My mom was a single mom, raising my brother and me with no help. She worked as an Art Director at department stores back when there were lots of ‘em, with in-house Art Departments, and then later she worked at Advertising Agencies. It was a lot like "Mad Men" still, in the Nineteen Hundred and Seventies, except there was no justice like on "Mad Men," where the ladies win one every once in a while. My mom worked early, late and weekends.
So she didn’t have the time or the inclination to cook in the kitchen like Betty fucking Crocker, and she had never really learned to cook Home [...]
I definitely think Thanksgiving is better than Passover. Although the latter has the edge in terms of length, elaborateness and specificity of the ritual meal, the former pulls ahead with better food (despite lacking charoset), and none of that “thank you god for bringing us out of Egypt by your mighty hand” business.
I stopped going to synagogue in high school (other than weddings and bar/bat mizvahs—benei mitzvah for those of you who like proper Hebrew pluralizations, cause yeah, I still got it), stopped fasting for Yom Kippur in college and was never very good at a week without leavened bread, but it took me several years after that [...]
To me, Thanksgiving is as red-blooded an American holiday as there is. Food, football, uncomfortable family moments, and (most American of all) overindulgence. Thanksgivings of my youth added flavors of the American immigrant, inverting the classic Pilgrim-noble savage model.
Sure, we had all of the traditional dishes, lovingly prepared and fussed over. Especially Wild Turkey! But I’m first (and a half!) generation American, so ethnic food has always been a part of family celebrations for as long as I can remember. You already know about the Puerto Rican side of me. Here’s how the Latvian side of my family also holds a central place in any holiday.
The Ultimate Turducken Guide (Pictures! Video! Grossness!) -- #url#
Holidays are not a major part of my family's routine. There are a few reasons for this. First, there are only four of us, even fewer once you reach the first and second degrees of separation in our extended family, and those are all spread far afield, scattered across fly-over states, nestled in inland trailer parks and retirement communities. Second, none of us has any special proclivities toward religion. Third, we are busy. And fourth, we are lazy.
Christmas has always been simply an excuse to give presents. (When in middle school I expressed frustration at my Jewish friends' eight nights, eight freaking nights of presents versus our one [...]
When I say that I used to celebrate Thanksgiving by eating lentil loaf, most people need a moment to process the phrase. Thanksgiving lentil loaf? Should those words be next to each other? (I blame this reaction on the icky sound of the word "loaf," not anti-vegetarian bias, but who knows.)
My foray into meatlessness began in junior high, after a biology teacher slipped me a copy of Frances Moore Lappé's Diet for a Small Planet. To this day I'm not sure why she did that. Maybe she sensed my budding interest in economics, politics, the environment and intersections thereof. Maybe she figured I was already doing poorly with [...]