Friday, November 23, 2012

Reflections on Thanksgiving

It is black Friday and I have absolutely no desire to brave the crowds at the shopping centers. So I decided to just relax at my parents' home in Boston.  I received a call from my sister Amy this morning.  When we are separated for the holiday, we always compare notes on how we spent the holiday, what foods we prepared and who came as our guests.  We have adapted our menu over the years since we were children.  Almost two decades ago, after I made the dietary switch, my sisters and parents also chose vegetarianism.  Our Thanksgiving meals have been no less delicious, I must say.  We prepare all the traditional fixings from scratch - sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, everything sans the bird.  In lieu of the turkey we have had various replacements.  My sister has become very adept at using TVP (texturized vegetable protein) and makes a killer Peruvian pascualina that knocks anybody's socks off.  It has been a wonderful challenge to make it just as appealing as when we had the bird.  Amy and I also talked about how certain dishes have to be prepared just so.  I just can't do raw food on Thanksgiving. I'm a stickler on this holiday, nothing but traditional fair will do.  This has made this holiday particularly poignant for us because aside from changing ingredients, we have experienced a major difference this year.  My sister Sallie, the one who lived in Puerto Rico, has relocated to Argentina.  True to our custom, we talked about the menu via Skype.  The town my sister lives in does not have access to many of the ingredients necessary for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  So she prepared the best meal she could and gave thanks anyway.  As always we will continue to adapt and tweak the ingredients and recipes, be they gluten free or vegetarian.  Year to year, the food changes and yet it stays the same.  We recognize that this holiday goes beyond the palate to a much deeper significance.  As the years go by and even though we are separated by many miles, we pause for a moment, united in spirit... and still give thanks.