GRATITUDE IS GOOD for YOU
|The traditional Thanksgiving meal|
Thanksgiving may only come once a year, but there's mounting scientific evidence about the benefits of developing thankful habits. Researcher Glenn Fox at the University of Southern California has been researching how gratitude alters the brain. “A lot of people conflate gratitude with the simple emotion of receiving a nice thing. What we found was something a little more interesting,” says Fox. “The pattern of [brain] activity we see shows that gratitude is a complex social emotion that is really built around how others seek to benefit us.” As you gear up for the big feast, here is some advice to help you and your family be truly thankful at Thanksgiving.
HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR BUSTARD YET?
Although popularized more recently, and copyrighted by celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme in 1986, there's a longer story behind the Turducken. This kind of “Russian Doll Roast” traces its roots back to at least medieval times, when animals might be stuffed within other animals for the sake of spectacle. (See also, “illusion foods,” or “incredible foods.”)
Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany includes this example of a Russian Doll Roast involving way too many birds: “stuff a large OLIVE with CAPERS and a CLOVE,” and so on, it says. The directions continue stuffing birds, including a bec-figue, ortolan, lark, thrush, quail, plover, lapwing, partridge, woodcock, teal, fowl, duck, chicken, pheasant, goose, and turkey, until ultimately we’re told to “place the TURKEY inside an enormous BUSTARD.”
An EATER’S HISTORY of THANKSGIVING: AMERICA’S MOST IMPORTANT HOLIDAY
According to Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Food, at Sea and Ashore, in the Nineteenth Century, Thanksgiving used to be a bigger deal. For roughly the first half of our nation’s history, Thanksgiving reigned as the premier holiday among the Europeans who came to America, and their descendents. (Celebrating Christmas was too “churchy” for the Puritans.) For a fascinating tour of Thanksgiving meals through the ages, including the "Turducken," be sure to check out foodtimeline.org.
JINGLE BELLS, the THANKSGIVING DAY CLASSIC
Did you know that Jingle Bells was originally written as a song to celebrate Thanksgiving Day? James Lord Pierpont wrote it, quite possibly right here in Massachusetts, some time in the 1850’s, almost certainly at a time when one might expect the heavy snows to begin as early as November.
|Placard Commemorating the composition of "Jingle Bells" in Medford, Massachusetts|
HELP CREATE a HUNGER-FREE COMMUNITY
Probably all of us have driven along Route 9 in Shrewsbury, past the Worcester County Food Bank. On their website, you can quickly identify the nearest food pantry, learn where to donate funds and food for the hungry, volunteer to help with the distribution process, and learn how to advocate for the hungry in your community.
See you here in two weeks. Hope you have a decent weekend, and a very wonderful Thanksgiving!