Thanksgiving Day Reads

Good Morning!!

I hope everyone will have a wonderful Thanksgiving, wherever you are and whomever you’re with. Enjoy being with family and friends; but whatever you do, I’m sure you know not to bring up politics. It never ends well. If you happen to take a minute today to stop by Sky Dancing blog, please leave a comment or two–and it’s always okay to discuss politics here.

Let’s see if I can find a little news out there . . . .

A couple of pundits have offered advice for those who just can’t resist talking about politics at the holiday dinner table. First up, my second least favorite libertarian writer of all time (after Glenn Greenwald), Conor Friedersdorf offers “ten unsatisfying rules for disagreeing with friends and family over the holidays,” based on a post by Kevin Drum:

But if you must talk politics, how should it be done? A lefty writer I follow is giving the subject some thought. “Every year there’s a spate of blog/magazine pieces about how to discuss the political hot potato du jour with your crazy right-wing relatives at Thanksgiving,” Kevin Drum writes at Mother Jones. “And every year they’re fake. Mostly they provide stock liberal responses to imaginary conservative talking points.” (For conservatives, the worry is how to talk with left-wing relatives.)

Really? So glad you explained that, Conor. Anyway, here are his rules:

1. Be open to the possibility that you’re wrong. Seriously.

2. Approach the conversation with the purpose of better understanding one another’s views, not proving to your relative that you are right and they are wrong.

3. Before you focus on any point of disagreement, ask questions of your interlocutor to figure out why they think the way they do about the subject at hand.

4. Emphasize points of agreement, if there are any.

5. Give them room to agree with your arguments without having to concede that their arguments are stupid, or feeling as if they’ve lost the exchange and you’ve won.

6. Rather than harping on a particular flaw in their preferred policy, ask questions that force them to confront it. “I agree, killing all the sharks would make it safer for surfers. But what about the creatures that sharks eat? How would you make sure their populations don’t explode? Seriously, how would you handle that?”

7. Don’t bother trying to score debating points, especially when you both know that’s all they are.

8. Remember that they know stuff that you don’t, just as you know stuff that they don’t.

9. Remember that lots of intelligent, good-hearted people share their position, and lots of dense jerks share your position, because that’s true of almost every position.

10. Listen more than you talk.

While reading that, I had a flashback to the time when my Mom and Dad and I had a screaming argument with two of my uncles over the war in Vietnam (my husband was serving over there at the time) and one of my aunts tried unsuccessfully to get everyone to calm down. And then there was the time I when to my in-laws’ for Thanksgiving and my husband’s (second husband) grandparents sat in front of the TV discussing how there were so many “coloreds” playing football these days….

Here’s some advice from John Fugelsang: Tell conservative relatives Thanksgiving ‘invented socialism for undocumented immigrants’

Comedian John Fugelsang had some advice for progressives dealing with conservative relatives at the Thanksgiving table this year, telling MSNBC host Ed Schultz that it takes a hearty helping of facts to minimize political squabbles.

“I think you might just want to blow their minds, Ed, and say that back at the first Thanksgiving, when the Wampanoag fed the Pilgrims, they didn’t know it, but they had just invented socialism for undocumented immigrants,” Fugelsang said. “Then they’ll spend the rest of the night trying to process that.”

While admitting that keeping the peace can be difficult in a family setting (“You’ve got your Obamacare-hating uncle, you’ve got your NRA uncle, you’ve got your gay for Reagan uncle, you’ve got your uncle who uses ‘Benghazi’ as a verb”), Fugelsang said one way to defuse arguments over the Affordable Care Act is to advocate for a single-payer alternative, while reminding the family that President Barack Obama implemented a plan originally used by a Republican governor in Mitt Romney and upheld by a conservative-heavy Supreme Court.

“When you get to Obamacare, the main thing to remember when that particular uncle or brother-in-law tries to goad you into some kind of fight, the only way you win is if you leave Thanksgiving and everyone loves each other,” Fugelsang told Schultz. “You’ve gotta be the liberal, you’ve gotta be the good guy, you’ve gotta be the peacemaker, you’ve gotta go full-on Jimmy Carter.”

Or you could be a scrooge like me and have a nice, peaceful, solitary day at home reading any old book you choose or even watching old horror DVDs and eating something other than turkey and stuffing.

Humorist and food writer Calvin Trillin for years campaigned to make spaghetti carbonara the official Thanksgiving dish. I found his recommendations on-line “shamelessly excerpted” from his book Third Helpings.

