Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving

I'm lucky to celebrate two Thanksgivings every year: Canadian Thanksgiving (the second Monday of October, also known as another day to close schools Columbus Day south of the 42nd parallel), and American Thanksgiving (also known as the shotgun start to the frantic shopping rush to Christmas).  And because I'm known to wear my maple-leaf-emblazoned, maple-syrup-bleeding heart on my sleeve, I keep getting asked why Canadians have Thanksgiving, or if the Great White North is just copying its neighbor to the south.

From my brief WWW search of historically-factual sites (that is, because it's on the WWW, it means that it's the absolute truth), Canadian Thanksgiving apparently came first - ha! - in 1578 to celebrate the end of the long, god-forsaken journey of one Martin Frobisher who was trying to find passage from England to Asia, but ended up on Newfoundland instead.  (Dude, you totally went the wrong way.)  On the American side, the first Thanksgiving is widely accepted to have been held by Native Americans and Plymouth colonists in 1621 in Massachusetts, to celebrate the colonists not starving to death fall harvest.  Hence the annual reenactments featuring paper hats and headdresses.  But minus the smallpox. 

And while Canada supposedly had the first Thanksgiving, the traditions are said to be similar thanks to American loyalists bringing the turkey, trimmings and pumpkin pie to Canada during the Revolution.  Fortunately, the US kept the patent on Black Friday, although Boxing Day comes a close second.

But enough history for now. 

This was supposed to be a pretty busy four-day weekend, but since my younger sister and brother-in-law had to unexpectedly cancel their visit, we've now found ourselves with four days of peace and solitude - a Thanksgiving by ourselves, for the first time in several years.  And after gearing up for visitors, but then realizing we'd be on our own, we've actually turned down dinner invitations for today (nor extended any), as we're just looking forward to the time together.

Still, we have to eat, so first up on today's agenda is preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, with the main course being a Turkey Day non-turkey ham.  Why no bird, you ask?  Well, I've never actually roasted one (even though everyone says it's the easiest thing in the world to do), because, frankly, I don't like dealing with bones in meat, and I can do more with ham leftovers than I can with turkey.  Sides will be a sweet potato casserole (recipe courtesy of my only non-Martha-branded Food Network magazine), green beans (with parmesan and lemon juice), and corn - because nothing says "fall harvest" like ripping open a bag of Green Giant's finest.

And to top it all off, I'm going to make a pumpkin pie.  For the very first time.  I'll let you know how all of this turns out.

Of course, one of the beauties of being able to cocoon over the long weekend is that I can do my Black Friday shopping unencumbered.  And no, I'm not talking about lining up outside Best Buy at midnight (but kudos to those who have the fortitude to do so).  Instead, I'm going to be surfing away on my computer in my PJs and enjoying the deals and bargains from the comfort and warmth of our house.  Last year, I was a little trigger happy with the mouse, so this year I'm trying to restrain myself, especially since I'm saving up for some significant horn-related maintenance and gadgets (more about that in another posting).  Still, I'm scoping out some more winter running gear, and possibly a Blu-Ray player with WiFi (although I'd prefer a DVR with WiFi instead, but that doesn't appear to be in the cards).  I'm determined to do my part to stimulate the economy.  Sacrifices, all.

To all my American friends and family, wherever you are - a warm, happy and safe Thanksgiving.  See you on the other side - a little heavier from dinner, a little lighter in the wallet, but still thankful for all we have.  Or bought.

2 comments:

Dan said...

Good luck with the dinner - sounds delicious!

For your entertainment http://www.sweetsadiesbaking.com/2010/11/pumpkie-piea-story-and-great-recipe.html

My friend's pumpkin pie recipe and the best pumpkin pie story ever.

Christopher said...

OMG - that story was hilarious. Thanks for sharing. My first attempt at pumpkin pie turned out well - photo to follow in a later posting. :)