Monthly Archives: November 2020

Thanksgiving Thoughts


Now it stands to reason that a cooking nonconformist such as myself would not be enthused about a holiday which is grounded in what goes on the table for one, all-encompassing meal. But my inability to baste a turkey is only the beginning of my objections to the holiday.

Now, this holiday is supposed to originate from the gathering of Indians and Pilgrims at a harvest feast to give thanks. I like that premise, but the longer history haters dig into it, the more we find that the gathering didn’t happen exactly as it was presented, but the foundation was good: we should be thankful for what we have.

My objection comes from the fact that we should always be thankful, rather than reserving one day a year for it. In addition, I think a better premise for it might be to do as John Steinbeck instructs us to in The Grapes of Wrath: help each other regardless of what we have. I wonder if sometimes God holds his head on Thanksgiving and says, “Okay, okay, so you’re thankful for your BMW and your vacation home on Maui. Now go out and feed a homeless person or house a refugee!” (Disclaimer: God has not actually told me this is what He thinks; it is merely my opinion.)

Of course, my biggest problem with Thanksgiving is the food. I could handle the hundreds of side dishes (spare me the green bean casserole, please), but the turkey has become a lethal weapon. It wasn’t bad enough that we had to rise before the sun was up or the chickens crowed to put the bird in the oven to rest quietly while we couldn’t. Now, we risk our lives by trying to deep fry the thing whole. If the fryer doesn’t blow up or catch fire, we are still risking cardiac arrest devouring all that deep-fried poultry! What has the world come to?

Thanksgiving’s location also causes me angst. I think every student in America would tell you a better location might be the end of May, celebrating school being out. And before you tell me that’s too close to Memorial Day, consider its location now. You are still drying out the bread for the Thanksgiving stuffing, when they start playing that Hershey’s Kisses commercial where they form a Christmas bell and chime out We Wish You a Merry Christmas. At least on Memorial Day, they could use a good meal after honoring our glorious dead. With Christmas so hard on the heels of Thanksgiving, we are in a two-month orgy of non-stop foods that will undo the hard work we do to care for our bodies the other ten months! No wonder January is such a big month for health clubs and exercise equipment!

Thanksgiving placed where it is also signals the official beginning of the shopping season. Black Friday hits like a punch between the eyes and every year (okay, maybe not so much this one), people will stand in cold lines waiting for stores to open early so that can get a deal on appliances they don’t need and Christmas trivia that will disappear before another year rolls around. We are still picking the turkey out of our teeth when we are bombarded with the heartfelt tearjerker commercials for everything from refrigerators to cars to coffee. And don’t even start me on the Christmas movies which start long before Thanksgiving and run non-stop on the same script…different names!

With all due respect to the turkey and the thanks and the family gatherings, I really can’t seem to raise much enthusiasm for the November notion of Thanksgiving. Let’s just remember to give thanks all year round and I think the original harvest gatherers will understand and a turkey will definitely thank you for it!

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Messing with my steak

Photo by Jacob Moseholt on

I realize that I have been on a bit of a roll when it comes to the subject of cows, but this is a subject on which I feel as though I’m a bit of an expert…some of my earliest neighbors were cows.

I am slowly coming to the realization that cows, lately touted as the new hugging posts, are becoming endangered as a food source. Now, this is a situation I simply cannot endure! While I prefer a piece of beef to be a little less rare than the one in the picture, I believe I may too old and too engrained in the cow culture to ever accept a substitute. I mean, we have fake Christmas trees, fake materials and even fake boobs; who decided to mess with a carnivore and her meat????

Well, I can tell them right now, it’s not going to work. A “plant-based hamburger” is nothing more than the dreaded brussel sprouts in disguise. I don’t care if you put it between two pieces of bread, smother it in ketchup and onions and pay me a thousand bucks to eat it, the fake meat will still be fake. I will not sell my bovine integrity; I don’t care how authentic this stuff tastes.

And what’s to become of cows if we do this? Their sense of identity and life’s purpose would be gone. I know, I know, they end up in the slaughterhouse, but ask yourself, where would they go instead? Should we send them to college and let them be lawyers? On second thought, let’s make them politicians; they couldn’t do worse than what we have now!

Seriously, though, if we all start eating fake meat and we only need a few cows for the whole hugging thing, what do the rest of them do? Are they going to be hotel maids or road construction workers or worst of all, short order cooks, grilling up the very thing that took away their reason to exist? We will have to set up hotlines to handle all the emotional problems this would bring on.

History is full of sad tales of displaced persons due to some new invention or idea. Will all the cows start living in cardboard boxes on the street, begging for hay from passers- by who are stuffing themselves with fake burgers? Perhaps there will be a huge migration–or cattle drive, if you like–of cows, headed to Canada and Mexico, praying they haven’t of this “faux-meat” craze.

And what kind of scary trend would this start? Could pork chops and chicken legs be the next to go? I can’t imagine frying up the fake bacon (and I know it’s out there) to go with my authentic eggs in the morning. Wait a minute, they have fake eggs, too, don’t they??? It’s an epidemic!

All right, it is nearly Thanksgiving at which I can only hope that people will be eating authentic turkeys, but we must protect ourselves. I say we don’t buy any turkey that we don’t have a complete dossier on! Let them prove they have a right to lay, crisply roasted on our holiday tables!

So cows, arise, take back your right to clog the human arteries with a finely ground hamburger or a steak dripping with grease. For all of you bovines out there who aren’t taking this seriously, think about it: that’s probably what happened to all of those buggies out there, who didn’t see the danger when cars showed up. Somebody do something quickly and all of you out there–eat a hamburger; a cow somewhere will thank you–I think!

