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Bena Mae's Kitchen: Why even have Thanksgiving anymore?


A woman was eyeing the large display of frozen turkeys in the meat department of a supermarket. “Don’t these turkeys get any bigger?” she asked the clerk?”
“No, Ma’am,” he said. “They’re all dead.”
I can remember when turkeys were not the popular choice for the Thanksgiving meal. That came along later and became a national symbol.
It replaced the fat stewing hen that took pride of place on the dinner table during the 30’s and 40’s, surrounded by garden vegetables the housewife had put up from the summer before. It set the tone for the whole meal and accompanied by tender dumplings and cornbread dressing made with sage and celery and onions was a feast for the Gods.
It also set the mood for close family gatherings that honored a day in history that deserved to be respected and celebrated every year. Sadly, that’s not so much the case anymore.
Thanksgiving has become a day to rush through and get over with so people can get to the stores and begin the circus-like atmosphere of grabbing bargains and fighting over hard-to-get items to lay under the Christmas tree, only to be forgotten a year from now. At what point did our values become so mercenary that we forgot our own civility. Have “things” become that important?
The one day the pilgrims set aside to be thankful for the blessings they received in their meager lives has become more and more meaningless today when we have so much to be thankful for. We’ve become less and less focused on the importance of the day that was meant to count our blessings and many have refused to honor it for its original meaning. And its a crying shame.
Thanksgiving still is and will always be a day for family at my house. We will languish in the joy of being together, enjoying a wonderful meal and relaxing with remembrances of all the times past when we did the same thing, told the same tales and laughed at the same family jokes. Black Friday will just be another day to us. We refuse to be caught up in the hysteria of being the first to get to a store, wrest an electronic toy or clothing item from another’s hands, or join in the scene of madness.
It would be a sad travesty to lose the historical meaning of this important day in our history. It is a rich heritage and one that we need to hold onto.

Excellent for leftover turkey.

Turkey Waldorf Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 cup halved red seedless grapes
1 apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery with leaves
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Whisk mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, cider vinegar, sugar, curry powder, and black pepper together in a bowl until smooth. Lightly toss turkey meat, red grapes, apple, celery, red onion, and walnuts in a salad bowl; pour dressing over salad and toss again to coat. Chill at least 1 hour (or overnight for best flavor).