Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winge-ing aside, I am Very Thankful, I am!



The birds were going haywire yesterday, not only the sparrows who were flying around in big swirling clouds, but the crows who were cawing like mad - sounds like scolding to me - and the finches chirping as if there was no tomorrow.

It was cold yesterday so maybe they were just complaining. In my own vivid imagination, I decided they were speaking out in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of their bird brethren, the turkeys, who will be killed today, all at once, all over this country.

It might seem awfully hypocritical of me to worry so much about the plight of the Thanksgiving turkeys, since I am a meat eater (though I almost always eat free range meat). Maybe I am the worst kind of hypocrite.

I never loved the traditional Thanksgiving meal, so you can imagine that slinging raw turkeys in the general direction of irate customers at Whole Foods (during my tenure as caterer a few years ago), only served to magnify my original distaste to epic proportions.

It's not the idea of Thanksgiving I dislike, it's just the food. Unfortunately the food is the way we celebrate the holiday. Every part of the Thanksgiving feast is heavy and sticky. Yuck! In combination with the main event, the golden brown roasted turkey, displayed headless, footless, and belly-up at the center of the table, the traditional American harvest feast turns my stomach, it really does.



Sometimes I wish I liked Thanksgiving, because it's such a nice idea, sitting down and feasting with your nearests and dearests, giving thanks for all the wonders of this amazing existence. But ... I'm not holding my breath, waiting for something to suddenly change. Long ago I resigned myself to the reality that - for instance - I don't like Bob Dylan's voice, even though I'm supposed to, even though he's a great artist. I don't like Bob Dylan and I don't like Thanksgiving food and that's just how it is. (Sorry Ched! Sorry Mouse! And all other Dylan fans!)

I've developed a coping mechanism for the day that works quite well for me. A box of extra firm tofu is stashed in the fridge (that will be the focus of my Thanksgiving dinner), a series of Hugh Grant movies are dusted off and queued up by the DVD player. Oh yeah I am ready for the holiday the way I celebrate it. In fact I'm even looking forward to my day of movies and tofu and peace here in the house on Tennessee Avenue.

Today I will chirp out loud in solidarity with my bird brothers, small and large, and have a laugh at my own expense. You can laugh at me, too, if you like. I can be so fussy about certain things! For heaven's sake.

25 comments:

ArtSparker said...

Interesting idea, confessing the stuff one doesn't like that one is supposed to...I enjoy Dylan occasionally, but honestly, I think his lyrics are sometimes clever, but he's not a great poet (I'd be more inclined to go with Shane McGowan for poetics with street cred). On the other hand, I liked Hugh Grant in About a Boy, but he doesn't do much for me - having a brother-in-law who's a British working class hero may have influenced me there. And we are all, of course, pretty passionate about these things. Anyway, doing Thanksgiving with the aging Ps myself, will try to post something interesting.

k-brow said...

I like your Thanksgiving plan, especially the Hugh Grant part. Though I love the traditional food, mostly for the power of the leftovers, here in Hawaii, people go out for the meal. It's too hot to have the oven on for days on end, and hotels and restaurants have buffets. You could avoid the turkey and feast on sushi, watercress salad and creme brulee, then go home to no dirty dishes and Hugh would be waiting for you...

mouse (aka kimy) said...

hugh grant is definitely much, much better than turkey....

I'm always surprised how heavy tradition weighs.... why do people feel they must serve turkey even when the majority of eaters don't even like it.....

I have always been thankful when I'm at a t-day gatherings which features an international smorgasbord of foods -

Ulysses said...

I love Bob Dylan's songs, even more so when they're done by someone else.
Try Buckets of Rain, by either Redbird or The Wood Brothers.

My daughter's getting braces on her upper teeth the Wednesday before Thanksgiving this year, which is leading to a move toward lighter fare. But yes, the Turkey will still be there on the table, and in the cold strips as a midnight snack to fuel the continued trash-talk game of Sorry, and in the next days sandwiches as we get together again, and in the salad this weekend...

