Food For Thought

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By Cheryl Hansen


Ahhhh Thanksgiving. Permission to eat. A lot. It’s a day to talk turkey, swim in gravy, get stuffed with stuffing and top it all off the pumpkin pie. Indulgence. Gluttony. I have to unbutton my jeans just thinking about it.


With the exception of kindergartners studying the Pilgrims, most of us don’t even think about the idea behind Thanksgiving. Many of us do share stories of gratitude at the table, giving thanks for family, food and friendship. It’s a lovely and noble tradition—promptly followed by the requisite dive into the platters and serving bowls before us because that’s just what you do, right? We’ve been conditioned to look at Thanksgiving as a day we MUST eat.


But must we? In the spirit of transformation, I think it’s time to take a closer look at this feast-filled tradition. It’s possible that I don’t actually have to eat myself silly this year. Some questions to ponder:


  • If turkey is truly so tasty that we salivate at the idea of white meat, dark meat and/or licking that wishbone clean—why then, do we only cook the bird one day a year?
  • Cranberries: same question.
  • Pumpkin pie: ditto.
  • When it comes to mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole (with marshmallow topping) and stuffing—how many bites truly make us sigh and savor the flavor? One? Three?


If I was chained to a chair in an overheated interrogation room with bright lights blinding me and a lie detector machine hardwired to my aorta—what aspect of the holiday is really behind the warm and fuzzy feeling I get when thinking about it? I’d probably say the food at first. But a good gut check might just reveal that it’s the camaraderie that brings about the good feelings. I like planning my contributions, baking my mom’s famous rolls and even cooking green beans when it’s for people I love. I smile when I think of stealing bites of turkey while Uncle Paulie carves it (and Aunt Jen smacks our hands away). I revel in watching cousins chase each other around the house, forming bonds they’ll treasure their whole lives. I love hearing the ooh-ing and ah-ing about something I made. And sure, I like the food too—but perhaps not to the extent that I think.


Imagine how thankful I’d be to skip that super stuffed, over-full feeling this year. Definitely food for thought.

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