This year's Thanksgiving was very low-key and small but special. It was the first year where I contributed a significant amount of cooking to the meal and it felt great. I started the day before by preparing a gluten-free stuffing for M. We didn't want him to miss out on all the traditional dishes. The moment I smell celery and onion being cooked in butter, it feels like the holidays. We had all our traditional foods this year--turkey and gravy of course, cranberry sauce AND cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, creamed onions, garlicky green beans, sweet potatoes, Pepperidge Farm stuffing, gluten-free stuffing made from Udi's bread, crackers and garlic & herb cheese, sparkling cider, and wine. I made a gluten-free apple pie (using a store-bought crust) and a pumpkin pie from scratch. After dinner, we ate pie around the fireplace in the living room while the rain poured in buckets on the roof.
As I type this on Black Friday, I've just returned from the local shopping center where I was supposed to meet someone to tutor them in English but they didn't show up. As I stood outside the cafe, I saw at least three people walk into the entrance talking out loud to what appeared to be their companions. Upon further inspection, I saw that they were all deeply engrossed in telephone conversations on their bluetooth headsets. The fourth Thursday and Friday of November are completely different. One day is about family, friends, gratitude, and connecting with food, and the next glorifies mindless, excessive shopping to the extreme where physical competition and violence break out. It would be nice if we could stretch Thanksgiving into Friday, remembering to connect with each other. As usual, there were more troubling confrontations this Black Friday including a pepper spray incident at a Walmart in Los Angeles. They called it "defensive shopping." I think the best solution to all this madness is to take a step back, have some leftover pie, and if you must shop, do it from the comfort (and safety) of your computer. Happy belated Thanksgiving.