The writer discovers that preparing and partaking in a Thanksgiving spread can be a meaningful time together with family and friends.
“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” – W.T. Purkiser
I’VE always loved festivals like Christmas, and also Thanksgiving, which I wish was more widely celebrated in Malaysia. Not only is it a time, as the year comes to a close, to pause and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for and accomplished during the year and to prepare our goals for the following year, and a wonderful time to spend with family and friends, but it’s also when some of my favourite dishes are prepared and served. Besides, thankfulness is a quality that is often taken for granted, and we often need days like this to remind us to be thankful!
Thanksgiving is celebrated mainly in North America, on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and the second Monday of October in Canada. It originated as a day of giving thanks for a good harvest during the year, and although it historically has its roots in religious and cultural traditions, it is now also celebrated in a secular manner and is a public holiday in both the United States and Canada. To a lesser extent, the celebration is also observed in other countries.
I’ve always wondered why the dates for the celebration were earlier in Canada than in the United States, and discovered that this is because Canada is further up north and winters come earlier, hence, the harvesting season ends earlier, and the thanksgiving comes earlier.
This year, Thanksgiving was held on Oct 14 in Canada, and I had the privilege of not only celebrating a true Canadian Thanksgiving at my cousin’s home in Canada, but also helping to prepare it together with her family.
I discovered that while each family has its own unique traditions for Thanksgiving, there are certain aspects that are similar: it is a time for the family to get together over a specially-prepared sit-down meal that usually involves roast turkey and stuffing. And this is usually served with gravy and homemade cranberry sauce. For desserts, there is always pumpkin pie, among others.
For the sides, there are steamed or boiled vegetables like green beans, cauliflower and broccoli, often served with cheese sauce. Sometimes there are also roasted vegetables like butternut and acorn squash and “smashed” or mashed potatoes, or variations prepared with exotic additions like goat’s cheese and chives.
As with most festivals, preparations start the night before with the turkey stuffing which is my favourite item in the meal. In fact, I have to admit that I enjoy this even more han the turkey! After we got home from a night out, my cousin, her friend and I prepared to dice and mix all the ingredients together, and leave it overnight to soak in the flavour.
For golden moments: The table decked out in the colours of fall.
It looks quite a feast when the spread is all laid out on the side table.