My partner sent me a video of a vegan turkey and it was just a roasted cabbage that someone had fussed over for 2 hours. The recipe required basting if that's even possible... "to better infuse the flavors."
One of his friends commented, "a vegan turkey? I miss the days when people could call things what they actually were."
As a whole, we’re going to miss a lot of things this year, not least of all a status-quo Thanksgiving. Sure, you might see your family, but it will most likely be on Skype or FaceTime. And yes, you may cook but chances are you may be cooking for 2 to 4 versus a whopping 15 people. Thanksgiving isn’t going to look the way you are used to it looking, but does that make it any less valuable?
I’ve even heard some people saying Thanksgiving is “canceled” this year because they can't fly home to see their parents. It’s almost as if there’s an invisible Thanksgiving checklist and if it isn’t met, then the whole holiday has to go.
I would urge you not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The truth is that Thanksgiving isn't static, it's a fluid entity. And it truly is what you make it.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for some of the changes. The truth is I was a deadbeat-Thanksgiving guest. I generally brought my empty stomach as my offering for Thanksgiving which I relied on other people (namely my parents) to fill. Not being able to fly to Hawaii to see my parents meant venturing out into the cold, cruel abandoned supermarket and trying not to get bitten by one of the diseased zombies. Sorry, I mean foraging for my own food in the grocery aisles with the other masked human shoppers. (I may or may not have watched Resident Evil last night.)
"This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for some of the changes."
But the point is, I had to learn to whip up a dish of my own, a fire sweet potato cornbread. It was so good it was worth the battle scars from singeing my hand on a hot cast-iron skillet. (Fun fact courtesy of Blair: a damp earl grey tea bag will soothe inflammation in case you brazenly decide to forgo oven mitts.)
You too can indulge in the pleasantness of change by leaning into the current versus resisting it. Examining our expectations of a living, breathing holiday also requires that we examine the living, breathing people who are called to participate in it, namely ourselves.
Aren’t you stronger now than when 2020 began? Whether social distancing has forced you to finally learn to be more technology-savvy, innovate with home workouts, or in my case, become more self-reliant, we all are strengthening different muscles and that is something to be grateful for.
Just because you’re doing something entirely different this year, doesn’t mean it’s not Thanksgiving.
The same way we’re not verifying some invisible list to confirm whether or not Thanksgiving is really Thanksgiving, I say we don’t over scrutinize the metaphorical roasted cabbages in our lives. Things change.
We’re going to dress it up the best we can and call that shit a turkey.