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home : features : features February 05, 2016


11/25/2012 9:39:00 PM
AROUND THE BLUHMIN' TOWN
Column: What would the Pilgrims think about Thanksgiving?
By Judy Bluhm


How was your Thanksgiving? I sometimes wonder if the Pilgrims would understand this holiday. If we really wanted to celebrate the original "Thanksgiving experience," what we might do is something completely different. Why get cozy with the same old turkey when we could try, for just one day, to be like those brave souls who were struggling to survive in a strange new world?

Imagine getting on a ship, going off to a place unknown, unsettled, with only hopes and dreams of a better life. Harsh circumstances, sickness, fear, native peoples, different foods, no way back home, and bad weather were but a few of the challenges that faced these folks. They must have been very grateful that they made it through a year in the wilderness called America.

It's a holiday that is often eclipsed by the "Big Day" of Christmas or the shopping frenzy of "Black Friday." That would be tragic if Thanksgiving became so ordinary, since it is the one day that symbolizes the pure spirit of giving thanks in the midst of hardship. In some ways, Thanksgiving is the best of all holidays - no gifts to commercialize it, no religion to limit it, no elf to trivialize it - just one day in November to give thanks for all that we have and to remember where we came from.

I thought I might do something different for dinner, in honor of the Pilgrims. So I set aside all of my old recipes and was all ready to blaze a new trail in the kitchen. I told my husband, Doug, that I wanted to make an orange-glazed turkey and sweet potato roll-ups made with cheese and sautéed in maple syrup. He looked at me like I had lost my mind. Then he asked me if I really wanted to experiment with "the unusual" on Thanksgiving. Ha! Where's his sense of adventure? But I decided to play it safe and stuck with a traditional meal.

I remember as a child, kitchens were places that belonged to women. Men sat together looking at ball games or discussing politics, while women ruled the stovetops and ovens. My father, uncles and grandfathers didn't complain much about food, especially when the women were armed with sharp knives. Chopping, boiling, mashing, slicing, mixing, baking, dicing, and tasting were serious tasks. In those days, cooking a feast was an all-day marathon, perhaps not that much different than the efforts during the Pilgrim days.

Don't you love getting up early on Thanksgiving, to "fight with the bird" before getting it all stuffed and tied up? Then it clears the way for the real fun: pie making, peeling potatoes (I enlist my husband) and all other manner of delightful things to do. Last year, my daughter, Tammy, told me to put the turkey dressing into muffin pans and another new tradition was started. It was a lot better than the year we decided to cook the turkey in one of those dangerous, burn-down-the-house, hot oil cookers. Dear Readers, unless you are a fireman - forget it! I'm just thankful we're all still alive.

I have had a few disasters when it comes to Thanksgiving dinners. One year I got carried away with the sage and the stuffing looked a sickening green. My uncle said it looked like mold. Another year, Doug was making the mashed potatoes and added so much milk that we had to serve them in soup bowls! The funniest year was when I somehow got the turkey turned upside down on the cutting board and thought it had shriveled because I couldn't find the breast. Fortunately, after a full two minutes of terror, my daughters and I were able to flip the beast over.

What are you thankful for this year? How did your Thanksgiving Day dinner compare to those early settlers who gathered around a long table, grateful for life, holding onto hope and dreaming of a bright future? More holidays are approaching. With one feast down, there are several more opportunities before Christmas to "experiment" in the kitchen. Oh, and if you have a recipe for turkenduck in béarnaise sauce, give me call.



Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.




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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: the wino

att: MR. SWIFTHAWK,
I feel your pain-- as a child of the 1950's and grew-up within 16 miles of the PLYMOUTH ROCK,MASSACHUSETTS.
OUR COUNTRY HAS BEEN DESTROYED BY MANY DIFFERENT GOVERNMENT CHOICES???
"GOD BLESS AMERICA"
sincerely, a vietnam veteran


Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012
Article comment by: Al Swifthawk

Hm What about the tribes who got back stabbed by the pilgrims and who are still dealing with theft, disrespect, and now poverty. What we should have done is let u all starve and move on maybe it would be a better world for all instead all this messed up life for people and our mother earth.



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