Particular Passions

Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times


Lynn GilbertComment

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it" — William Arthur Ward

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has been an official annual tradition since 1863 during the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that day, a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Thanksgiving is an occasion that families all over America look forward to. It is one of three major annual holidays, along with Christmas and New Year, but Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday, is a time when families all over America make a supreme effort to celebrate …together. As a matter of fact we can’t wait, packing air and highways, in a relentless game of musical chairs, but in planes, trains, cars, and buses. Over 400 years ago the Pilgrims had reason to give thanks. Today, we also have reasons to give thanks ….but proximity, when we finally arrive at that haloed destination, does bring out latent stress…. sometimes in ten minutes. Three days…I don’t think so. …


“The feast for "The First Thanksgiving," in 1621 contained turkey, waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Many of these foods, except seafood have gone on to become staples of the modern Thanksgiving dinner.

At one time, the turkey and the bald eagle were each considered as the national symbol of America. Benjamin Franklin was one of those who argued passionately on behalf of the turkey. Franklin felt the turkey, although "vain and silly", was a better choice than the bald eagle, whom he felt was "a coward." “ www.Infoplease


“There are a number of explanations for the origin of the name of Thanksgiving's favorite dinner guest. Christopher Columbus thought that the land he discovered was connected to India, and the bird he discovered, the turkey, was a type of peacock, which it actually was. He therefore called it 'tuka,' which is 'peacock' in Tamil, an Indian language. The Native American name for turkey is 'firkee.'’ However the noise "turk, turk, turk" a turkey makes when it is scared might be a simpler answer for it’s name.” www.Infoplease

When it comes to the taste of a Turkey, age is a determining factor. Old, large males are preferable to young toms (males) as tom meat is stringy. The opposite is true for females: old hens are tougher birds.” www.Infoplease

Men, human ones, don’t find old hens, human ones, particularly desirable either, and as a result it keeps plastic surgeons in business who can then load up plenty of Thanksgiving Turkey on their holiday tables.

Now down to hard facts: “In 2011, more than 248 million turkeys were raised with an average live weight per bird of 28 pounds with nearly 6 billion pounds of turkey processed. By contrast, in 1970, only 105 million birds were raised with an average live weight of 17 pounds and 1.5 billion pounds processed. The turkeys produced in 2010 together were valued at $4.37 billion.” - Summary www.infoplease

Whether you prepare traditional old family recipes, great cuisine, or serve from the extraordinary range of the ubiquitous take-out food, the meal is pre-packaged with another tradition…football. “Dating back to 1876, Yale and Princeton, began playing football against each other. By the time the game had become a professional event, playing on Thanksgiving had already become an institution” - summary Wikipedia


“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Halftimes take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence. “ - Erma Bombeck