It’s sad that us American’s can take joyous celebrations and turn them into another reason to stress out. Bombarded by magazine covers of turkeys, tanned like they spent a week in the Bahamas, perfect pies, and complicated inventive recipes to try my favorite holiday becomes more like a task to be defeated than a time to be enjoyed. The message is the same across all media platforms how to have an impeccable Thanksgiving, the BEST holiday, stress free cooking (cooking should never be stressful).All this need for excellence is coupled with the general idea of “surviving your family” and “the worst travel day of the year” ( true, but both are manageable with some extra time and patience 😉 .If you thought I was going to show you how to make that delicious featured image meal, sorry! Next week is the biggest food holiday of the year and I will not tell you how to marinate, chop, cut, bake, or prep one thing. If you can’t do it now it’s too late! Leave it to the experts! I simply want to remind you to love.
If you don’t know how to cook this isn’t the time to learn by trying to create a 16-dish meal to impress your in-laws. Be kind to your spirit and soul. From time to time forget the world’s demands and indulge in your fantasies. Determine what drives you and stay in that vehicle, no matter how shiny and new someone else’s is.
Love your family.
Be grateful you have people that brought you into this world and haven’t taken you out (ha). People with whom you have a symbiotic relationship, together you grew through positivity and mistakes. It’s not a choice these people are wired to love you, even if they cannot express it fully. “Surviving your family” gave you the foundation to thrive in this world. So if distance isn’t a factor go just sit for a few hours and be grateful for that simple fact.
Love your friends.
Be thankful you are in control of the people you surround yourself with. You get to CHOOSE these people! Now that’s power. If a relationship becomes parasitic allow yourself to let it go but remember how they challenged you. Appreciate the people who make you laugh, let you cry, and tell you the truth. As an extension of you take pride in their accomplishments and celebrate their victories, no matter how small.
Love the world.
We are indebted to this place, beholden to the people who look and think differently than us, responsible for the big blue ocean to every tiny blade of grass, and obliged to the air we breath. We need each other’s talents to be shared (you didn’t invent plumbing and I bet you like taking showers), all voices to be heard (#alllivesmatter but if we don’t hear about those (typically browner) lost to systematic and senseless violence how can we push for change?). Loving the world means having enough strength in your own convictions that you are tolerant of other’s opinions. If you are strong within you know, with the exception of politicians, no one has the power to inflict their own views/choices upon you. This is why we must take pride in electing officials who genuinely love the world and have no personal agenda (ok, ok really idealistic). We need to do better.
Writing that paragraph about loving the world and understanding all the craziness happening right now has me sitting here pretty sad. Even this holiday that celebrates togetherness and gratefulness is marred by how the Pilgrims completely ruined the Natives afterwards. Despite the history there is nothing wrong with taking a day out to be completely thankful. There are a lot of stupid differently thinking people in the world.It is easy to get lost in the darkness but zombies accomplish nothing except eating people (uh, gross!). Instead of getting overwhelmed by negativity, I try to live the most fulfilling life I can. If I can love myself my light is that much brighter to share with my family, friends, and the world.
If you do happen to be tasked with the bulk of the Thanksgiving meal next week or if you are just making one dish to share, remember to add in love. I was just kidding about leaving it to experts by the way, you should try to contribute something. But before you even enter the kitchen I encourage you to write a “recipe” of thankfulness on real paper and hang it in a visible place. Set your ego and cynicism aside. Food is love and it starts from within. Good luck!
Kathleen, Kat, Chefleen’s Recipe of Thankfulness
1 C Me, Myself, and I (pureness of heart, honesty, sense of humor, loyalty, open-mindedness, independence, adventurous spirit)
-Self doubt and insensitivity removed
½ C Eileen O’Brien- mother- (wisdom, practicality, idealism)
½ C Keith Price-father – (creativity, work ethic, free spirit)
½ C Carolyn-sister- (humanity, goofiness,classiness)
Sift through friends and set aside to add in at proper times.
Combine in a bowl and let sit 17-18 years along the way adding in dashes of O’Brien and Price in the forms of Grandparents, Cousins, Uncles, and Aunts. Add melted Martinez. Mix in swim lessons, failed spelling bees, so much family camping, new shoes, leadership positions, amazing inspiring teachers, cooking, neighborhood kids, piano lessons, Costco, cats and dogs, my first car, high school sweetheart, school, and performing arts.
Bake for 4 years at UC Berkeley in Mass Communications oven in Pink and Green baking dish sprayed with “Living the ungrateful (but now extremely thankful) parents paying my way cooking spray).
At this point product will seem unfinished and lost in life, but I merely needed a change of cooking technique.
Fry in culinary school for 7 months. Keep cold for 2.5 years working for a famous family. Add sprinkles of new friends to the top. Every so often mist with Hollywood, Hennessy, beach, and paying (my own) rent.
If the refrigerator breaks, as mines did, send it to New York…
As silly as this “recipe” is the moment I began to write down things I became grateful as everything came into perspective. So don’t be mad if your spread doesn’t look like a magazine cover or your turkey is dry…be happy you even have turkey to eat! (here’s a good gravy recipe) Even in flaws I find freedom and I hope I have inspired you to do the same. Spread your unique kind of love, not just on this day but everyday! If things don’t go quite as planned for your holiday meal remember.