I have been campaigning to have the national Thanksgiving dish changed from turkey to spaghetti carbonara.

It does not take much historical research to uncover the fact that nobody knows if the Pilgrims really ate turkey at the first Thanksgiving dinner.  The only thing we know for sure about what the Pilgrims ate is that it couldn’t have tasted very good.  Even today, well brought-up English girls are taught by their mothers to boil all veggies for at least a month and a half, just in case one of the dinner guests turns up without  his teeth… (It is certainly unfair to say that the English lack both  a cuisine and a sense of humor:  their cooking is a joke in itself.) Find out what is missing in your kitchen and you are going to love your food after you finish reading.

It would also not require much digging to discover that Christopher Columbus, the man who may have brought linguine with clam sauce to this continent, was from Genoa, and obviously would have sooner acknowledged that the world was shaped like an isosceles triangle than to have eaten the sort of things that the English Puritans ate.  Righting an ancient wrong against Columbus, a great man who certainly did not come all this way only to have a city in Ohio named after him, would be a serious historical contribution.  Also, I happen to love spaghetti carbonara.

Read the rest at the link. Or if you eat Kosher, try this: A Thanksgiving Pasta Inspired by Roman Jews: Calvin Trillin’s Thanksgiving Spaghetti alla Carbonara gets a kosher makeover.

It’s been 32 years since Calvin Trillin’s famous proposal, in the New Yorker, that Spaghetti alla Carbonara replace turkey as our national Thanksgiving dish. After all, Trillin argued, the Indians could have brought it to that first Thanksgiving dinner (their ancestors having learned how to make it from Christopher Columbus).

In the intervening years, the Carbonaristas have not abandoned the cause. Last Thanksgiving, the New York Timespublished Ian Fisher’s account of attempting to master this seemingly simple Roman dish, which, at its most basic—and therefore, its best—involves a sauce of eggs enhanced with some form of bacon (usually guanciale or pancetta), and, on top of that, Pecorino Romano cheese.

Which means it’s off-limits even to the most devout Trillin followers if they also follow Jewish dietary laws. So definitely not kosher for Thanksgiving, especially this year, when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah align for an Age of Aquarius moment of unprecedented commercial and culinary creativity.

In the spirit of Thanksgivukkuh, therefore, I propose Spaghetti alla Carbonara alla Giudea (Jewish-style), an actual dish now offered in some of the kosher and ‘kosher-style’ restaurants that have popped up in Rome’s Jewish ghetto neighborhood in recent years—the first new development in ages in the long and fruitful culinary relationship between Roman Jews and their neighbors.

More at the link.

I’ll leave you with a few news links in case you want a break from eating, arguing with relatives and watching football:

Think Progress: Five People Obama Could Pardon In Addition To The Turkey

Raw Story: Mike Huckabee labels Lara Logan a ‘hero journalist’ for discredited Benghazi report

Christian Science Monitor: New ‘little tiger cat’ species found in Brazil

NBC News: Pizza Hut reinstates manager fired after refusing to open Thanksgiving Why covering Black Friday isn’t as much fun as it used to be

BBC News: Iran nuclear crisis: UN experts invited to Arak plant

Calvin Trillin at The New Yorker: MOZZARELLA STORY

Take care everyone, and have a terrific holiday!!

22 Comments on “Thanksgiving Day Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Take care everyone. I’m grateful for all of you!

  2. Fannie says:

    Happy Thanksgiving across this country to my Sky Dancers, I hope your platter is full of turkey, or spaghetti carbonara, or stuffing, or a snow cake.

    I started by morning with my coffee, and reaching for my Mom’s old sugar bowl (the one she brought at Bell Super Market, in New Orleans, 1950’s). They I grabbed up the biscuit bowl, and have a dozen ready for the table, along with the traditional buns. I love oyster and cornbread stuffing (no one else does), it would be unthinkable if I didn’t prepare my traditional stuffing the night before, ready to stuff Jennie O. My mother showed me a trick I use every year:
    Boil water in your largest sauce pan, and clean your bird. Pour the water all over, and watch the skin tighten up. Butter and salt the bird, and stuff it, and sew it all tight.

    My granddaughter Bella, has been been in the kitchen, learning to do pies (pumpkin & apple), and pumpkin rolls, and fudge. She refused to go home yesterday, telling her mother, that the next morning I needed help. I am of the old school, I don’t need machines to do my work, I labor with my hands. And I pound, and pinch………Bella laughs at my ways to prepare the food, and to cook it. She’s rather pinch than wash the dishes………..I suppose I will be held accountable for all the work that will go into our dinner, but I do keep my rolling pin real handy if someone goes off their handle.

