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The ghost of Thanksgiving past

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorites. Nobody ever believed me when I said it, because I seldom went home for the day and spent nearly all of my Turkey Days all by myself. It’s supposed to be a family holiday, after all.

But what’s not to love? You close your eyes and think to yourself actually, come to think of it, I have a pretty sweet deal — that mental exercise is good for the soul, or the id, or whatever meat gizmo drives the self, I do firmly believe — and then you gorge yourself into a coma. I have never missed observing Thanksgiving with all my heart. w00t!

It is also overlaid with a personal meaning — I arrived in Britain permanently on a Thanksgiving Day. I count the holiday as my Brittaversary, rather than the date. Four years, if you can believe it. Stranger in a strange land.

And now, yet another layer of meaning, as we attended the funeral of a neighbor this afternoon, a great and mighty sheep farmer in our little community. It was a sunny and very windy day, and we stood outside with a crowd (our local church is small and he was a popular man) getting blown around like flags. They carried in his coffin draped in a whole woolly fleece.

And then Uncle B had to go up to London and won’t be back until late. So here I am, like a Thanksgiving of yore, full up on my solitary feast and dozing in front of my Tudor fire while the wind howls away outside. A strange day, but on the whole, you know, I have a pretty sweet deal.


Comment from AmericanGypsea
Time: November 22, 2012, 11:19 pm


Comment from Frit
Time: November 22, 2012, 11:22 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Stoaty!

I can imagine how you feel. Being an ex-pat Damned Yank/Ozzie import, we don’t officially celebrate T-day here. However, I too have a pretty sweet deal, and I am thankful for all I have; two wonderful cats, a husband who loves, appreciates, and spoils me, a cozy house, a prolific garden, a new deck out back, (for the new jacuzzi my hubby got me for my 50th b-day earlier this year! W00T!), living out in the country, (away from any city,) and all the neat people who make this place rock.
I am truly blessed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment from kilroy182
Time: November 22, 2012, 11:35 pm

Happy Thanksgiving SWeasel, and everyone else here too. God Bless you all.

Comment from lauraw
Time: November 23, 2012, 1:04 am

Happy Thanksgiving, Stoaty. Is it easy to get turkey in England?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 23, 2012, 1:12 am

Yes, there are always frozen turkeys to be had, and fresh turkey around Christmas. Some of the bigger chains have a Thanksgiving section catering to expat Americans. Our little local store had a freezer section with turkeys and cranberries side by side — Thanksgiving wasn’t mentioned, but the timing is suspicious.

We even have a well known local turkey farm. We drive past it all the time. The joke is, they’re free range turkeys…and every time we see the flock, they’ve voluntarily jammed themselves into the tightest possible knot of poultry, up against the outer barn wall.

Comment from lauraw
Time: November 23, 2012, 1:18 am


Well, the important thing is, they have a choice, whether they exercise it or not.

We have had wild turkeys and pheasant walking across the yard here lately and I’ve half a mind to start setting out some cracked corn and a big net.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: November 23, 2012, 2:02 am

Hubby and I quit celebrating Thanksgiving with family about 20 years ago and the day became soooooooooo much more pleasant! For many years now, just like today, we have gathered an assortment of friends and drank and ate ourselves into a stupor. Life is so much better when you can spend it with the people you choose vs the people chosen for you.

Comment from Deborah
Time: November 23, 2012, 4:09 am

Happy Thanksgiving to Badger House and all who reside therein, and their friends and neighbors. Salute! from the Third Coast—I am in Corpus Christi, on the Gulf of Mexico. Tomorrow I shall wade in the warm waters at Padre Island, fly a large kite if the winds are favorable, and sit in the sun.

Husband and I started a new tradition about 12 years ago, and we go to the beach on Thanksgiving. We consider our many blessings, assess the state of our union, make plans for the new year, and eat shrimp three times a day.

I hope you all have a sweet deal as Stoaty says, and a lovely weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 23, 2012, 5:32 am

Thanks giving? Halloweenie things?

Oh what quaint traditions you all have!

Comment from Davem123
Time: November 23, 2012, 5:42 am

Happy T-day to you all and thank you, Mrs. Badger, for giving us all such a nice place to visit. Long may your banner wave.

Comment from AliceH
Time: November 23, 2012, 2:16 pm

I used my Brit roommates (my year abroad at U. of Sussex) as guinea pigs for my first effort of hosting Thanksgiving, figuring (rightly) that whatever didn’t come up to spec wouldn’t be noticed.

Of course, I was out drinking the night before. And the turkey hadn’t completely thawed out when I arose at 5am to get started, so needed a bit of a warm bath and even then, I missed getting the paper-wrapped gizzards and neck out the cavity until it was half-cooked. And instead of having 6 people, about 10 showed up. Still – 14 lb turkey (too small as it turned out), stuffing, rolls (from scratch), plenty of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, peas, apple and pumpkin pies (also from scratch) all managed to be better than I had reason to hope for. I think. After it was all prepared, me and my hangover went to bed, so I didn’t actually SEE them eating. Still, either they secretly dumped it all in the trash, except the bones, AND took out the trash so I wouldn’t see it, or they ate every. single. crumb. There were no leftovers of anything ๐Ÿ™‚

My best Thanksgiving meal started with a phone call from a guy at loose ends. He: “What are you doing today?” Me: “Making a few gallons of chile.” He: “Can I come over? I have tequila. And a blender.”

