happy thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving, time to break out the turkey!

Today in the U.S. is Thanksgiving, a national holiday devoted to eating. It’s really one of our better celebrations and one that the rest of the world misses out on. (Okay, so Canada celebrates the day too, but they hold theirs on the date we celebrate the discovery of America, so it doesn’t really count.)

Tradition holds that the first Thanksgiving celebration was in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, prompted by a good harvest that was largely due to the native Wampanoag Indians helping the Pilgrims by providing them with seeds and teaching them to fish. The holiday was celebrated on various dates throughout the country until President Lincoln proclaimed the celebration a national holiday in an effort to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states. He chose the last Thursday of November for the holiday, which was changed to the fourth Thursday of November by the American Congress during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

gay jello ad

And don’t forget the Jello!

I think Thanksgiving is the best holiday we have. Even its original meaning – a day to say thanks for the bountiful blessings we enjoy – is difficult to find offense with. Well, except if you are Native American. Then you get to say thanks for the disease and pestilence brought over by our forefathers, and their hungry grab for land which resulted in killing off three-quarters of the Native American population driving those who survived onto small worthless plots of land where they faced a future of poverty, alcoholism, and early death. But other than that, Thanksgiving is all good.

It’s a holiday of traditions, all of which center around eating. Families, friends, and the families we’ve made gather for the day to stuff themselves senseless. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberry sauce grace almost every table in the country. Side dishes are regional and everyone has their favorite; the dishes we grew up with and which without Thanksgiving would not be complete. Some of those, such as yams with marshmallows, are pretty gross. But not quite as gross as cooks who play around with stuffing recipes.

Ready to stuff

Ready to stuff.

There are only about three variations of stuffing acceptable with the most far-out being that made with oysters (don’t bitch, I said it was still acceptable). Anyone cooking a Thanksgiving turkey who deviates from the norm should be shot. Sun-dried tomato stuffing will kill a Thanksgiving gathering quicker than Herman Cain can say, “Hey Hootchie Mama! Guess what I’ve got in my pocket for ya!” And Thanksgiving is about turkeys, not pigs so leave that damn bacon in the fridge where it belongs. And just for the record, turkey is supposed to be baked in an oven. Period. If you want to fry something in fat, go get some Snickers bars.

It’s difficult to not be happy on Thanksgiving, as long as no one screwed around with the turkey. Turns out that warm cozy feeling of serenity and good will you have after overeating during your Thanksgiving dinner isn’t just because of the people with whom you shared you day – ‘cuz that often means relatives and a lot of them suck – but rather that turkey contains animal proteins which encourage your brain to produce endorphins. Endorphins are your brain’s painkiller; three times more potent than morphine, they are feel-good chemicals naturally manufactured in your brain that give you a feeling of well-being. Eat a lot of turkey and your brain triggers feelings of happiness, calms anxiety, relieves depression, and helps you sleep better.


Of course, a few shots of Wild Turkey doesn’t hurt either.