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Showing off for neighbors

Photo by Valeriia Miller on

Sometimes I really enjoy the little jokes that life tends to play on us, recognizing the irony of some things and appreciating the humor in others. That is how I spend most weeks of my life….but not this week. This week, life’s little ironies got to be a bit much and it culminated in me flashing the neighbors.

It began with small things. I drove to the bank to make a withdrawal. Although I was at the drive-through, I had left my mask on without thinking. The clerk looked at me in a rather considering manner and it suddenly occurred to me that a person in a mask approaching a teller at the bank in the past had usually resulted in that bank teller pressing the secret panic button to alert the police about a bank robbery. I quickly stripped off the mask, but I wondered: what do people going into the bank do? It would be a bank robber’s dream!

It built as the week went on. I got the notion to do some baking to send to my children. Now, I am not much of a cook, but I can swing a passable banana bread and chocolate chip cookies are in my repertoire, so I baked them. Never mind that my children are capable of making them better than I; never mind that the cost of mailing them out to them would be far more than the value of the food, I plowed forward. I had the bread in the oven baking and so I started on the procedure to mix up the cookies.

Just as I dumped in the chips and began the arduous task of stirring, my innate gracefulness caused me to tip the whole works over on the floor. It was at this point that I realized I should have put my energy into cleaning the floor, because the number of chocolate chips in the cookies didn’t outweigh the number of dust bunnies, random food bits and other things I’d rather not identify that folded right in. Cookie dough went into the garbage and bread was mailed out, before I could ruin that, too.

If you’re wondering about the photo I chose, it refers to my walk through the countryside this morning. This, too, was one of life’s little jokes as the wind was blowing hurricane level — this picture was what came up when I requested a photo of someone walking in a high wind. The walking with the wind wasn’t too bad and I walked my usual amount, not thinking about the walk back. The photo does not in any way capture the agony of walking the distance back, however, into a high wind complete with field scraps, dirt and gravel blowing into your teeth. I know the walk was twice as far coming back!

Now I suppose you’re wondering how this could possibly have led to my flashing the neighbors, but I’m getting to that. It starts with my love of shirts that have elastic necklines and cute little ties with fancy knots tied into the ends of them. My problem comes in when I leave the ties hanging instead of tying them into a pretty bow.

I was hauling groceries into the house on Saturday and it was an arduous task. When I got to the end of it, you all know that moment when you’re sure that you can get all of it in with a final load. I leaned in, grabbed all of the remaining bags in the trunk, came out of the garage and dragged up the steps. It was after I got inside the house that I realized that my hanging blouse ties had been caught in the heavy bags. I had walked out of the garage into the house with my elasticized blouse pulled down around my waist.

The police never showed up, so I can assume that no one called the authorities to report a pervert exposing herself. Either they didn’t see it, or they couldn’t believe their eyes when they did and would rather not admit that they looked at something so offensive! In either case, I’m grateful!

This caps my week of little jokes and ironies and an attempt at commiting a felony (or is that a misdemeanor?). I am hoping that next week is a little more straightforward, but I make no promises…perhaps the neighbors should keep their shades drawn?

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Howling Halloween

Okay, so I am not a Halloween girl. I don’t understand why, because everyone around me seems to be Halloween crazy, dressing in matching costumes, trussing up the housepets in decor and hitting the decoration and trick-or-treating traditions with enthusiasm.

For me, Halloween means two things: carving a pumpkin and finding something clever for a costume. These are things at which I do not excel. I put a picture on this blog to show you my pumpkin carving this year, which did turn out well, but it is the result of years of poor cutting, candles doused in wet pumpkins and slices in my hands, while the people around me are carving portraits worthy of hanging in the Louvre. By the time I have carved the pumpkin, I am having vicious thoughts about baking it in the oven the next day and scooping out its insides!

Costumes are so much worse. It doesn’t help that my own children can come up with beautiful and dramatic costumes that make them look even better than their normal beautiful and dramatic appearances. They find wonderful couple costumes and as for my grandsons, they are outstanding!

Then there is me. I have pasted papers on myself and gone as my doctorate dissertation. I own a Renaissance dress, but I spend most of my time in that elegant thing bowing down, because I stepped on the draping skirts. I’m convinced that those dresses are how Renaissance men kept Renaissance women from getting too far!

As a teacher, I thought it would be clever one year to go as a witch. I dressed in the black robe, pointed black hat and carried a broom. As the students walked in, they looked me up and down and remarked, “Oh, too bad, Mrs. Fauth; couldn’t find a costume, huh?” It was my last year to dress up for Halloween at school.

This year, however, I was heavy on the costumes. I had two separate costumes and both related to movies. Due to my own cleverness and grace, my nose and the front step duked it out the other morning. I have a slightly swollen nose and a cut right on the bridge of it, along with a black eye. When I went to school and the kids set up their usual complaint that I wasn’t in costume, I pointed to my face and said, “Wrong! I came today as Rocky Balboa after he won the heavyweight championship!”

By the next day, my nose, deeply offended by having stopped my fall on the stairs, began to drip constantly, forcing me to permanently have a handkerchief held up to my bruised face. Who am I? Of course, I am Michael Corleone after the police captain punched him in the face! Don’t tell me I don’t know how to costume!

The good thing about Halloween is that it’s over now and I have the jack-o-lantern ground up and canned already, so I can make pies for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving…now there’s a holiday I can get behind; as long as I’m doing more eating than cooking….

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