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.