Greetings From Thanksgiving Island
The Friday Newsletter is thinking about next Thursday.
I used to worry about Thanksgiving.
It’s one of my favorite days of the year—the Super Bowl of cooking and the World Series of regrettable eating, a holiday built on little more than good vibes and great food—but I felt it was at risk of being encroached on.
Christmas, the 800-pound gorilla of holidays, loomed over it, and every year it drew closer. Black Friday sales became midnight sales became Thanksgiving evening Christmas shopping. Stores started putting up decorations even before Thanksgiving. It seemed as though the best holiday of the year might be subsumed by the ever-expanding Yuletide creep. It wasn’t a War on Christmas; it was a War By Christmas.
I’ve realized something, though.
Thanksgiving can’t be subsumed, steamrolled or encroached upon. Thanksgiving is strong enough to survive, no matter what happens before or after it. Thanksgiving is an exclave, an island fortress, a midseason cup or an All-Star Game; it is a fully autonomous holiday happily oblivious to the elves and shoppers swarming past it.
With that in mind, I say let Christmas run free. Let it charge all the way through November until it smacks up against the wall of Halloween; that’s just more reason for us to bulk up Halloween, which is a good unto itself. In fact, if we’re going to persist with the nonsense of twice-yearly time changes, then I think Daylight Savings Time should end at midnight on Halloween; we can use the extra hour to put up our Christmas lights.
Thanksgiving will be fine. You cannot dislodge its place on the calendar, you cannot commercialize its core. You cannot destroy the indestructible holiday. Thanksgiving rocks, and Thanksgiving does not need my help.
But perhaps you do?
7) The Best Part of Waking Up
We don’t mess with Thanksgiving dinner around here. Our dinner menu is very traditional—roast turkey, sausage-and-sage stuffing, dairy-laden mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, pie. Surely you have your own well-defined traditions—perhaps you include mac and cheese or sweet potatoes or ham or Waldorf salad: I’d love to hear what’s traditional in your household.
The point is, short of my highly-recommended foray into Spicy Cranberry Sauce, I don’t experiment much for Thanksgiving dinner, and I suspect you don’t either.
But, there’s room for more than one meal that day, you know.
Breakfast on Thanksgiving can be a neglected afterthought, and it shouldn’t be. You wouldn’t run a marathon without stretching1, take a test without studying2, or start a rookie pitcher in Game One of the World Series3, now, would you?
Of course not. You need to warm up.
You need the Breakfast Bundt.
It’s a delicious, crowd-pleasing dish that gets Thanksgiving kicked off right; something to snack on while you watch the parade or the dog show, something to fill you up for a backyard football game, Turkey Trot or simply a long day in the kitchen. It’s also a perfect thing to bring to a Friendsgiving or office potluck, or to have up your sleeve for the Saturday after.
Best of all, it hardly requires any work at all.