Wittier Word Weavers

Writers' Club of Whittier

Thanksgiving is…



…fighting over2014 HB iPhone 849 the Holiday’s menu.

He wants to preserve the traditional dinner menu: turkey and roast beef, corn bread, pumpkin bread, green bean casserole, nut-berries salad, yam and mash potato, brownies, and three kinds of pies. It was well-rehearsed and fool proofed, mind you.

I want to try a brand new line of homemade concoctions that I recently assemble, inspired by a dozen cooking sites and Pinterest photos which I successfully “clipped”, incorporated into a three-course menu, complete with a comprehensive shopping list through the use of a cool site, Plan To Eat.

I imagine myself the successful hostess presiding over half a dozen long tables in coordinated tablecloths and skirts, each with a child-height center piece made from the flowers and grasses cut from our yard, each lavishly decorated and sumptuously decked with gourmet foods that not only look gorgeous and appetizing but also tasting delicious and surely generating a collective “Oooh” and “Ahhs” when the first bites are taken.

My side dishes will be pieces of arts, with artistically carved pieces of vegetable and fruits that are low salt and glucose-free, and no fat. No preservatives. No dyes. No artificial anything. All lovingly assembled by hand and if cooking is required, it will be done on the stove top or baked in traditional oven, not the microwave. No zapping. No zinging. Only licking with sanitized, oily but germ-free fingers.

My main dishes will be the same as his: turkey and beef, without which Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving. The vulgar-looking bird: big as a little pig, plain- and coarse feathered as the corpse devouring vultures doesn’t even sing or soar. It did not even originate from the New World; hence the name, I was once told. So what’s the big deal? I guess history is always filled with obscure deals like our turkey tradition. My turkey tradition? Since when do I have a turkey tradition? You see, it’s confusing!

Yet Thanksgiving is the season for loving couples to fight over dinner menus. The turkey is sure to get its central place, and the beef. Besides that, it’s war time. He wants to add tamales. “Made from scratch?” She immediately retorts. “Oh no, you don’t! Over my dead body.”

He isn’t going to lose points. “Carved appetizers for over fifty guests, some of them Indians, the majority of them Vietnamese who eat nothing but catered homeland foods from Little Saigon, and some of them a mixture of half this and that, hardened American souls who would not know the difference between cilantro and parsley, a salad fork from a pickax, and laugh if you call for chutney masala to put on your roast beef?”

Thanksgiving is that tender moment when they will all sit down together as one family. Many will say Our Father to ask for grace. Some will murmur “Bismillah….” Yet many others can’t wait to start in a defiant silence, believers and nonbelievers notwithstanding. And the dinner will consist of a hotchpotch of dishes from recipes collected over past seasons and Pin-ned recently, brought by relativesor store bought.

Peace out and Happy Thanksgiving!

Author: Hong-My Basrai

Memoirist and author of Behind the Red Curtain, blogger, engineer, manager, mother of three and wife of one, etc. I am a bit of everything.

6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving is…

  1. I don’t care which of you wins this argument, it sounds adventurous and delicious either way. But I can’t help mentioning that turkeys ARE native to North America, even if their name isn’t, and wild turkeys (who haven’t been bred for dinner) can most definitely fly, though they don’t exactly soar. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/in-its-wild-form-that-funny-looking-turkey-can-fly-though-it-wont-get-very-far/2013/11/22/2163374e-4fdf-11e3-9e2c-e1d01116fd98_story.html

  2. oH, Cindy, my sweet curmudgeon, you always spoil the fun.
    I look up the origin of the turkey after your comment. And you won’t believe it either. It came from Asia. Now I do have a turkey tradition.
    Thanks for reading. Til the turkey soars,

  3. Hong-My: I love your family feud over tradition and which menu to pick up to satisfy all palates. It sounds so familiar. Our feud was over Catholic and Armenian Christmas and the problems thereof. Lent or fast? Fish and eggs or completely vegan? It happens in the best of families but you have a lovely way of describing the disputes of the season. I loved your UPS story too. It was hilarious! Did you think you were in Paris?

  4. Hong-My, I so enjoyed your Thanksgiving piece! Loved the description of the turkey: “The vulgar-looking bird: big as a little pig, plain- and coarse feathered as the corpse devouring vultures doesn’t even sing or soar. “


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