Pictoria – Forgotten holidays? BTW Happy Thanksgiving.


November 24, 2016

One of the hazards of being a long-term expat, without a family or local home country club or network, is losing touch with one's native holiday calendar. Today is Thanksgiving in the USA but I would not have remembered it except for the shopping publicity worming its way into my web surfing and, in particular this morning, being greeted by the well-written article of my colleague Peter Isackson, which looks at the history of the US feast of Thanksgiving from social, political, cultural and culinary aspects.

Peter's reflections are particularly astute when it comes to shedding light on the rather shadowed or perhaps shady aspects of the colonization of the North American continent. He looks squarely at the theology of the colonizers which wrote the ultimately imperialistic manifest destiny of the nation along with a number of starkly racist and exceptionalist outcomes. We are still seeing these reflected in today's media debates about the government transition and the identity challenges that we face in relating to and managing the current migrant surge.

On the culinary side, the article also reminded me of a major faux pas, the Fettnãpchen I stepped into when, one year in the early 1970s, it was my turn to host the family Thanksgiving feast. Having absolutely no taste for turkey personally, I decided on roast duck. This vastly disappointed my guests. It wasn't a matter of taste, as the canard was outstanding, but I had violated tradition and the expectations surrounding it. Push back was vociferous.

In any case I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, so be thankful for what is meaningful to you and to those celebrating with you, count your blessings, and enjoy each other's company...and bon appetit!

PS: One rarely thinks of undocumented Irish migrants, but... Here's a perspective.

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