Happy turkey day

Some thoughts from Christopher Hitchens in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (print edition, which I only read when travelling by air):

Considering Thanksgiving, that most distinctive and unique of all American holidays, there need be no resentment and no recrimination. Likewise, there need be no wearisome present-giving, no order of divine service, and no obligation to the dead. This holiday is like a free gift, or even (profane though the concept may be to some readers) a free lunch—and a very big and handsome one at that…

It is the sheer modesty of the occasion that partly recommends it. Everybody knows what’s coming. Nobody acts as if caviar and venison are about to be served, rammed home by syllabub and fine Madeira. The whole point is that one forces down, at an odd hour of the afternoon, the sort of food that even the least discriminating diner in a restaurant would never order by choice.

You know, he’s right on that last part. Facing a cooler of cheesecake and pumpkin pie at Costco the other day, I picked the pumpkin pie with no deliberation. And although pumpkin pie is tasty, I would have picked the cheesecake on any other day of the year, again with no deliberation. That’s cultural brainwashing at work. Not that I’m complaining; pumpkin pie is like autumn leaves, the sort of thing a year wouldn’t be complete without.

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