    I hope to get out and walk in the sunshine, it’s going to be a nice day. Luv to all my sweet dancers.

  3. janicen says:

    I’ve been cooking and cleaning and shopping over the past week in anticipation of the arrival of our traditional family guests from out of town. They usually stay two days and my family and I exhaust ourselves entertaining them. But we enjoy it. It’s fun. Well, they called YESTERDAY and said they could not make it. The excuse is weak. I’m pretty fucking pissed because I had ordered a fresh, heirloom turkey from Whole Foods and I was stuck for it because I didn’t give 24 hours notice to cancel the order, not to mention the foods I’ve already prepared.

    This disaster has turned out to be the greatest blessing in disguise. After I got the call yesterday and my initial disappointment and hurt passed, I spoke with a friend of mine who has a big family and by the way, she is just getting over pneumonia. She invited us to bring the food we have and join them. They live close by and are delightful people. I’m helping them by providing stuff they would have had to buy that I had already bought. They have had some employment gaps recently so we dropped off a bunch of food and ingredients for them yesterday, and we will take more dishes and a case of wine and join them for dinner today. They don’t need my turkey, but we picked it up and I intend to cut it up and roast the parts and freeze some and send some back with my daughter when she goes back to school.

    I’m relaxing and typing this rather than running around like an idiot preparing a huge meal for people who don’t appreciate it. Later today, we will be joining good friends for a traditional meal and then come back to a completely clean house. This may be one of my best Thanksgivings ever. I’m even going to head to the gym in a few minutes and get a workout in.

    Happy Thanksgiving Sky Dancers. I’m so grateful you all do what you do. Even if I don’t comment, I drop by every day and learn something from each and every one of you. Peace and joy to all of you.

    • bostonboomer says:

      What a great Thanksgiving day story! I hope you enjoy your time with your friends–and the heck with those people who cancelled. I hope they figure out something to be thankful for today also.

    • Mary Luke says:

      It sounds like a wonderful day, Janicen. And you even made it to the gym.

  4. NW Luna says:

    I am thankful I have the day off, and for my SkyDancer friends. I am thankful that I have chosen to not endure dinner with my wingnut, make-the-poor-suffer relatives. We will laze around the house and then go for a walk or maybe drive up to the pass for a couple of hours tromping in the snow. We’ll dress warmly for an outdoor picnic which includes homemade pumpkin custard (crusts — forget ’em!) made with eggnog, topped with chunks of candied ginger.

    The new little tiger cat or “tigrina” — I think I just found a name for my next cat, whenever that is 😉

    Everyone have a good day!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Sounds good! I’m glad I’m not the only one who decided to stay home and relax today. In fact, I just woke up from a long nap! How luxurious.

      Those cats are really cute! Too bad they aren’t domesticated.

  5. List of X says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and Hanukkah, if anyone here is celebrating.
    Most of the rules make sense, but my number one rule would be to try to avoid talking politics with immediate family.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too!! I’m lucky because my parents are/were liberals and so are most of my siblings. But my mom’s siblings were a mixed lot and her parents were right wing nuts.

      • List of X says:

        Well, I only have to go as far as my dad to get to the Tea Party. The funny thing is he’s not at all religious, so he doesn’t care about a lot of things in Tea Party agenda that are rooted in religion (dominionism, creationism, abortions) – but he’s very right-wing about Obama, guns, socialism and economy.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Hope you’re having a great day no matter what you are doing!!! The Sky Dancing family is always at the top of my list of blessings!

  7. dakinikat says:

    Here’s to the great Thanksgiving Massacre!!!

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Marissa Alexander, who was convicted in FL for shooting a warning shot during a dispute with her abusive husband, has been released from jail while she awaits a new trial in her stand your ground case.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Cats recognise their owners’ voices but never evolved to care, says study

    My cats sure care when it comes to hearing my voice say FOOOOODDDDD

    • NW Luna says:

      Mine come when I say “treat!” Also at some other times, so I think it depends on the cat and the circumstances.

      The study concludes by observing that “the behavioural aspect of cats that cause their owners to become attached to them are still undetermined.”

      Well! Obviously the authors don’t like purring and soft cuddly creatures.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t buy it. My cats came when I called. They’ll ignore you if they feel like it, but they get attached to their people.

    • List of X says:

      I can believe that. When we left our cat at my parents to go on vacation, she got very upset when we called through Skype and she heard our voices but she couldn’t see us.