This year, I planned on another decidedly non-traditional taco salad and pumpkin pie for later, but a friend’s sister decided I must really be wishing for standard Thanksgiving fare, so she took it upon herself to buy some overcooked turkey and all the sugar- and carb-loaded sides from a local church dinner and had them delivered in little styrofoam take out containers. Yay. Now practicing sounding sincere before I extend my, um, thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 23, 2012, 3:27 pm

T’was the day after Thanksgiving and all though the house,
stomachs were groaning, even the mouse
Dirty plates were scattered, well, everywhere,
In hopes that mama was too tired to care.

Suddenly from the girls’ room there came such loud chatter
That hung-over Uncle Bernie thought his poor head would shatter.
Their clothes were all perfect, and they’d done up their hair,
Time to go shopping and there might be boys!ยฎ there!

On makeup! On hairspray! On jeans tightly fitted!
On perfume! On jewelry! Forget that scarf grandma knitted!
Now eye shadow, eye liner, there’re eye brows to draw!
And since mom is still sleeping, that push- uppity bra

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 23, 2012, 3:35 pm

Well, somehow I managed to post while I was still writing, ๐Ÿ™‚
There’s probably more but I can’t think it up in 3 minutes so that’s all folks. Anyhow time for a cold turkey sandwich!

Why do I like Thankdgiving leftovers more than the dinner? (and I like that a lot)!

Comment from AliceH
Time: November 23, 2012, 5:28 pm

Some Veg – Very impressive!

Comment from Gromulin
Time: November 23, 2012, 5:29 pm

I feel the need to chime in for the the rest of us. We went to in-laws. Listened to bickering. Tolerated the despised relatives. Ate late and it was cold. Yapping Dachshund. Screaming kids (only two of which being the fruit of my loins). Came home. Farted repeatedly.

So, all in all, not bad. No police. Could’a been worse and I’m always thankful for that.

Comment from Pupster
Time: November 23, 2012, 5:42 pm

I had no idea I was Gromulin.

Happy Thanksgiving, Stoaty. You are on my to be thankful for list.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: November 23, 2012, 6:49 pm

I feel doubly blessed. Since we banned politics from the large family gatherings, the unpleasantness is gone. Second, and more important, as I get older I take greater pleasure in seeing the horde that is our extended family, generation upon generation [4 of them]. 50 of us, of all ages, gathered together. EVERYBODY of cooking age [which goes down to about 10 in our family, a lot of us grew up working in restaurants] makes and brings something. There is a lot of food, no one has to make the effort to do everything, we all clean up afterwards, and there is plenty of time to spoil grandchildren, grandnieces, and grandnephews, visit and reminisce, and to know that we are gathered with those who will stand with us against all that the world can bring.

It is a good thing, and I hope that you all, with the possible exception of one here, had the same joy.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from AltBBrown
Time: November 23, 2012, 9:10 pm

I am green with envy for Deborah’s T-Day plans!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 23, 2012, 9:59 pm

That confirms what I’ve long suspected, Gromulin. We do have Thanksgiving here in the UK. We just celebrate it the day after Christmas and call it Boxing Day!

Comment from Tibby
Time: November 23, 2012, 10:23 pm

@ Subotai Bahadur, that is what we have done, and it is a truly great family time for us all. We miss it when can’t make it, and are truly thankful when we do. The kids pick up right where they left off, we meet the new in-laws, new babies and get to see the old aunties and uncles. Life is good. (Food’s pretty good too.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comment from Nina
Time: November 24, 2012, 11:44 pm

Just the three of us on Thursday, with most of the brood living abroad these days. I love thanksgiving, but the small crowd at dinner always fills me with a bit of melancholy, as I miss them all quite a bit, and it’s on holidays I can’t stop from being reminded that its very unlikely I will ever again have all of them on the same continent at the same time, let alone the same long/lat.
I should never ever have raised those kids to be so danged independent and adventurous!

Besides, I was 2 days post op and couldn’t really dive into my usual highly anticipated and enjoyed kitchen frenzy, which left my holiday feeling a bit flat.

Much to be grateful nonetheless!

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 25, 2012, 9:00 am

Twenty plus years ago, John Louis Anderson wrote Scandinavian Humor, and other Myths. A book about growing up Lutheran in the Upper Midwest. In the chapter about Lutheran Food, he discusses the pot luck suppers Lutheran churches have in thier Fellowship Halls, which are catered by the Lutheran Ladies of the congregation. Casseroles, or as we call them here in Wisconsin and Minnesota, hot dishes, are the main course. Anderson had a list of those he had been served, my favorite beeing Turkey Lurkey Hoo-Hah! Alas, he did not list anything other than the names, so I had to make my own recipie for that magical sounding dish. My version of Turkey Lurkey Hoo-Hah! is quite simple, and is as follows.

You place a nice thick layer of mashe potatoes on a dish, and then cut up leftover turkey into medium sized chunks, and spread over the taters. Corn is the next layer, followed by stuffing. Gravy is then spread over the top, and it is nuked until it glows. Although, if you are patient, and want your meal to be almost sinfully tasty, make up the Hoo-Hah! in a skillet, and warm it up there, for some reason, lightly frying it makes a huge difference.

Serve with leftover, warmed up, Parker House rolls, leftover cranberry sauce, and a mug of hot apple cider for the beverage.

Enjoy the best way to deal with Thanksgiving leftovers on a cold November weekend!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 25, 2012, 5:45 pm

I took the liberty of fixing a couple of typos for you, there, Scott (one of which was pretty amusing).

I’ve just had the very last of the leftovers — turkey and cranberry sauce sammiches and a bit of warmed over sweet potato.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 26, 2012, 5:36 am

Thank you, you are most kind.

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: November 27, 2012, 2:15 am

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and plenty to be thankful for. We visited, ate, and a good time was had by all. Still, I do miss the Thanksgiving spread that my Mother used to make. Nothing fancy, just good home cooking and lots of it. And lovely leftovers……

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