An Ode to Friendsgiving
The Friday Newsletter gathers around the table with the family we've made
Thanksgiving is upon us.
My wife and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, as we have the past few years. We’ve got the day down to a well-oiled machine; familiar recipes, familiar routines—a nice, quiet, relaxing time spent at home with family. I’ll start my preparations in earnest this weekend—I mean, if you’re not dry-brining your turkey for several days, are you even trying??—and I plan to talk more about our traditions and recipes in a post on Monday.
Today, though, I want to take a moment to appreciate a different kind of Thanksgiving.
I want to talk about Friendsgiving.
Now, I love seeing my family on holidays—unlike the pervasive stereotype, I find family Thanksgivings to be quite pleasant, and I get along well with my extended relations. There’s no yelling about politics or long-held petty grudges at our table.
Thanksgiving is special.
But Friendsgivings are special in their own way.
Perhaps you’ve celebrated one yourself. Perhaps you have one every year. Or perhaps you have no idea what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the other gatherings we have right around this time of year.These are the unofficial, non-league celebrations, the ones that may or may not happen on the fourth Thursday in November and are far from the tradition-bound affairs where Grandma’s stuffing recipe isn’t to be tinkered with. These are the dinners shared with the family you’ve chosen, and they can be every bit as important as the main event.
In my twenties, these were often clumsy, amateurish affairs, usually held the weekend before everyone departed for their respective homes. They wouldn’t have the polish or confidence of the dinners I cook now—learning to cook a turkey isn’t easy—but they were joyful affairs nonetheless, an appreciation of what might be the last time we’d all see each other before the holiday rush took over.
Later, when my wife and I first lived together in New York City and traveling back to our homes in the Midwest twice within a month became too costly, we started hosting Friendsgivings in our tiny apartment. We’d invite any friends who were stuck in town, far from their own family dinners, and work together to make the day special right where we were. We came to cherish these events, cozy little dinners where we figured it all out as we went.
That’s the vibe I’d like to channel today.
Friends, it’s Friday on The Action Cookbook Newsletter.
Every Friday, I share Seven Good Things that I think might improve your weekend, and today’s slate is all about Friendsgiving, with:
an easy-fancy appetizer!
a classy-simple cocktail!
joyful music, a fun book for a long drive, and a game for after dinner!
a new collaborative playlist, and more!
Welcome to the table; pull up a chair.