Turkey with gravy, mash potatoes and a side of sauteed broccoli rabe, corn and onions with crispy bacon. The yanks take their Thanksgiving lunch very seriously. Picture: Cheyenne Cohen/Katie Workman via AP
Turkey with gravy, mash potatoes and a side of sauteed broccoli rabe, corn and onions with crispy bacon. The yanks take their Thanksgiving lunch very seriously. Picture: Cheyenne Cohen/Katie Workman via AP

Australians should embrace the Thanksgiving holiday

Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving this week, so we are going to talk turkey.

They love it over here, and spend the year trying to put it places it doesn't belong - in meatloafs, burgers and bolognese sauces. But in this last week of November, they can't get enough of it.

There is endless debate about the best preparations and how to avoid turkey's dreaded dryness. Two turkeys were even formally pardoned and spared becoming meals at the White House earlier this week, in an odd tradition that began with John F. Kennedy in 1963, who when presented with a gifted bird responded: "We'll just let this one grow".

 

As an outsider, this has been one of the hardest traditions to commit to. When you move to America, you become used to driving on the wrong side of the road, you get accustomed to all your money being the same colour. You can even accept having a reality TV star as a president. But there is something so uniquely American about Thanksgiving that it has taken us a while to settle into it.

One of the more delightful aspects of this holiday is that in a land of commercialised everything, it seems the one time of year that money doesn't have a seat at the table. No gifts are shared, there are no specific decorations. Families get together because they believe in the importance of celebrating as a group and being grateful for what they have.

It's also one of the few non-denominational celebrations, compared to Christmas, which is bracingly fast, with just one day off work, or Easter, which passes with barely a blip.

Thanksgiving tends to be celebrated with a giant meal with turkey as its centrepiece. Afterwards there is often an annual public recitation of what people are thankful for.

Understandably, this can lead to any number of challenging family situations and it's not just when an overbearing uncle commandeers the table to offer unwelcome life advice.

 

In the current political climate, it has also become a time for much navel gazing from the commentariat about how to challenge your redneck relatives' racism or worse still, being Trump voters.

This year, I am grateful for many things, my beautiful family and rewarding job among them. I am also, like so many of my countrymen, thankful for a brief respite from the paint-drying spectacle of impeachment hearings.

Thanksgiving is also the biggest travelling break of the year, with some 54 million Americans hitting the road and turning airports, not the most comfortable places to begin with, into hellish situations.

Your postcard this week is coming from a family road trip through the South, so we interrupted our BBQ and fried chicken programming to celebrate a Nashville Thanksgiving, which was smoked and butter roasted, and entirely delicious.

Sarah Blake is News Corp's US bureau chief.



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