I was recently surprised to hear a friend tell me that she does not celebrate Thanksgiving. We were schmoozing over coffee and I asked about her plans for the day. She ticked off the usual expected items like: sleeping late, eating breakfast in pajamas, watching football, etc. I did not hear any mention of turkey or family and friends coming over. So I mentioned it. "Oh, I don't celebrate Thanksgiving," she said. When asked why, she replied, "well, it is not a Chag." I should mention that my friend is a modern orthodox Jew.
This is not the first time I have heard this. When SHALLOTS, my first restaurant, was on Clark Street, we offered a Thanksgiving Day menu complete with turkey and all the trimmings. A regular customer came in and was extremely upset that they were not able to order from the regular menu. I told him that we were featuring a holiday menu. He said, "Thanksgiving is not actually a holiday for Jews."
I thought a lot about that conversation over the years and have quietly polled people regarding the American holiday and whether they celebrate it or not.
In my mind, I have imagined standing here many times. I imagined eulogizing my grandpa, my "pop-pop," honoring him, his life, and listing the innumerable people, places and things that were changed, influenced and impacted by him. My grandpa was in his 90s after all - and no one lives forever. But I was in shock the morning my mom called to tell me my grandpa had died. And while I was writing this (and now that I am actually standing here), I realized the practicing in my mind was my heart's attempt at bracing itself for a huge hole. Our family has lost a most loyal, loving and kind soul.
Every water bottle, pitcher or jug we owned was filled with water. A pyramid of canned beans, corn and tuna were stacked neatly atop the counter. The pantry was full of stove-top friendly fare, such as rice and quinoa. The freezer was packed with extra ice, so that it would hold its contents better- in case we lost power. The fridge was unusually bare. We stopped buying perishable goods, once we got first wind the storm was headed our way. The emergency suitcase was prepared for a quick departure with some warm clothes and our most essential documents. We were doing our best to take the threats seriously and "hunkering down" for a hurricane.
Halloween is a killer, not in the gory-scary-chainsaw massacre way but in the belly. It starts the holiday season with miniature morsels of goodness. Even if you are not knocking on doors begging for candy, you have some. And it's in your office too, there's no escaping Halloween candy. Up next: Thanksgiving and a disgusting quantity of delicious stuffing, turkey, pies and potatoes.
Since most people gain a few pounds throughout the winter and don't lose it, now is the time to be diligent. With work events, friends, and family gatherings it's hard to stay on a workout regime and eat healthy. You have to outsmart fat. Here are some simple strategies to stay slim this holiday season.