Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanks to the Cooks

I’m writing this the day after Thanksgiving, and I’ve been reflecting all day on the hours of service performed by all those who prepared the Thanksgiving feast for their particular partakers, whether it was family or community or institution.

As we drove the four miles to my daughter’s house yesterday carrying our offering of fruit salad, green salad, mustard sauce and three kinds of cream pies, we passed by several homes where people were carrying pots and boxes from the car to the house. I don’t know why, but I misted up when I saw it. There’s something so very basic about bringing food to share. The menu may be different, as historians are quick to tell us, but that was basically what happened on the first Thanksgiving, wasn’t it?

The small town I live in has a community Thanksgiving dinner at the local middle school. It’s not about serving the needy or homeless, it’s about celebrating the day as a community. It’s been a tradition for twenty-five years. The person in charge this year doesn’t even live here anymore, but he came back just to direct the volunteer force of a hundred who cooked twenty-eight turkeys, hundreds of pounds of potatoes and almost five hundred rolls. In addition to those who came to the cafeteria to eat, meals were taken to homebound community members. Those who could, made a donation to cover the cost of the food, but it wasn’t necessary to pay. One of the pastors of a local church lamented, however, that the needy and impoverished families didn’t come.

A neighboring town has several places where homeless and needy can eat a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings, and food banks put boxes together with all the ingredients to make a Thanksgiving feast for their clientele. For years, the youth of my ward made pies for the dinner done by the Lighthouse Mission, and they also did pies for the local food bank’s boxes. Click here to see the blog with instructions on how to set up a pie-making service project.

Since we moved from the farm and downsized, I don’t do the meat course any more, and I kind of miss the early morning quality time, just me and the turkey, as I wrestle it from refrigerator to sink and from sink to the roaster. We always had at least a twenty pound turkey and a houseful of people.

Whatever the food group: vegetable or grain or meat, it doesn’t prepare itself magically. Planning and preparation are necessary for a celebratory feast. Here’s thanks to those who invested the hours to wash, pare, roll, stir, chop, crimp, season, baste, bake, carve, garnish and serve our Thanksgiving feasts.

Return to the Neighborhood

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