Friday, November 18, 2011

The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

All the Whos down in Whoville loved Thanksgiving a lot...

Thanksgiving doesn't come in a box!

I know that's not the way the story starts, but that line popped into my head the other day while I was perusing the pre-Thanksgiving grocery store ads to see what was going to be on sale and what I would plan on buying. Each ad featured stuffing mix in a box, canned cranberry sauce, and the vile combination of ingredients needed to create that horrible holiday staple known as green bean casserole.

It just made me reflect on how our perception has changed on what constitutes homemade and what we consider good enough to serve on special occasions.

Homemade doesn't mean you prepared it at home. I would hardly consider the frozen ravioli I buy for a quick dinner to be a homemade meal. Home-cooked, okay, I'll grant you that, but there is a difference and if there is a time to make the effort to prepare something extra-special and homemade, it's Thanksgiving. How does a meal from a package show your family that you love and care about them? How does semi-homemade celebrate the harvest and the bounty that our local farmers have bestowed upon us? How does stuffing from a box taste like anything remotely resembling food?

I've heard the arguments from friends who don't like to cook that their families don't care and they *like* the yams from a can and the crunchy onions on top of the green beans. I don't buy it. Their families love them and wouldn't want to complain about their cooking. Plus, they may not know any better, having never been exposed to a real homemade Thanksgiving meal.

So, if I were the Grinch, I'd creep in and steal all the food from a box. But, I'd leave behind some fresh vegetables and a loaf of stale bread with which to make stuffing!

So, let me just throw this out there: this Thanksgiving, replace just one dish with a better, homemade version and see how it goes. Just one. Tomorrow, I'll even give you a timetable for preparing a whole homemade feast. You can take whatever parts of it you like. In the meantime, here's my post from a couple of years ago about how to cook a turkey.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My amazing daughter

In a non-cooking related post, last night I attended my daughter's high school play performance. It was called "What I want to say, but never will" a play written by a high school English teacher. He posed three questions to teenagers:

1. What do you want to say, but never will
2. Who do you want to say it to?
3. Why won't you say it?

The monologues presented by the students were funny, sad, disturbing. It was really more than just a play about teenage angst and the typical topics of sex, abuse, suicide, and peer relations, although it touched on all of those subjects. I think the deeper context was about how we, as the adults in teenagers lives, need to really listen to them. I was struck by how many of the monologues were directed at parents who seemingly wouldn't listen or wouldn't understand; I think that perhaps that is only the writers' perceptions, but we as parents need to do a better job of making sure that our kids know they really can talk to us about anything. Of course, I think the way to do that is to really listen to them to begin with, and not just tell them, "You can tell me anything". That actually rings kind of hollow and false.

It was a great play. I'll be back again tonight to see it again. The  play was interspersed with musical numbers, the kids really are very talented. Here is my Hannah's musical performance. It was amazing.