Friday, November 25, 2005


America --

  • you can disagree with current politics
  • you can be bewildered by the way white collar workers feel the need to own fuel guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs
  • you can abhor tipping (I refer to the first comment to the "To Tip or Not To Tip" post)
But, we are eternally in their debt. Why? Because they invented Pecan Pie.

Southern Pecan PiePecan pie is the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert. We were lucky enough to be invited to an American family's home for Thanksgiving. A couple of days before, they phoned and asked us if we'd like to bring a pudding. Our initial thoughts were of banoffee pie -- a staple of students. However, one quick google search later, we decided that "Mamma's Southern Pecan Pie" seemed to be easy enough to have a shot at it -- so, off we went to Wal-Mart to buy the ingredients.

(As an aside:
If you come to the US, don't expect all Wal-Marts to have a supermarket element to them. The first time we went into a Wal-Mart it only sold junk food. However, we have one near us that is an enormous great place that sells everything. Oh, and the other thing is that Wal-Mart is basically Asda. Wal-Mart bought Asda a few years ago. One can tell because Wal-Mart has the "Rollback" marketing logo and George clothing.)

Mark made two pecan pies, which we took, along with a bottle of wine. It was a very relaxing affair -- our hosts had a down-to-earth lack of "standing on ceremony" which had the effect of immediately putting us at our ease. The turkey, mashed yams and other fare went down well, as did the pecan pie.

Pilgrims Land on Plymouth Rock
Shouldn't this be Nov/Dec, 1620? (Source)

The thing that struck me most about thanksgiving was its low-key nature. It is a haven from commercialism that falls between Halloween and Christmas, both of which have been commercially hijacked. Because there is no giving and receiving of presents or decorations involved, the best that the retail industry can manage is to have sales the next day.

Thanksgiving is a pure feast, a gathering of families and friends that is un-sullied by commercialism. Even if our ancestry does not date back to the Mayflower Pilgrims, a feast that encourages us to reflect and give thanks for all that is good in our lives has to be a good thing.

If you want to find out more about what Thanksgiving is celebrating and the history of the feast, here's a few good links:
Plymouth Plantation
The History of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Traditions

December 02, 2005

In light of Leon's point that this account of my first Thanksgiving in the USA gave it a rather "pure" slant, here's a Native American viewpoint to provide some sense of balance (I came across the link on SinnaLuvva's blog).


Leon said...

Love your Thanksgiving article, but Thanksgiving isn't as pure as you make it seem. Remember its dark past-an entire people was almost exterminated because of those greedy Pilgrims. My blog has a Thanksgiving article that I know you'll like.

Viola said...

Thanks Leon.

You're quite right, my take is rather rosy and simple. I have been aware of the issues you mentioned in your blog, but not reported on them mainly because this was mainly an account of my first experience of an American Thanksgiving. I enjoyed reading it -- you have an easy to read style.

I heard of the turkey pardoning in an episode of The West Wing, wherein the President (Martin Sheen) has to choose which turkey to pardon.