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Broccoli Rising and Hey, Thanks
Does the idea of hosting Thanksgiving make you take to your bed with your favorite toy? You’re not alone.
From my grandmother Marcella to my mother Marcia to me, Thanksgiving has been a thing in my family. I still hold on to happy memories of hosting Thanksgivings for 30 guests, with a 60-year age span between the oldest and youngest, and 13 nationalities at the table. Make that tables. I seem to have fed everyone too. Those were good years.
Then came the parade of corrupt politicians, Covid, climate change, hate, terrorism, Ukraine, Gaza, and here we are — Thanksgiving again. Summoning the gushing gratitude I thought was a given is hard. Thankful for what exactly?
I found myself a week away from Thanksgiving, plans up in the air, and suddenly, a sick dog on my hands. Look, I pride myself on not being a drama queen, but with two wars causing untold human anguish and threatening global stability, the sky had already been falling. And now my dog was going to die?
Spoiler alert: he didn’t. He’s still with us, but shaky. I suppose we all are. The whole experience reminded me in the most visceral, fraught way, our lives are precious, fragile, and finite.
It’s a little humbling when you get a lesson from the self you used to be. Thanksgiving, as I wrote in Feeding The Hungry Ghost, “depends on all of us. It’s about remembering all we have and about remembering each other; it’s about celebrating with the foods of the season. It’s about getting together whether we feel like it or not, so we get a remedial lesson in our tribal ways. I suppose some people feel this way about the Super Bowl.”
That message still makes me smile. It makes me remember the starry-eyed girl I was when I wrote it. Experience has shown me, as it’s shown you — hosting Thanksgiving can be, well, thankless. It can be hell as a guest, too, when squabbles and hurt feelings get served up along with the cranberry sauce. Honey, we do not have time for grudges. We may never get another chance to show our love or say what’s in our hearts. And if we can’t do that, let us at least manage to nod at each other to show it’s okay — you were a jerk, I was a jerk, it’s over, let it go.
This Thanksgiving, Benjamin and I are hosting a smaller group than in years past, thanks to people having moved away or died-- so inconvenient. The meal will be plantbased but simpler too. And that’s fine. In fact, it will be wonderful and I will be grateful for all of it. I’m grateful for you too. Thank you for the support, the kind words, for reading, for being part of Broccoli Rising.
What are your Thanksgiving traditions? What are your plans for this year’s holiday? I’d love to hear from you. Even in these weird, uncertain days or maybe especially in these weird, uncertain days, I wish you a Thanksgiving with a little grace (and no turkey).
Here’s what I’d like — to enjoy Thanksgiving with you at the table. But since I can’t magic you to Miami, I’m doing the next best thing — sharing some Thanksgiving-worthy recipes. I hope you enjoy. Thanks.
Chef Tanya Holland’s benne seed crackers and black-eyed pea dip
Chef Mark Reinfeld’s curried pumpkin soup
The Veggie Queen’s autumn sunset stew
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