November 27, 2012

What Thanksgiving Used To Mean

For a client, I wrote a blog post on fatty Thanksgiving foods after being inspired by one of the most disgusting food videos I've ever seen. (Blog post is here. :) )

I thought it'd be a great topic for the week before Thanksgiving, but when I was doing my research on the fattiest Thanksgiving foods, the only things showing up in search was low-cal Thanksgiving recipes. My searches for "fattiest Thanksgiving recipes" and "high calorie Thanksgiving foods" turned up articles on a lighter Thanksgiving, a low-cal Thanksgiving, and advice on how to not overdo it during the holiday. 

What happened? Why are we now obsessed with making lighter dishes on Thanksgiving, the one day of the year we celebrate our abundance of food? It's because Thanksgiving is no longer the one day of the year we have more food than we know what to do with. We regularly over-indulge, regularly eat beyond being full, and regularly feel sick from too much food. 

Now, the internet is full of Thanksgiving recipes that teach cooks how to make the same dishes with fewer calories. Now, we're told to not put marshmallows on our sweet potatoes, skip the cream of mushroom and fried onions on the green beans, bake potatoes rather than mash them with butter and cream, and skip the bread and rolls. 

I know I'm being a bit of a hypocrite when I say this, especially since running a blog called We Should Be Fat, but I wouldn't mind going back to when giant meals were a special occasion. I wouldn't mind us, as a country, enjoying our meals for what they are, and knowing what they are. We should put some butter and cream in our mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and enjoy them without worrying about how many miles we'll have to run to work it off, but we should be far more sensible about how we eat on a more regular basis. 

Louis C.K. says the meal is not over when he's full, it's over when he hates himself. And it's funny because it's true for a lot of us. (He also says he runs 5 miles every other day to keep up "this shitty body.") We eat, and then we keep eating until our bodies tell us we're full, and then we feel like absolute shit 20 minutes later, when those last few helpings have settled in. And it's not like we're shoveling in vegetables... we're eating meat at every meal, often with bread, followed up with sweets. And we wonder why there's an obesity crisis.

I was a supporter of Prop 37 that would have required the labeling of genetically modified foods because I saw it as a step in the right direction. We have no idea what we're eating, partially because we don't read the nutrition labels to know what actually comprises those frozen chicken nuggets and partially because a simple ingredient like corn (which is in fucking everything - go look) is comprised of a number of new chemicals that aren't listed. We're eating more, enjoying food less, and suffering because of our over abundance. Our farm animals get the vast, vast majority of our antibiotics (not because they're sick, either), we're polluting our country and other countries laugh at us because of our food habits.

If we don't go full steam ahead with every meal and regret the vast majority of what we eat, we can enjoy what we eat more and worry about it less. We can let Thanksgiving go back to what it used to be - a day to be thankful for what we have, which in this country is more often than not an abundance.

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