Monday, November 1, 2010

Thanksgiving-Romanticized Consumption

As outbursts of infectious laughter glide throughout the house like potpourri and all the family gathers round the richly endowed Thanksgiving table, every tiny inch covered with hallowed serving pieces abundant with mouthwatering tradition, the “clutching my stomach-about to explode” season gets underway.

Thanksgiving Day, our beloved American opiate, is a joyous event eagerly celebrated with heaping platters of love and gravy boats of gratitude that distract us from the folly of everyday life. It’s when relatives can still be friends and every heart is true, a sacred day when a gaggle of smiling family and friends rejoice, reconnect, kiss cousins, and hug babies, thus fortifying the family circle. The quixotic day fly’s by so swiftly, it seems just as we settled down it’s time to say good-bye. To some it’s a feast of horrors spending your day off stuffing your face till your stomach bursts, and then the nausea-inducing ride home over river, rolling hills, and woods with frequent potty stops, flatulence, and then quiet, inward contemplation on whether Aunt Sandi really lacks sensible thought or surreptitiously liquor drenched. Nothing today resembles the original Thanksgiving. Nowadays it’s a competition; who can consume the most and then deal best with leftovers doomed to die in anonymity in a corner of the fridge?

If you feast beyond your temple’s needs then food is wasted. U.S. residents acclimated to abundance are wasting food like never before. More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving, but a study finds about 40 percent of all the food produced in the United States is tossed out. Concurrently, about 1 billion people worldwide don't have enough to eat, according to the World Food Program. The journal PLoS ONE, indicates while Americans feast on turkey and fixings, a new study finds food waste per person has shot up 50 percent since 1974. Some 1,400 calories worth of food is discarded per person each day which adds up to 150 trillion calories a year. ScienceNOW, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science explains food waste in America accounts for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and more than 300 million barrels of oil per year representing about 4 percent of the total U.S. oil consumption.

Flash back to 1621, when religious-separatist Pilgrims held a three-day expression of celebration, praise and prayer to rejoice for their generous harvest and safe ocean passage. Ergo, the nation’s first Turkey Day (TD). The celebration of gratitude which lasted for three days started out as a deeply religious happening, a time where God was lavishly thanked for plenty of harvest. The food included turkeys, geese, ducks, venison, cod, bass, corn, barley, and corn bread. There were games, demonstrations of skills, with bows and muskets, and lots of braggin’ and tall story tellin’. If our forefathers saw how we celebrate today, they’d be twirling in their savory pudding and stewed pumpkin. The first Thanksgiving was not a feast, but rather a time when Native Americans helped Pilgrims by bringing them food and helping them build off the land. Over the years TD has been corporately secularized and is celebrated today as a gluttonous competition.

Alas, gobbling too many victuals may lead to arterial ‘fowl’ play and abundant corpulence. If you’re moved with the urge to purge and wish to scrape gravy, stuffing, pie and plastic cruel Cool Whip from your hardening arteries, consider setting aside 12 1/2 hours of walking to burn off the typical 3,500 Thanksgiving calories you shoveled down, which on Thanksgiving, we can justifiably call, your Pie Hole.

Walk to, and then drop off appropriately packaged leftovers at a homeless center or church whose congregation supports the downtrodden. Be sure however, to refrigerate everything within two hours of setting it out or you’ll ruin the moment by giving everyone the unexpected gift of the Turkey Trots.


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