Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Wrap-up

I have survived another Thanksgiving. It is not that I don't like Thanksgiving itself or that I have nothing to be thankful for, but that I really don't like the "traditions" of Thanksgiving. Mostly, I don't like the traditional Thanksgiving food. I don't much care for roasted turkey. I don't like marshmallows so the sweet potato casserole does nothing for me. I don't like mushrooms; though I can tolerate the green bean casserole with its obligatory cream of mushroom soup, I can also live without it. Basically, if I have to eat the standard fare, I opt for the all carbohydrate version - dressing, mashed potatoes, and bread. I am not even fond of pumpkin pie though I can be forced to eat a piece if it is covered with the empty calories of a big glob of Cool Whip.

Fortunately, I am not much on tradition for tradition sake so our Thanksgiving table looked a bit different than most. No roasted turkey. John smoked our turkey. Smoked turkey is much better than roasted turkey though I still would rather not eat it just sliced. We had white bean turkey chili instead. It was awesome. You can't have chili without bread. Most of the time we have cornbread with chili but this year Mike made both wheat bread and white bread. Not to fear though, we did have a pan of cornbread dressing. Actually, we had two pans - the vegan pan and the sausage pan.

Brooke came home from Chicago, her first time back since she left in September. She managed to get herself from school to O'hare on the busiest travel day of the year without any trouble. Because she says that the vegan food line in the cafeteria at school is less than desirable (I don't know why it would be different than any other food line at any other college) we did our best to make a few things that she would eat. Hence the vegan dressing - vegetable stock instead of chicken broth. For the hardcore carnivores, the cornbread and sausage dressing was made with the standard chicken broth. The mashed potatoes were made with soy milk and vegan butter. Those of you who are making those faces would be hard pressed to tell the difference. 'Try it. You'll like it." And then there is the vegan pumpkin pie. Remember I said I am not a real pumpkin pie fan. Well the vegan pie is amazing. Tofu instead of eggs and milk. Stop with the faces! It is really good - even without the non-dairy Cool Whip.

We had some new friends over this year for Thanksgiving, one of whom happens to be a vegetarian. How many places can one go for Thanksgiving as a vegetarian and actually get enough to eat? I think everyone had plenty to eat. Unlike most Americans who are said to consume some 5,000 calories at the Thanksgiving table, we had a meal of moderation. That is something to be thankful for.

After dinner we had a kick-ass game of Cranium. Okay, it doesn't burn off many calories, but it sure was fun! I wish we took the time to play games more often. The Cranium family of games have become a favorite around here. Maybe Santa Claus will bring us a new one for the Christmas festivities.

As Friday approached, the reality that Christmas is just a month away set in. Can you believe that the stores opened as early as midnight on Thanksgiving night? I don't know how many people were that anxious to make their mark on "Black Friday." I was not one of them. I am way behind on the holiday shopping. Frankly, no one really needs anything. It is hard, and stupid, to go buy things for people who don't need anything. I need to get creative about the gift ideas pretty quickly or the knitted toilet tissue covers may start looking good.

For now, all of the holiday cheer has to be put on hold as tomorrow we all return to work and school for the final few weeks of the semester.