cream-cheese stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeno thingys. Scalloped potatoes with a quart of cream. Asparagus. Cranberry-orange relish for me. Green salad. Pear tart. No turkey – not our favorite. No pumpkin pie. He doesn’t like “that orange flavor” and it’s not my favorite, either.

    So yeah. Food we like with the people we like and without the people who make us miserable. It was a great holiday. :)

    Comment by class factotum — November 29, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

  2. My Thanksgiving was fantastic as always! I volunteered with the USO and had a great day with the Sailors. There were a dozen in my group and they were all wonderful.

    They could not have cared less about what I was eating. We had provided them with an escape from Boot Camp and I gave them a cell phone, my iPod and the freedom to buy all the candy and snacks they could want for the day. They were very thankful.

    We had a great traditional meal for lunch and they didn’t notice what I ate at all. Anyway, I couldn’t possibly eat more than the 18-22 year olds who have been in Boot Camp eating industrial food for the last 6 weeks. Heck, 3 hours after the huge lunch we went to an ice cream place and they all bought huge sundaes!

    For anyone who is looking to avoid the family I highly recommend volunteering as a wonderful way to do that. Added bonus – your family can’t be mad at you for skipping out on them because you are doing a good thing for others.

    Added bonus – just for Plumcake I said ‘Hello Sailors!’ when I first met the group.

    Comment by mary martha — November 29, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  3. sounds like you had a lovely, yummy, thanksgiving!

    Comment by English Rose — November 29, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  4. Twistie, I made your Patrician Potato recipe (only instead of the toasted almonds I substituted a liberal sprinkling of Parmesan on top during the last five minutes of baking so it got nice and browned). They were delicious! The leftovers mysteriously disappeared before I even got a chance to have any.

    Comment by Cat — November 29, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  5. Hate the Cosmo article. I’ve never seen one aimed at men: “Hey, you’re man. Show some will power this Thanksgiving. Real Men don’t eat desserts—they mess with your ab muscles. Cut down on carbs—a few ounces of white turkey, a few steamed veggies and you’re good to go—don’t be bullied into eating stuffing or gravy. Keep glucose levels low if you want to fit into that Speedo come resort season.”

    Comment by Debs — November 29, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  6. “Don’t make room at your table for self-loathing. It’s a lousy party guest.” As ever, Twistie, I want to embroider your thoughts on to my forehead (this is a clumsy attempt at a compliment).

    By the way, I am despo to try candied yams – the whole concept stuns me, being a foreigner and all. Thanks for the link last week which explained the heritage of this, ahem, idiosyncratic menu.

    Comment by Margo — November 29, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  7. Twistie, I made your cranberry relish recipe (I only put in the orange zest and the orange pulp, and added a couple tablespoonfuls of Splenda because I think the candied ginger I got wasn’t sweet enough) and it was fantastic! Definitely more popular than Cran-From-The-Can this year. Thank you!

    Comment by Maureen — November 30, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

  8. Debs, I think that’s the Men’s Health article on Thanksgiving, although it probably allows for a whole-wheat roll or pumpkin pie w/out the crust (which on a storebought pie is not much of a sacrifice, IMHO).

    Comment by Maureen — November 30, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  9. It turns out that I ate the lower calorie/lower fat food that Cosmo was talking about. It tasted fine! I walked off my meal the next day while shopping in DC. It’s like that sometimes.

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — November 30, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

  10. Cat, your variation on the Patrician potatoes sounds fabulous. I think I’ll have to give that one a try some time. My guess is that the leftovers would once again mysteriously disappear.

    Maureen, I’m glad you enjoyed the cranberry relish. Your variations sound good, too.

    Margo, I would definitely consider someone embroidering my words on their forehead as a compliment, though the execution of it might get a tidge on the awkward side. Besides, it sounded exactly like the sort of thing I might say to someone, usually filling them with confusion and dread. Once again, we are total brain twins.

    Comment by Twistie — December 1, 2009 @ 2:31 am

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