Happy Thanksgiving, from All of Us at Kitchn
It’s Thanksgiving, and in the run-up to this most abundant and busy of holidays, I’ve been thinking about its contradictions. It’s a holiday of gratitude for what we already have, that just happens to kick off the season of wishlists and shopping hauls. It’s a day of generosity and plenty for many, and loneliness for others. And of course, it is a holiday fraught with painful history and injustice from all sides, while also still, somehow, an emotional milestone of belonging for people who desire to be a fellow citizen of this country and all it represents.
All those big thoughts aside, it’s also the day I struggle between picking up the playroom (guests are coming!) and simply enjoying my two very small children, who are just beginning to develop lasting olfactory memories of turkey roasting and cranberries stewing. I struggle between the savage desire to iron the napkins like an avenging domestic goddess, and my husband’s urging to just relax and go for a morning walk. I feel tension between my desire — always! — to make things just a little bit better, a little more beautiful (maybe some Thanksgiving Day sales shopping is involved?) and the call to be grateful for the immense blessings I do already have. The perfunctory giving of thanks at the table can feel rote; this is just what we do, in the midst of the unrelenting busyness of Thanksgiving Day itself.
I think that to experience anything other than the hustle and bustle on this holiday, to feel a wave of gratitude is itself a gift. But we can create conditions for it by the very rote and rhythm of our collective meal. I try to always read a blessing or a poem from this book (it is just such a beautiful collection). I try to let at least one little thing go from my plan, like a sacrifice to open my heart to people. And I love to go back and read a few words from Dana, who wrote our Weekend Meditations for years. May I recommend a few to you?
- What I Like About Today
- A Beautiful Day
- Weekend Meditation: Peace and Quiet
- Weekend Meditation: A Delicious Disaster
But, in the end, Thanksgiving is what it is: a busy, often-hectic, stormy, lonely, funny, boozy, over-stuffed, who-is-this-cousin, where-is-my-bed, is-the-flight-delayed-again sort of holiday. It’s a step outside of daily life, and weird and exasperating and nostalgic and delicious all at once. My hope and desire for you is that you not only get to eat delicious things, but also have a few quiet moments where that sense of gratitude, for anything at all, overwhelms you like a gift.
And readers, fellow cooks, and friends, we’re so grateful for all of you. We don’t take for granted that you visit us, cook with us, and add your own voices to the mix here at Kitchn. I’ve been doing Thanksgiving with all of you for a long time now (over 10 years!) and while many things in our world change, there’s a stability and predictability to the rhythms of Thanksgiving Day that feel like a welcome respite and a little homecoming every year, as if I’ve landed back on my doorstep after a long circular walk.
Speaking of which, it’s time for one now. Happy holidays and may your day be delicious.