“Fasting from conformity and feasting on diversity.”
Thanksgiving Day in November is a chance for my family to embrace its differences and eat together in peace. We have broccoli and rice for the Alabama native. I prefer the English mashed potatoes and green peas. The gravy includes giblets which gross out my grandchildren. Half of the family is vegetarian, which accounts for the Dutch oven with a roasted Tofurky. The other half likes Butterball turkey with its injected salt. Cranberries are whole berry, having won over the one who likes cranberry sauce out of a can complete with the ridges from the can.
One of my favorite exercises when I taught English at the community college was asking students to tell me what they absolutely HAD to have to make it Thanksgiving. What dish would be immediately be missed by their grandmother? The whiteboard filled with an astonishing array of foods from ham, to goat, to turkey, to pulled pork, to fish. The starches were from all over the world. My students were amazed by how some foods they disliked were very important to some of their classmates.
What they all agreed on was that having those particular foods eaten with people they loved made it a feast. None of them felt compelled to change their dinner plans after hearing about other choices. Nor did they belittle one another as they realized that they each had deep emotional connections to very different foods.
May we look around at our neighbors and in our community and be equally grateful for the many ways human beings express their unique identities. May we stop and realize how blessed we are to have this bounty of difference.