November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast of Gratitude

I have mixed feelings about Thanksgiving. I love focusing on being thankful for all the blessings I have in my life, but creating a day whose focus seems to be to stuff yourself with as much food as you can just does not appeal to me. More and more it seems to me that Thanksgiving kicks off a season of gluttony, holiday parties, treats and goodies that does not end until New Year's, when the mood changes to atonement and guilt, and undoing all the abuses done to the poor body in the previous 6 weeks. I am grateful to live in a society where food is abundant. But when many go to bed hungry, I feel fortunate that I am able to make the choice to decide what to put into my mouth. My goal is to honor that blessing by treating my body with respect and feeding it healthy foods in only the amounts it requires.

The greatest joy for me of this season is to celebrate the non-food delights of the holidays, such as visiting with family and friends, and focusing on the conversation and not what's on the buffet table. My most treasured Thanksgiving heirloom is a tablecloth I started about 6 years ago. I purchased a plain white tablecloth and a package of permanent markers and invited all those sharing the holiday with me that day to write on the tablecloth what they were most thankful for. It is wonderful each year to pull it out, relive the previous years' blessings and record the new year's! I also enjoy taking a family walk on Thanksgiving Day. The crisp leaves underfoot and chilly air invigorate me as I celebrate the transition between fall and winter.

As for food, I try to limit myself to something that really IS only available at this time of year, such a fresh fall and winter squash and sweet frost-kissed kale and root vegetables. My ideal Thanksgiving feast is not one of abundance of food, but of a few dishes exquisitely made with quality healthy ingredients with lots of love and joy and celebrate the fall season. This year it will be my husband, two sons and I around the table. The plan is for each of us to focus on one dish to make and enjoy each others' company in the kitchen as we prepare and eat our meal. It won't be too long before my sons are on their own so this time together is very precious to me.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too! I like the Thanksgiving holiday as it's really the only one that encourages us to be thankful for the many blessings which we've been given. As such I love your tradition of having everyone annually write-down their blessings. Our family has a similar tradition, though our expression is more ephemeral since after Grace we go around the table and tell others what we're especially happy to have received/done in the prior year.