… to all our readers, commenters, and fellow conspirators. And please be careful on the roads today and over the weekend. It is a foggy morning here in DC. Thanksgiving is the greatest American holiday – uniting a very loose sense of Providence and Bounty and Plenty, family and commonweal, the sharing of food and the breaking of bread, gratitude and humility, and a sense of place and connection to the land that is particularly American and not European.
I’ve sometimes tried to figure out what makes the connection to place different here than in Europe, and I suppose part of it is the shifting Western frontier, so that attachment to the land and place is also marked by a constant westward flow, often the same generation and families – Lincoln’s family, constantly moving from one hard scrabble farm to another. Or, of course, Huck Finn, lighting out for the Territories. And Shane. Immigration from abroad in waves, and internal migration, in waves such as the Okies to California in the Depression.
In Europe, there’s a sense of attachment to place and land that is about this village, this plot of land, this particular place, sometimes even a feudal feel to it. But in America many people moved around far more, so that the sense of place, for a lot of people, included a lot of different places in America. The Civil War had something to do with that, mixing up people across wide geographies, and it did indeed occur to Vermont boys that Illinois or further west would be a lot easier to plow. A people attached to the land, but also restless and shifting from place to place.
And of foods native to These Lands, turkey and corn and squashes and, if you come from where I come from, chilis and black beans. I plan to go to the gym, and then deal with two turkey breasts, which have been brining overnight. Nothing fancy, herbes de provence and olive oil and finished with lime zest and fresh lime juice and balsamic vinegar. The mashed potatoes … the potatoes have been soaking overnight in whisky, and I’ll steam them in the whisky, then mash with butter and cream and roasted garlic. Hence the trip to the gym. Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone.
(Thanks, Glenn, for the Instalanche! Thanksgiving night … Hmm … I see that comments somehow got nastily out of control while I was doing Thanksgiving … deleting the thread.)