America is awesome.
Every year I’ve experienced a traditional Thanksgiving with an American family, I’ve found somebody at the table and said those words. It’s the best, the most appropriate time for the sentiment, and it illustrates my love affair with the country.
It’s definitely not the food. I’m a culinary grad after all, and most chefs have complex recipes for everything on the menu. Thanksgiving turkey is usually dry, the abundance of starch is a metaphor for our bloated, materialistic society, and I don’t really get why squash and pumpkin get two different dishes when they’re basically the same vegetable- and they’re both sweet! Still, if you offered me something radically different from the stove-top stuffing, the cranberry sauce or the gut-busting cornbread, I’d throw a fit. I’d refuse, I’d demand my danged gravy and mash. It’s just not Thanksgiving without the staples, and this from a Chinaman. So is it the family? I have to say, I love my family, but they can be really difficult to deal with. Most families are; sometimes I feel like college kids get invited to other peoples’ Thanksgivings to thin out the firewater a bit.
So what is it about Thanksgiving that fills me with appreciation for a country? I’d have to say, most of the great things about the red-white-and-blue come from Lincoln. I can just imagine sitting in my stovetop hat, rubbing my magnificent beard, and thinking, Jesus Christ, what do I use to glue the country back together?
Thanksgiving works in reminding us why, for me at least, we came to this country in the first place. America is the land of plenty, where the mountains are made of gold, and there is enough for everyone so long as we work hard, get along and keep marching forward. I don’t care how many generations you have to go back, all the way to the Bering Strait, none of us are natives here. We all came to find a better life for ourselves, and you know what? Nothing says a good life like a feast you can’t possibly finish in one sitting, that leaves you breathless and dizzy from triptophan, that bursts through every belt buckle in the house.
America is awesome.