Most Americans just engaged in the Thanksgiving ritual of turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Most of us don't cook those things on a regular basis, even though they're readily available. We may eat a turkey sandwich, but we all know lunch meat is a far cry from a turkey right out of the oven.
Maybe part of the reason is that the ritual of Thanksgiving - of pausing to give thanks with family and friends, taking time off from work, travelling to be with loved ones, preparing a feast for those we love - is connected with those particular foods. They're associated, and we don't want to diminish the impact of the Thanksgiving ritual by serving cranberry relish on an idle Tuesday.
Food has meaning far beyond the nourishment it provides. It is wrapped in tradition and few people turn down Grandma's special cake on their birthday, Mama's fried chicken at Sunday dinner, or a heaping plate of turkey on Thanksgiving. We connect with each other when our feet are under the same table.
My friend, Greg, coined the phrase a few years ago that a pie his mom made, "had love in it." He summed it up beautifully. Food made with the intention to provide sustenance and pleasure for those we care about always has the extra ingredient of love added in. No deli, bakery or grocery store is ever going to be able to provide the love. It can only be added to the food in one way - by the hand of someone who cares for you.
This Thanksgiving I was honored to be able to cook some of the Thanksgiving meal at Miss Joy's house (Greg's mom). It was really nice to participate in this time honored ritual. A day to pause, for national Thanksgiving, and to gather around our tables together, is an opportunity to share some love.