Enjoy a Respite
This is one of the loveliest times in the US—a moment when we pause all other activities to gather with loved ones and prepare a feast in the name of gratitude and togetherness.
Despite the invasion into the holiday of Black Friday and such, the holiday has traditionally been simple and uncommercial, with a feel its very own. It’s a time when we confirm flight arrivals and gauge highway travel times; when we dust our grown kids’ bedrooms and anticipate welcoming them home; when we confer with friends about their plans and look forward to taking a breath together.
Talk amongst friends and colleagues drifts to questions of Thanksgiving menus: whether the potatoes should be roasted or mashed; whether sweet potatoes with marshmallow is a sacred or revolting tradition; just how many pies one should bake, and how to apportion them between apple, pumpkin and pecan; whether or not a salad is truly necessary when the meal, let’s be honest, is all about the turkey, gravy and potatoes; whether we prefer straight cranberry jelly or a cranberry orange sauce. We talk about who is doing the hosting and what dishes friends and families will be bringing; we share our traditions and recognize the inevitable overlap between them.
Our traditional menu items may differ a little family to family, but they are variations on a theme; in an uncharacteristic way, we Americans don’t deviate too much from the traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving. Rather, we hug the shoreline and follow the current, perhaps daring to swap out green beans for spinach or, oh my, create a vegan alternative to the bird; our observance and appreciation of Thanksgiving seems to be something we still have in common, despite the fractious divisions in our country, and I find this reassuring.
Essentially, Thanksgiving is when we lift our heads from all of the frantic nonsense of life and take a moment to remember who and what is important to us. And then we do what people have done for centuries—we prepare a feast and raise a glass to loved ones, to togetherness, and to appreciating the myriad ways in which we are lucky and blessed.
Wherever you are, and whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, I wish you such a moment.
Elizabeth Sawyer & the Bennett team