Thanksgiving: The meal isn’t what is important

When I was a child, Thanksgiving dinner was one of my very favorite meals.
And by Thanksgiving dinner I mean my mom’s cornbread stuffing and yams.
And by yams I mean a yam drowned in gooey brown sugar and melted marshmellows.

As for the turkey? I liked it just fine, but to be honest, warm turkey was—and still is—a little bit gag-inducing to me. I much preferred the cold leftovers (white meat only thankyouverymuch) shredded into splinter-sized strands, piled high on a toasted Lender’s bagel (plain only) with the perfect amount of mayonnaise (which practically involved some mathematical equations to determine) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the weekend following.

Mashed potatoes—meh.
Any vegetable—pass.
Hot rolls—surprisingly for this carb-a-holic, of little interest.
For me, Thanksgiving dinner was really all about that stuffing … and the yam.

My kids have always been supremely picky eaters (shocking, I know), so as you might guess, the traditional Thanksgiving meal isn’t their favorite.

tgiving meal2

Not pictured: The quarter bottle of ketchup she drenched her sliver of turkey in. (circa 2008)

However, since we don’t force our kids to eat things they are averse to (a statement I realize might open up a Pandora’s box but isn’t the point of this post, so if you’d like to offer your opinion on that issue, please go here) they’ve always been able to enjoy what they like on Thanksgiving (without me having to actually cook something different), even if it doesn’t look all that appetizing to anyone but a rabbit … or a rodent.

tgiving meal1
Don’t worry about them. They like whipped cream pie, so they don’t starve.

The fact that we live halfway across the country from our extended family (except for my mother, who lives 10 minutes from us) means that Thanksgiving in our house is typically a five-person gathering, and as the years have passed we’ve grown weary of cooking the large meal that seems to take seven hours to cook, 20 minutes to eat, and 12 hours to clean up. Throw in the fact that only three of us are actually eating it as well as the fact that as an adult the traditional Thanksgiving meal still isn’t my favorite (nor my husband’s — my mother actually likes it but since she’s not hosting she’s overruled), a few years ago we decided rethink “tradition.”


Suck it, turkey. The pilgrims had lobster on the first Thanksgiving, so our meal is more of a historically accurate representation of the holiday, anyway.

I know what you’re asking me in your head right now, and the answer is don’t be ridiculous.
No, my kids do not eat lobster, asparagus, or even mashed potatoes.
They eat waffles, obviously.


As they’ve gotten older they fancy them up with strawberries … and whipped cream, because whipped cream.

Maybe our meal is shocking to some people, and maybe there are some who feel like we aren’t fully embracing the holiday by foregoing the turkey, but to those people I’d ask, what is it that makes Thanksging Thanksgiving? Over the years I’ve come to realize that the food on the table—at least in this house—comes second (or fifth … or tenth) to all that goes on around it:
Good wine

And regardless of if we’re feasting on turkey, a solitary yam, a piece of string cheese, a dollop of peanut butter, a succulent lobster tail or a toaster waffle, we’re enjoying each other and creating memories that far exceed the importance of whatever it is we’re putting in our mouths.

To me, that’s what this holiday is all about … and for that, I’m thankful.


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  • Lucia Paul - Love it! we all admitted to each other a few years ago that none of us like turkey. So we make 2 roast chickens. But lobster…I like it.ReplyCancel

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