I know Thanksgiving is a hard holiday for our friends and fellow Earthlings outside the United States to understand. I’m not sure I understand Thanksgiving.
The myth is that the first pilgrim settlers had a big dinner with the local natives in celebration of a bountiful harvest season and to show appreciation for the natives’ help. Every kid in the U.S. likely has a mental picture of Indians and pilgrims tucking in for a fine dinner of wild game, corn, and probably some squash though likely our 7 or 8 year-old minds blocked that out because eeeewww, squash.
No one ever really talks about the fact that the people already resident in what is now the eastern U.S. celebrated harvest festivals on a relatively pagan cycle 6 to 8 times per year. The other thing no one really talks about is the 1637 massacre during a harvest festival of a number of Pequot men, women, and children because the upright Dutch and English colonists suspected the Indians of having murdered a trader who had kidnapped some of their children. It’s not a story that goes well with pie and green bean casserole.
The modern Thanksgiving is a paradox. Virtually everyone complains about traveling, and the holidays create a pressure cooker of family drama especially when you add out of date expectations and roles on top of the experience of having some TSA martinette groping your genitals at the airport. Yet, there is this haze of nostalgia wrapped around Thanksgiving and Christmas, another contentious family gathering event in the U.S. calendar, that seems to cause us to forget from year to year what we dislike about all this family theater.
A lot of people have tried to turn Thanksgiving on its head in small and large ways. Well-meaning purveyors of e-cards attempt to make it about letting the people you love know that you are grateful for their presence in your life. And that’s not a bad thing, but wouldn’t it be better if we consistently made sure that those folks knew they mattered to us and that our lives would be poorer without their presence? I certainly think so.
Thanksgiving is also used as leverage by a huge number of food-related non-profits to garner donations. I can’t say I blame them. Suffering food insecurity at a time with such an emphasis on eating has to be demoralizing to say the least.
For me, Thanksgiving is always the time I miss my cousin Sean the most. I didn’t really get to see Sean very often, maybe 4 or 5 times a year, and in truth he wasn’t really my cousin. What he was, though, was a gentle soul who always seemed engaged and genuinely interested and happy to see me, and I hope he knew the feeling was mutual.
So, in honor of Sean, I provide you with his excellent corn casserole recipe. Metric conversions are in parentheses and were taken from The Metric Kitchen.
Deluxe scalloped Corn
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) cream or sweetened condensed milk (I know Sean used to use Eagle Brand Milk sometimes its a lot sweeter that way.)
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) whole milk
- 2 tbsp (15 g) flour
- 2 tbsp (23 g) brown sugar
- 2 tbsp (30 g) butter
- 2 cans corn (drained)
[Typically a can of corn in the U.S. is 12 oz to 14 oz which would work out to 340 g to 368 g approximately]
Beat eggs, add other ingredients. Pour into buttered 1 quart (950 mL) casserole dish.
Bake for approximately 1 hour at 325degF (162.77degC) until set and knife slides out dry.
I know we’ll be eating this on Thursday, and I know I’ll be thinking of him.