Yesterday was the first Thanksgiving in over 10 years that I didn’t cook. I did contribute, of course, with Potato Stuffed Paratha and a cucumber raita, but I didn’t cook all day for a change. I was fine with not cooking because, if you follow this blog, you will know that I do my share of cooking on a daily basis. In fact, I’ve become so adventurous with cooking that Thanksgiving seems a little too predictable.
Thanksgiving is a holiday unique to the United States, one special day a year where we give thanks and celebrate with food. Or at least that is the intention of holiday but in recent times Thanksgiving has been overshadowed by football watching and Black Friday shopping. I have nothing against football or shopping, even though they aren’t really my thing but it is a shame that they have infiltrated the one day Americans have to share food with love.
Thanksgiving is an amusing holiday to my ex and I would imagine most Indians. Why? Because India has many many days where meals are shared and love is expressed through food. Every day may not be a feast, but in India, every day food is sacred and shared with love.
In my past relationships with men of other cultures, one of the only sources of tension was our relationship to food. I have always loved too cook so that was not an issue, the conflict was over the role that food played in the relationship. For Americans, dining is for the most part casual — “help yourself” is often heard in American homes. In India or the Dominican Republic, “helping yourself” is offensive because food is sacred and should be offered and eaten with intention. I did not plan lunch, for example, and it didn’t occur to me to make a formal meal. So I fix a sandwich and figure my guy can make his own. No big deal in an American home but in an Indian home, it’s unheard of. Food is planned and prepared with intention — fresh, carefully prepped, cooked without hurry, served with care.
At first it was a challenge to remember to be conscious of food. Americans eat on the run, snack, grab something and go. In both India and the Dominican Republic, food is special and important but for Indians eating out at a restaurant with is almost as bad as committing adultery because the loyalty is to home meals is so strong. The preparation and sharing of food is the the most important way of expressing love. No need for Thanksgiving, food is sacred every day of the year.
Now that I have become conscious of food and treat it as sacred, I can’t go back to the casual manner that I felt about it before. As a result, we eat all our meals at home and I make them from scratch. It is my way to show my love for my family and it feels good.