Something to Talk About
My biggest tip for Thanksgiving — and I’m not talking cooking tips or what time to serve dinner or how to add festive decorative gourds to your table — is to not talk about THAT TOPIC. You know the one. The one that has all of the headlines right now, the one that interrupted your favorite daytime show, the one that’s causing tension among family, friends, coworkers, and total strangers. The nephew with the skull tattoo and the grandfather with the marine tattoo might think different things, but hopefully they can sit at the same table for a few hours (and talk about tattoos!).
There are approximately 344 days during the year when you can argue about THAT TOPIC. While you’re eating pumpkin pie isn’t one of them (you shouldn’t do it at Christmas, birthday parties, weddings, or funerals either). That’s what Facebook is for.
Read Troy Brownfield’s great tips on what you should talk about instead. I particularly like No. 10.
Nicholas Gilmore mentioned the Sky Bar in his fun piece about iconic candy bars that aren’t around anymore (I still miss the Marathon Bar), and I have an update. Not only did a gourmet gift store in Massachusetts buy the rights to the name (after Necco went out of business last year), next month they’re opening up a second store next door that will feature the Sky Bar exclusively, as WBZ reports.
The bar has actually gone through some recipe changes over the years and the new owners are bringing the candy back the way it tasted in the 1970s.
Everything in the Store Is Five Dollars or Less! (Or More)
The store chain Five Below has always sold products that are five dollars or less. But the world of retail can be tricky, and this week the company announced that some of the items they sell will actually cost up to $10. This seems to go against the brand, but they say the more expensive items will be in a special section of the store called the “Ten Below Gift Shop.”
Customers shouldn’t be too upset, though. These things happen. The Young and the Restless features several characters that are neither.
The Thank-You Project
In last week’s roundup of books you should buy this holiday season, I forgot to include one. It’s called The Thank-You Project. For one year, writer Nancy Davis Kho sent thank-you letters to “people, places, and pastimes that had shaped her, inspired her, and helped her become the person she was.” It’s not only an interesting look at one person’s journey, but it just might make you want to do the same thing (and maybe get you writing letters again in general — the perfect antidote to the world of social media).
The Food That Built America
This week I binge-watched the History Channel series The Food That Built America. Well, it’s only three episodes, so I don’t know if this can technically be called a “binge,” but I was completely enthralled by it. It’s a documentary that tells the story of the popular foods that helped shape the country, from Hershey Chocolate and Coca-Cola to Kellogg’s and McDonald’s. It’s done in a unique way. It’s not a dry documentary — which would have been fine too — it actually comes across as sort of a premium cable drama, with extensive re-creations of key moments by a great cast of actors and better production values than you’d expect. It’s really well done.
It’s not currently being shown on the History Channel or their site, but if you have Amazon Prime Video you can watch it. Maybe the network will run it again one of these days or release it on DVD.
RIP Werner Doehner, Terry O’Neill, Vera Clemente, and Bill Lyon
Terry O’Neill was a British photographer who took famous shots of such celebrities as the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Sean Connery. He died Saturday at the age of 81.
Vera Clemente was the widow of Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente, who died in a plane crash in 1972. For decades she continued his charitable and philanthropic efforts. She died Saturday at the age of 78.
Bill Lyon was the longtime sportswriter for The Philadelphia Inquirer who revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in a series of columns. He’s the man who gave Roger Ebert the best piece of writing advice he ever received: to not wait for inspiration and just start the work. He died Sunday at the age of 81.
This Week in History
The “Heidi Game” (November 17, 1968)
If you watch any football games on Sunday afternoon, you know that the networks would never leave coverage of the game and go to another show that was scheduled for that time. CBS will air 60 Minutes nine hours late before they cut away from a football game. But that’s what NBC did when they cut away from an exciting New York Jets/Oakland Raiders match to air the children’s movie Heidi. People (mostly men, I’m assuming) were not happy.
Wiley Post Born (November 22, 1898)
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Old Gold (November 20, 1954)
Ah, just an old-fashioned Thanksgiving, with turkey and packs of cigarettes.
The pilgrims probably didn’t even have turkey at the first Thanksgiving. There were a lot of differences between what they had on their table compared to what we have on ours today. For example, the pilgrims didn’t have a smartphone next to them as they ate.
Are you a turkey family or a ham family? I bet most of you answered turkey, but I know some people have ham at Thanksgiving, and they’re passionate about it. For a change of pace, here are some recipes that involve neither! They’re sides, salads, and desserts to accompany that turkey or ham.
To start off, you can make a Naughty and Nice Cinnamon Toddy. If you’re looking to go beyond mashed potatoes (not that there’s anything wrong with mashed potatoes!), try this Corn Salad with Bacon and Honey, this Cheesy Brussels Sprout Bake, or these Maple Glazed Carrots with Goat Cheese and Pistachios. For dessert, how about this Deep Dish Cranberry Pie?
Which brings up another Thanksgiving question: Are you a homemade cranberry sauce family or a from-the-can-with-the-ridges family? We’re the latter.
Have a great Thanksgiving.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
National Adoption Day (November 23)
The day was founded by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the Alliance for Children’s Rights, the Children’s Action Network, and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the organization started by the founder of Wendy’s, who was himself adopted.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (November 28)
Giant balloons! Marching bands! Singers awkwardly lip-synching their hits! The 93rd parade airs on NBC starting at 9 a.m. It’s followed by the National Dog Show at noon.
Featured image: Shutterstock.com
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