There was a small kerfuffle on a Facebook group I follow. Someone wondered why in the world people would use paper plates for a Thanksgiving feast and, rather promptly, other people told her--disability, rather spend time with family than washing dishes, etc. After major pushback the original poster amended her post to apologize and to say that now she understood.
It reminded me of something I wrote maybe twenty years ago...
It’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and I’m at the grocery store. The weather is cold and snowy, and I’ve skipped painting class to get ready for Thursday. My shopping cart is piled high with raw ingredients – a 20-pound turkey, celery, onions, kale, cranberries, butter, whipping cream – okay, there are two bags of cornbread stuffing and several cans of pumpkin puree and chicken broth, but in my mind, these are raw ingredients.
In the checkout line, I study the tabloids; I have only the vaguest idea who Jen and Brad are so I turn my attention to the shopping cart ahead of me – paper plates, plastic cups, pre-made pie crusts, a can of lemon meringue filling (I mentally taste the artificial flavoring and my worst fears are confirmed as six jars of pale brown gravy slide down the belt.) There are two large bags of frozen broccoli florets and I silently congratulate the benighted shopper for not having succumbed to the lure of the canned green bean, mushroom soup, and canned fried onion casserole. But I am inwardly appalled at the idea of a Thanksgiving dinner with such uninspired ingredients. Then the cashier says to the tired-looking woman, whose groceries these are, “Big family Thanksgiving?”
A beautiful smile illuminates the weary shopper’s face. “Yes, we’ll all be together,” she replies softly, as though caressing each word.
Her happiness is transcendent and suddenly my perceptions swing around in a dizzying 180-degree shift. It’s not always about the food.
After almost a year and a half of COVID isolation, we had an outdoor supper with family. We used paper plates, and I bogged about it. One poster got a bit snarky, but I let it go although I was tempted to snark back about him taking environmentally unfriendly cross country trips to see birds which he has seen before. After he later made another snippy comment, I requested that he not visit and comment any more. Maybe I was a tad snippy too.
I'm with her. My efforts to be more ecologically conscientious often fall short. And I must be more forgiving to those who have yet to even think of the environment. In our culture where Nobody running for office on any level even mentioned climate change, what can I expect?
Sorry, the local folks running for Black Mountain Town Council did have a lot of interest in climate change!
It's not about the dishes you eat the food from either. I hope you get plenty of help from everyone attending your Thanksgiving feast, Vicki. And I hope others bring prepared dishes!
We will be a smaller gathering this year--and everyone is bringing food and there are always lots of willing dish washers.
Yes we don't always understand. I used to wonder about pre cut and bagged vegetables, until a disabled friend said they were a godsend to someone unable to use her hands safely to cut and peel. So I didn't complain again! And why use salad bars instead of buying and prepping vegetables. Another friend said it was the only way she could have a salad she could afford. Cheaper for one than buying several different vegetables which wouldn't be used up in time. Do yes, better ask first!
Nothing wrong with letting the supermarket or a company do at least some of the food prep for a meal. And it is always salutary to get a glimpse into lives one has not oneself led. Understanding the whys and wherefores makes the world a better place.
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