In this great big wonderful World, there are many things to be thankful for. And for Americans, that, apparently, varies based on skimming the self-reports of the Facebook Nation, from rainbows (Hawaii and Louisiana) and the ability to love (Washington), to Pinterest (Vermont) and an apartment (New York).
A lot of people answer this question with some form of “other people”: friends, family, friends and family, kids, spouse, husband, wife and mother and father-in-law (Illinois). I suppose that is, fundamentally, the Spirit of Thanksgiving.
I’ve eaten Thanksgiving everywhere from New England to California, Northern Wisconsin to North Carolina. Turkey is a common theme, but I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving that almost didn’t have a turkey, or any meat for that matter, because of extreme veganism. I’ve had Cornish Hen, Ham and pasta as a main dish. I’ve had I don’t know how many arguments about the necessary role of *baked* potatoes! >:| I still can’t comprehensibly describe the “double Thanksgiving” with Chinese food and a traditional American Thanksgiving—both excellent!—that was accessorized with a lovely Plum Wine, all better!!!!
I’ve been to restaurants, private homes, conference rooms and cafeterias. I’ve been in huge groups, and small gatherings of just two or three. I’ve made the turkey, the desserts, the sides. I’ve been dressy and casual, all day and just food.
The Thanksgiving legend describes a meal with certain foods representative of the New World that celebrated the Pilgrims’ foothold, which was the Native communities that helped them and sat down to table with them that day, like 150 years before the thirteen colonies revolted from England. Our honoring of that bond has waxed and waned over the years, to put it mildly.
Thanksgiving is unique in that it truly is an American Holiday, like no other. A lot of other countries have an “Independence Day”, and Canada does have a Thanksgiving Day. Some people really make a point of being with their family at Thanksgiving; after a few attempts to get home from college for just a few days that made Planes, Trains and Automobiles look easy, I gave up on that. For me, it’s become a day of exploration with a little “e”, of giving and taking, cultural exchange, free food. (Except for baked potatoes.)
Over time, Thanksgiving has become a symbol of many things, from family and faith to anti-hunger and anti-poverty, as well as Unity, the values of the Indigenous People of the Americas, as well as the uniqueness of the North American continent. Potatoes + corn + pumpkin + turkey =(not) Europe.
I hope your dinner today had a little bit of everything and was just your taste. J