Squirrel said...

I love thanksgiving, the good , kind , lovely friends who come together , the family, the food... and this year everything will taste better than ever!

Reya Mellicker said...

Trash talk games of Sorry sound fantastic! It's just the food - and yes Squirrel I'm sure everything will be more tasty this year.

I'm Jewish, so I definitely get food as ritual. What would Shabbat be without challah and red wine? Passover is a holiday all about the foods you eat and the foods you don't eat. It makes sense to me even though the idea of sushi, watercress salad and creme brulee sounds

Fan frickin' tastic! YUM!!

My British friends have explained to me why a "fumbling posh guy" like Hugh Grant is none too amusing, but I love his movies. They're so sweet.

I do think he's cute, too. Don't tell anyone, OK? Especially my British friends.

Merle Sneed said...

I love the Thanksgiving.

Angela said...

Next Thursday? That`s just next Thursday here! Our Erntedankfest (Thanksgiving) was already on the first Sunday of October. So if you want to avoid any celebrations, come to Germany, Reya! They are building new beautiful synagogues everywhere, 70 years after they were burned down. I hope you`ll like it in Germany today! And for Christmas many people prefer fish.

Squirrel said...

I think tofu is disgusting ! One year my kids bough a tofurkey, but no one enjoyed it --not even them-the first and last Tofu turk!

Reya Mellicker said...

Faux meat is just weird. Never understood it - if you want to be a vegetarian, fine! But to eat tofu shaped like meat - please explain!

I'm not judging anyone who loves Thanksgiving - though slightly jealous of you, I salute you!

To be honest I'm not a huge fan of tofu either - it's nice in soups and stir fries. I love crispy fried tofu that you can get a Thai restaurants. I tried frying it myself one time. It was a total disaster.

tam said...

Oh, oh, my comment didn't post, grrrr. was going on in solidarity about the need to dodge the stodge. (In Africa, Caucasian-heritaged colonists and their offspring still insist on big Turkey Christmas lunches. Eauw... Yawn).
As for Hugh Grant, weeellll... hmm. I'll just say, yes those movies are a lot more digestible than Turkey roast.

I love the birds' protest. Very Gary Larson.

tam said...

The trick for tasty tofu is to soak in sesame oil and sweet soy sauce then sizzle in very hot pan.

I'm still shocked about the Dylan blasphemy. Covering my ears.
:)

Barbara Martin said...

I love Hugh Grant movies, and I can see why your British friends have a differing opinion. They see him for what he is.

Turkey and all the trimmings are Thanksgiving for me, and probably always will be. If you choose to eat something different during these holidays that's fine.

Interesting video of the birds collecting, almost reminded me of the movie "The Birds". They sense things human often don't. It might have been due to the multitude of turkey, geese and duck deaths.

I'll chirp along with you; I'm sure my lovebirds and senegals will think I'm totally nuts.

Steve said...

I don't think you're being hypocritical at all by being aware of the death of all those turkeys while at the same time eating meat. In fact, that's the kind of meat eater to be -- aware of what that nourishment costs. The real danger is mindlessly eating meat without thinking about the death involved.

As for Thanksgiving food, I happen to love it -- but your method of an alternative feast makes sense too. It's just a day for giving thanks -- you can give thanks by eating tofu and watching Hugh Grant. :)

Bob Dylan is an excellent, brilliant songwriter and a terrible singer. That's my two cents.

deborah said...

years ago we gathered at 'hippy' friends' house with children Adam and Eve--when the gorgeous baked and sweet bird was brought to the table and we began to salavate in unison--Adam said, "Who killed the turkey?"

Every Thanksgiving since like more than 30 years ago, there is this moment when I think about the same thing.

Eighteen at the meal this year and my hilarious, gorgeous daughter--I'll be exhausted and so very happy.

