Thanksgiving: A Quintessential American Holiday

writestuff By writestuff, 30th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Culture

A Personal Reflection Upon Thanksgiving Day Holiday

A National Holiday

Although the collective consciousness of the United States of America is firmly rooted in a concept of Divine Supply, Thanksgiving Day is not a religiously mandated observance. Nor is it an ethnically derived celebration. Thus, this most ubiquitous gastronomical autumnal feast has become the quintessential American Holiday. Unfortunately, some believe it is also a national observance that on many levels pays homage to an inalienable right to pursue an abundance-affirming lifestyle of material wealth. This was not the intent of founding father, George Washington or great emancipator , Abraham Lincoln when as Presidents they proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a national holiday for this land of opportunity and bountifulness.

When viewed from their unique historical perspectives, it is clear that both presidents envisioned Thanksgiving Day as an opportunity for Americans to develop an attitude of gratitude. True to popular American lore,'anything is possible'. So, in times of uncertainty and hardship many displayed the gift to become resilient while developing a prosperity mindset. In so doing, Americans cultivated an ability to survive and hold until they could thrive. In the midst of a time of worldwide economic upheaval throngs of devastate Americans once again preserved. These are the honored traditions to which many still cling. These are also the valued strong bridge planks that many of us have crossed over on aka 'the depression era'. But, unlike Washington and Lincoln, during the Great Depression the idea of increasing prosperity was not so far afield when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the 4th Thursday of every November as Thanksgiving Day. I whole-heartedly applaud this date change. It indeed was a good thing. Most Americans are able to have at least three days of celebration which is more in keeping with the initial feast held by the Puritan settlers and Native American peoples in 1621 at Plymouth. Additionally, it extends the amount of time for gathering precious memories and for this I’m grateful

Special Thanks

Motoring with family to Cape Cod through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from Quincy to Truro is one of my most enjoyable lifetime experiences. We laugh, joke, swap lies and revisit ‘warm fuzzes’ of former vacations and for this I’m grateful. Of course, this journey is also educational. Immigrant English Protestants arrived in this New England territory and began their development as an American settlement. It’s easy to be charmed and awed by the fleeting glimpse of many quaint dwellings and tourist markers denoting historic sites that commemorate the landing of these pilgrims in this bountiful New World as many aspects of American History come alive.


During my early childhood, Turkey day was always a day of enchantment. It was sacrosanct. It was also nothing short of another equal opportunity chef day. In due season, everyone had a fair turn to become as great of a 'family chef' as he or she pleased. This was a crowning family achievement. Chances to succeed were great if one did not try improving upon a ‘Repast Recipe’. It was totally forbidden to past the dearly departed's recipe off as your own. Too many similarities and the turkey was not the only roast at the table. These cherished shared moments were truly times of endearment! Remembered gathered family, extended family, beloved friends and new acquaintances coupled with the familiar wafts of Cousin Agnes’ Sweet Yeast Dinner Rolls, Aunt Savannah’s Sweet Potato Bourbon Pudding, Great-Aunt Jessie’s Turnips and Greens with Ham Hocks or Daddy’s Cornbread Sausage Oyster Dressing and of course, Mamma’s iconic Seven-Layer Cake still remain fond memories and for these I’m most grateful.

Chore Days and Our Days

To be sure, Colonial cooking was an inventive and arduous task. Although they gratefully gathered the wondrous bounty of the New World food sources, there was less thankfulness while preparing their celebratory labor intensive recipes. Cooking was a daily chore. Meals were planned around what was obtainable. Yesterday’s cooks needed an attentive eye for a slow- cooked roasted meat or fowl. The majority of cooks welcome the simplicity of millennium cooking tools and techniques. Happily, today we can entertain our guest and enjoy libations while the pre-set rotisserie cooks the Cornish Hens. Generations upon generation of cooks are grateful for these culinary milestones.


Many blessing also come with aging. The biggest blessings occur on holidays. What was essentially a chore day has now become our day. We eat when, what, where and with whom we choose to share these traditional family holidays.So, if you prefer to not 'go over the woods and through the snow' opt for the 'best buddy' version. Thanksgiving Day Cuisine is often updated and less exclusive at an elder’s probing (s): ‘Have you tried that deep fried turkey?’ This of course, brings baked ham, or favorite grilled meats with veggie side and Turducken to the forefront as great additional entrées. Elderly former family chefs now have entirely different task on Thanksgiving Day. Our expertise is often sought as taste testers along with insights about utilizing multifunction, task-saving kitchen gadgets and not ‘cooking from scratch’ when time is an issue. We are also flooded with deep solicitations to reveal tried and true family chef methods. All said and done, Thanksgiving is a nostalgic time. It is a time for reinforcing family values. It is a time to renew family bonds and of shared enjoyment with extended family and cherished friends. With the passage of time and America’s continued multicultural growth, I am confident that Thanksgiving Day will remain the quintessential American holiday and for this I’m especially grateful.

Credits:
Photos by C A Lofton

Tags

American History, American Holiday, Cape Cod, Colonial Cooking, Family Values, Historic Sites, Holiday Menu, National Holiday, New England, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving Day, Thanksgiving Recipe, Thanksgiving Traditions, Turducken

Meet the author

author avatar writestuff
C.A. Lofton is a proponent of Positive Thinking. Her creative works: lyrics, short stories and poetry. B.A. in English and certificates in counseling and publishing. Website: www.calofton.com

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Comments

author avatar Kingwell
11th Dec 2013 (#)

I enjoyed reading this and I agree that we need to be grateful for what we already have.

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author avatar writestuff
11th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks for your read and encouraging comment. I agree.

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author avatar joyalariwo
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Interesting and informative, thanks for sharing.

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author avatar writestuff
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks for your read and comment.

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author avatar Beth Poindexter
14th Dec 2013 (#)

I really enjoyed your article...in fact it made me hungry:)

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author avatar writestuff
18th Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks for your reading and comments.

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