Monday, November 30, 2015

Giving Thanks and why I don’t like Thanksgiving food(s)

Thanksgiving is just behind us and we all try to recover from big meals and some decent portions of alcohol. We all thanked our God, the Universe or our unexpected luck for the good things we have in our life. Despite all the good, I have still to complain about Thanksgiving food.

I am not an American so maybe that is the reason I can’t relate to the Thanksgiving dinner. And, even if I tried hard, I don’t understand why nearly a month before the day, the entire culinary world including food writers and bloggers, broadcasters, housewives, home cooks and even children get so much engaged and can’t stop talking about turkeys, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy.

I almost hate stuffing. It is too bread-ish and dry and rather bland. Gravy on the other hand is rather thin and messy and makes things even worse. Mashed potatoes could taste fine but fortified with butter and double cream is the best recipe for a heart attack. And don’t get me started with the pumpkin pie, the most boring pie of all. I don’t think I had more than one bite of this but that was enough. The only thing I can possibly like is the dark, crispy skin of the turkey. But is it worth waiting for five hours for dinner to be served for just that?

I first celebrated Thanksgiving in Florida, where I lived in the 90s. My expectations were rather high for this so much advertised holiday. In Florida was fun. The weather was warm enough to be able to get a table in the patio with traditional food and with some sides of seafood and the ubiquitous key lime pie – a much nicer dinner.

I celebrated Thanksgiving ten plus years later in New York amongst an international group of people who was thankful for everything except for the food choices. Throughout the years, I had roasted turkey, twisted versions of the stuffing (made with different ingredients), gravy, various versions of mashed potatoes (yukan gold and yams both, with butter and double cream and some secret ingredients I can’t reveal) but never really liked anything. Last year I made chicken with some sort of stuffing, a ceviche-like soup and a dark chocolate dessert -all different dishes with a better taste.

What’s wrong of going off-the-beaten path to celebrate the day of giving thanks? I know people who are vegetarians, gluten-free, paleo-diet friendly. Do they all have to put up with the turkey, the stuffing and the pumpkin pie? I wouldn’t think so.

Willing to express my thanks without the mainstream and nearly authoritarian imposing of certain foods and armed with a $100 gift voucher (I won), I celebrated Thanksgiving at the Lucky Eagle casino. I had a filet mignon and grilled vegetables, a starter of prawn cocktail, bubbly for the cheers and coffee for desert (with a bite of cheesecake).

It was the perfect Thanksgiving. No stuffing attached.