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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Thomas Ken’s “Old Hundredth”

March 20, 2014 | by

buttry shelf

The New England Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook, written in 1969 by Mary Mason Campbell, is one of the most perfect works of nostalgia ever published. Ms. Campbell runs through the year’s calendar, remembering her New Hampshire family’s idyllic holiday celebrations: Fourth of July picnics on the river, Valentine’s Day children’s parties, Hallowe’en revels, all accompanied by lots of homemade food and liberally supplemented with stores from the eponymous buttery, or pantry.

As a child, I was understandably obsessed with this book. From the vantage point of my own chaotic household, the order and tradition of the year Campbell described seemed indescribably appealing. For some reason, one vignette made a particular impression on me. The author describes how, every Thanksgiving, her grandfather (who had a good baritone) would summon all the guests to table by booming out “The Doxology.” Read More »

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Hell on Wheels

December 11, 2013 | by


During one of the most lucrative Thanksgiving weekends in Hollywood history, moviegoers hooked on the Hunger Games franchise once again embraced the vision of a populace preoccupied by blood sports. Millions more Americans stayed home and skirted family small talk while zoning out in the flat-screen glow of football coverage. Before NFL collisions in HD and murderous YA fiction in IMAX colonized our culture, a short story published in Esquire in 1973 anticipated the blitz on both fronts. William Harrison’s “Roller Ball Murder” forecasted a future where corporations have replaced all governments and world armies, and nationalism is exorcised at ultraviolent roller derbies. The games keep the people in line, so long as they’re tuned into what Harrison presciently dubbed “multivision.”

When I came across Harrison’s obituary in the October 30 edition of the New York Times—he passed away in Arkansas, at age seventy-nine—it was printed just below the obituary for the late Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Allan Stanley. Seeing the two notices printed in such proximity, the name that leapt to mind was Ontario’s own Norman Jewison, a lifelong Leafs fan and the Oscar-winning director of In the Heat of the Night and Fiddler on the Roof. In 1975, Jewison adapted Harrison’s story for the screen and encouraged him to write the screenplay. The result was Rollerball, an underappreciated seventies curio that was revived briefly in the wake of a regrettable remake in 2002. The overlooked original still packs a punch. Read More »


Kimchi and Turkey

November 27, 2013 | by


This Thanksgiving will be only the second time in thirty-six years I won’t be with my mother for the holiday. Last year was the first, when I spent it with my wife and her family. All day long I sat in her mother’s condo above the shores of Lake Erie—ice floes stretching to the horizon—and I thought about my mother, how she always labored over the turkey and dressing, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, dumplings, corn, green beans, and three of four pies. That’s probably not that uncommon in a lot of homes across the country or in the Appalachian South where I was raised and where we like to serve two starches for every vegetable. But what is unusual is the sight of my mother, a Korean woman of five feet four inches, with beautiful salt and pepper hair, and a round face and almond-shaped eyes working away in the kitchen. Forty-three years ago she left Masan, South Korea, after marrying my father, and when she came to this country, after brief spells in Phoenix and Toledo, they settled in the hills of southeastern Kentucky. She was a vegetarian then but that was not a lifestyle decision. It was borne of necessity. Her family had never had enough money to afford beef, pork, or poultry, items considered expensive delicacies when she was a child, and her body had not learned to digest them. Rice (bop) was scarce and precious, as precious as cornmeal to my father’s family when he had been a child, and it was often the only thing she had to eat. And when there was no food at all, my halmuni still lit a fire and boiled water so that smoke would rise from their chimney and the other villagers would not know the family had nothing to eat.

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Brave New Turkeys: We Have a Winner!

December 10, 2012 | by

For our most recent contest, we asked you, dear readers, to create a festive, possibly dystopian, turkey from Aldous Huxley's handprint. You delivered. Below, without further ado, our favorites.

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Hale and Hearty

November 23, 2011 | by

Among the many things for which I will give thanks this Thursday, foremost is the fact that I am not in charge of Thanksgiving dinner. Instead I’ll be helping my mother in her kitchen, as she helped me in mine last year. It isn’t that I dislike cooking, or even that I feed a real crowd; I cook every day, usually with pleasure, and we don’t pull many extra chairs up to the table for the holiday. But sometime after the second pie has been baked and the turkey is in the oven and half the vegetables are ready but there is still so much to make, and the table not even set, I just want to sneak away without finishing up.

How great a disappointment I would have been to Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who led the campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. When Hale was thirty-four and the year was 1822, her husband died, leaving her with five children. Did she allow despair to overcome her stout Yankee heart? Never! She supported her family with that reliable moneymaker, poesy, before publishing a best-selling novel, and eventually going on to become the editor of the most influential women’s magazine in America. Read More »


Staff Picks: Turkeys and French Cinema

November 28, 2010 | by

Most accounts of turkeys in literature describe the process of hunting or cooking them (Teddy Roosevelt’s sketch of stalking the “peevish piou-piou! of the sleepy birds” is rather lovely, even though the turkeys don't live beyond the next page). In 1978, however, Donald Barthelme reinvigorated the genre with a grumpy but dead-on essay expressing his annoyance at this "mockery of a holiday.” This year’s new discovery dates from 1982, when Jim Nollman recorded his musical collaboration with a large flock of the delicious birds on Playing Music with Animals: Interspecies Communication of Jim Nollman with 300 Turkeys, 12 Wolves and 20 Orcas (America Folkways, of course). The feathered singers join Nollman for a rendition of “Froggy Went a-Courting.” Nollman’s aim? To “[ride] the shared musical energy without aggravating the turkeys.” Make it part of your holiday tradition. —Nicole Rudick

It is never too late to see a movie you should have seen years ago, like L’Avventura. I think there is something to be said for seeing a great thing so late. It feels like being rescued. That’s what I saw this week, as well as two beautiful films by Philippe Garrel, J’entends plus la guitare and Baisers de secours (both introduced by our own diarist Richard Brody), plus Godard’s 1980 bummer Every Man for Himself, plus Alain Cavalier’s charming melodrama Le Combat dans l’ile, all about a fun-loving Parisienne who discovers that her weak-willed industrialist husband is secretly a member of a terrorist cell, and Le Amiche, and the first three films of Terence Malick. Yes, I’ve been out sick this week and have read not one submission. May Monica Vitti forgive me. May Monica Vittii forgive us all. —Lorin Stein

If the Thanksgiving holiday hasn’t made you want to swear off eating altogether and fast in the middle of a spa in the California desert, then try the beautiful, bold, and hefty Essential New York Times Cookbook, edited by the fabulous Amanda Hesser, who cooked (and updated) each and every recipe in this 932-page book. —Thessaly La Force