What’s NOT on my Thanksgiving Menu

Live in thanksgiving daily… Book of Mormon, Alma 34:38

All right. Halloween is over, Christmas is on the way, and in-between the two comes Thanksgiving. I’m a bit fond of the day, actually. Gratitude is an important concept, and too often we overlook the important role it plays in our lives.

When we express our thanks for all we’ve received, we usually find ourselves receiving more in return. Funny how that works.

Conversely, if we fail to give thanks for our blessings, we often find good things coming into our lives much less often.

I have another reason for liking the Thanksgiving holiday. I was born on Thanksgiving.  Whenever people inquire as to my “sign”, I’ve quickly tell them that I was born under the sign of the Turkey. It’s always fun to see their confused expressions. No, folks, there really isn’t a “turkey” constellation.


Because of my birth date, well-meaning relatives somehow assumed that I would have a special preference for anything associated with the holiday. Like pumpkin pie. Growing up, over and over, I heard aunts, great-aunts, and even my own grandfather remark on how much I loved pumpkin pie. It was clearly my favorite according to them.

Guess what? Pumpkin pie is all right, but it was never my favorite. My favorite pie is blueberry. Next comes peach. Then apple. Banana cream. Chocolate cream. Then we get to pumpkin. With real whipped cream.

It was also assumed that I loved stuffing, turkey, cranberries, and sweet potatoes. I do confess I like stuffing now and then, and I do make mine with cranberries, but given a choice, I’ll take good, old-fashioned mashed potatoes every time. And sweet potatoes? Yummy as fries with hot, spicy seasoning, but that marshmallow goop? Or those other syrupy, sweet concoctions? Thanks, but, no, thanks.  I do like turkey, and it’s a healthy alternative to other meats, so yes, we eat a lot of turkey here — usually in the form of turkey burgers. And a turkey sandwich with lettuce and a milk glass of milk to go with it…yeah, I like that. Unfortunately to get a good turkey sandwich, I have to roast an entire turkey, and that’s a lot of bother.

For many years, I went ahead and served a lot of the traditional Thanksgiving fare.  Roast turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, corn, cranberries, and yes, pumpkin pie. For the record, I drew the line and refused to have anything to do with that popular green bean casserole recipe or any recipe combining marshmallows with root vegetables.

This year, I’m planning a different menu. I’m going to serve a nicely-glazed ham. We’ll have potatoes, of course, and probably green beans. But no stuffing. No cranberries. And no pumpkin pies. Dessert, I think, will be vanilla ice cream. Maybe a few chocolate sprinkles.

Someone will probably complain that it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving. I’ll just remind them that Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude…and they ought to be glad they’re getting a meal.

Really, all joking aside, it’s not the food that matters on Thanksgiving. It’s the family, the friends, the fun, the festive atmosphere. It’s joining together, holding hands, saying a prayer. It’s looking around, seeing how much we’ve been given, and truly feeling a spirit of Thanksgiving.


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