S'pose they chose the Turkey because of the idea of
gobble, gobble, gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to All
and All My LOVE to the Tofu Photographer

deborah said...

years ago we gathered at 'hippy' friends' house with children Adam and Eve--when the gorgeous baked and sweet bird was brought to the table and we began to salavate in unison--Adam said, "Who killed the turkey?"

Every Thanksgiving since like more than 30 years ago, there is this moment when I think about the same thing.

Eighteen at the meal this year and my hilarious, gorgeous daughter--I'll be exhausted and so very happy.

S'pose they chose the Turkey because of the idea of
gobble, gobble, gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to All
and All My LOVE to the Tofu Photographer

deborah said...

years ago we gathered at 'hippy' friends' house with children Adam and Eve--when the gorgeous baked and sweet bird was brought to the table and we began to salavate in unison--Adam said, "Who killed the turkey?"

Every Thanksgiving since like more than 30 years ago, there is this moment when I think about the same thing.

Eighteen at the meal this year and my hilarious, gorgeous daughter--I'll be exhausted and so very happy.

S'pose they chose the Turkey because of the idea of
gobble, gobble, gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to All
and All My LOVE to the Tofu Photographer

deborah said...

years ago we gathered at 'hippy' friends' house with children Adam and Eve--when the gorgeous baked and sweet bird was brought to the table and we began to salavate in unison--Adam said, "Who killed the turkey?"

Every Thanksgiving since like more than 30 years ago, there is this moment when I think about the same thing.

Eighteen at the meal this year and my hilarious, gorgeous daughter--I'll be exhausted and so very happy.

S'pose they chose the Turkey because of the idea of
gobble, gobble, gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to All
and All My LOVE to the Tofu Photographer

IntangibleArts said...

As a kid, having family 'round the dinner table was often a very unpleasant time. The cozy American image of extended family at a long dining table makes me want to hide in my room with large stack of comic books.

My own thanksgiving tradition has been to hit a Denny's and order a grilled cheese. It seems so counter-intuitive that the universe goes insane. Waiters will call each other over and whisper and point... LOOK, that dude is HERE, at 6pm on Thanksgiving, eatin' a grilled cheese....!!?!?!?!!?

It seems to make GOD choke on his iced tea and do a double-take. It's just taking a little power back from a holiday that doesn't fit our humor and particular brand of joie-de-freak.

oh, and I'm with you on Dylan. As a substitute, may I recommend Tom Rapp (a.k.a. Pearls Before Swine)... Same era but more spirit + a touch of country-folk surrealism.

Lori ann said...

I love us all our differences, its definitly what makes the world go round and a most interesting place. I love what Steve had to say, yes,yes and yes.
Happy Thanksgiving Reya, your own way :)
xx

Rebecca Clayton said...

I really love the Thanksgiving foods, but not all at once. We like to spread Thanksgiving out through November and December, and we prefer wild turkey if we can get it--there's surprisingly little meat on one, so you never have a chance to get tired of leftovers.

I ran across an ethnobotany/ethnozoology essay about turkeys, which you might enjoy:

http://hnn.us/articles/57346.html

Hope you enjoy your day--it sounds like fun to me!

lettuce said...

this is one of my all-time favourites of your videos, i love it

they look entirely random, but also as if they have a plan. to swoop and dive just for the sake of it.

leaf-like
wonderful

fussy / discerning?



(ps. i overheard)

Val said...

I do like the whole Thanksgiving idea but we do tend to get distracted by ritual and tradition. I am sure you can eat what you want - its the Thankfulness that really counts?
enjoy it your way!
x

rothko said...

A couple of weeks ago, I saw two turkeys hanging out in a neighbor's yard. No kidding. They were huge. I figured their plan was to stay as close as they could to the enemy so they could keep an eye on us and potentially avoid the tragedy of Thanksgiving.

Reya Mellicker said...

Have ya'll seen the video of Sarah Palin in front of the turkey "processing" machine, the Cone of Death?

God!!