Saturday, 24 November 2012

Thanksgiving- Care and Share

Hello Martha and friends,

This Thursday in America we celebrated Thanksgiving. It's what you would call a bank holiday, a harvest holiday, where family and friends get together to give thanks (and eat!). My friends and family were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, some of my friends lost their homes, and my mother was without power for two weeks. I live in Jersey City (how many seconds? I'll give you a hint, we're a five minute train ride from one of the biggest cities in the US) (Took me 13!) and there was flooding up to about four blocks from me, but we only lost power for two days. I have been volunteering to help out with the people who lost everything. My friend Jeremy took the picture of the Hudson River the morning before Hurricane Sandy hit. During high tide, the Hudson River is usually about 8-10 feet below the waterfront walkway. You can see the Freedom Tower and lower Manhattan across the way.

Although every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions, there are most traditional ones that most families adhere to, such as turkey, [american] football and the Macy's day parade. The parade is usually very touristy, with gigantic balloons that can take about 50-100 people to hold. Although it's a short train ride, we usually watch it on TV.

I've been hosting Thanksgiving for the past couple of years, so I do all the cooking. Although I'm a vegetarian myself, my family and friends are not, so I do cook a turkey. However, every other food I make is vegetarian.

Around Thanksgiving, if you spend a certain amount of money at the supermarket, you qualify for a free turkey. I qualified for two! I donated one turkey to a relief group who was cooking Thanksgiving dinners for families displaced by Hurricane Sandy and one to our local shelter.

The plate pictured is my plate, which is why there is no turkey on it.

From clockwise:
Vegetarian stuffing: Stuffing is also a Thanksgiving staple. Some families stuff the turkey with it, but it wouldn't be vegetarian that way. Stuffing is usually vegetables, croutons and some broth, some people put chicken or turkey in it as well. Mine is made with portabella mushroom soup.

Rice pilaf with red peppers and roasted pine nuts: My family always serves rice at every meal.

Cranberry sauce: Also a thanksgiving staple. In this country a lot of families buy gelled cranberry sauce in a can from the supermarket. The gelled cranberries have a texture like jell-o. Growing up, my mother always cooked from scratch, so my siblings and I don't like things like gelled cranberries.

Squash casserole: Since squash is considered a harvest food, it's pretty traditional to have some sort of squash dish on the table. I used yellow squash and zucchini.

Corn bread.

I also served candied yams and broccoli rabe. As I'm not the biggest fan of yams, so I didn't have them on my plate, and the broccoli rabe I forgot to put on my plate before the picture.

After a football break, we had dessert.
I served, apple pie, one of my favorite desserts! I tried to make a leaf pattern, but I'm not sure if anyone could tell.

I also served chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip pumpkin bread. My boyfriend loves dessert, as seen by his plate, and tried everything.

We rated food and dessert separately:
Food-o-meter- 9.5/10 (My boyfriend doesn't like mushrooms, so he took off half a point)
Mouthfuls- We forgot to count!
Courses-Dinner (there were appetizer/snacks put out, but no one really ate them because dinner was ready)
Health Rating- 9/10 (the candied yams were made with sugar)
Price- Hard to figure per plate, but probably around $6 USD
Pieces of hair- 0 (thank goodness!)
Spills: 0 (first time!)

Not everyone had dessert or tried everything served, so that's why we rated it separate.
Food-o-meter- 10/10
Mouthfuls- A lot!
Health Rating- 5/10 (Apples and pumpkin brought it up!)
Price-Hard to figure per plate, but probably around $3 USD
Pieces of hair- 0

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your friends!


VEG here

Thank you Tab. I think I understand Thanksgiving better now. You care and you share. I hope you had a lovely day.


  1. Tab, you are to be commended on your restraint at Thanksgiving dinner! Most plates at that meal look more like this:

    Considering that most typical Thanksgiving dinners in this country include at least all of the following in some variation or other:

    *Turkey (and/or ham, sometimes both)
    *Cranberry sauce
    *Mashed potatoes
    *Yams or sweet potatoes (often baked with brown sugar and butter in them, and then toasted marshmallows or pecans on top)
    *Green beans
    *Brussels sprouts
    *Bread rolls
    *A relish tray (carrot sticks, celery, olives, radishes, etc.)

    And I've not even mentioned dessert! (Usually pie. Perhaps most traditionally, pumpkin pie, but also apple, or pecan as well.)

    So -- leaving out dessert -- you can imagine that if you only put two bites of everything on your plate, there wouldn't be any plate showing at all!

    And, when you consider that in comparison to one mug of porridge (as the children of Mary's Meals get), it just goes to show that a lot of us have much to be thankful for.

  2. Today @occupysandy served 11,000+ meals. Thank you to our friends & neighbors who know another world is possible & are working to build it. --
    Michael Premo

    Thankful for @OccupySandy for organizing such a wonderful meal for so many in the rockaways b100 st, god bless. -- niki delverme ‏@nikidelverme

    Fantastic picture of New York showing the flood waters rising before Hurricane Sandy hit.

    In the immediate aftermath, it is depressing the City Authorities were more interested in getting Wall Street back on-line, then helping people who were homeless.

    Occupy New York, under Occupy Sandy did more to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

    - What Is a Gift?
    - Occupy Sandy on Thanksgiving

    1. The Sandy photo was taken by my best friend's fiancé a photographer named Jeremy Gordon.

      Some more photos by him:

  3. I am saddened by Sandy storm events in America.

    May the sacrifice and volunteers get favors from God.

    Thanksgiving food is very tempting especially me you made it :)

    Regards know

    [Unimportant Notebook]

  4. Excellent picture showing rising water levels before Hurricane Sandy hit.

    A map courtesy of New York Times showing the extent of the flooding.

  5. beautiful pie! and a great dinner

  6. Beautiful pie.... your whole dinner looks delicious

  7. I think Jaylah covered all the major Thanksgiving food groups! I live in the southern part of the United States and I've never eaten or even been offered a brussels sprout. I'm not even sure how they would be prepared. We are heavy into the beans, corn, peas, sweet potatoes (yams) and collard greens here. Also, I've heard of a vegetarian substitute for turkey that is called Tofurky (tofu based) but I have no idea if it really tastes like turkey...if you are vegetarian would you want it to taste like turkey? Maybe if you are a former non-vegetarian?

    1. They do sell Tofurkey in the stores around here, but I don't like to eat processed foods. I try to make everything from scratch in my house, and tofurky made of a lot of processed soy. I've actually never tasted Tofurkey, so I can't comment on the taste. However, if it does taste like meat, while that might appeal to some vegetarians, for that reasons (and others) I would not be interested in eating it.

    2. Now that you mention it, I think Brussel's sprouts are more of a northern tradition and greens replace them in the south.

      I suspect the most traditional way of preparing them for Thanksgiving is to lightly coat them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper (add some slivered garlic if you like) and then roast them until they are tender and a bit caramelized.

  8. Great dinner for thanksgiving day! very nice photos!

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  9. Yeah. Jaylah's right. That meal pales by comparison to an actual Thanksgiving meal in the U.S. We feed the homeless in Denver at a special place and their meals are at least five times as much plus the Turkey which is more than plentiful. Sorry about the devastation. I prayed that it wouldn't be any worse than the outcome. Look at it this way, there is always something to be thankful for even when every thing goes downhill.