Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Myths

here’s a great list of thanksgiving myths, from uncle john’s bathroom reader

MYTH: The settlers at the first Thanksgiving were called Pilgrims.
THE TRUTH: They didn’t even refer to themselves as Pilgrims – they called themselves “Saints.” Early Americans applied the term “pilgrim” to all of the early colonists; it wasn’t until the 20th century that it was used exclusively to describe the folks who landed on Plymouth Rock.

MYTH: It was a solemn, religious occasion.
THE TRUTH: Hardly. It was a three-day harvest festival that included drinking, gambling, athletic games, and even target shooting with English muskets (which, by the way, was intended as a friendly warning to the Indians that the Pilgrims were prepared to defend themselves.)

MYTH: It took place in November.
THE TRUTH: It was some time between late September and the middle of October – after the harvest had been brought in. By November, said historian Richard Erhlich, “the villagers were working to prepare for winter, salting and drying meat and making their houses as wind resistant as possible.”

thanksgiving dogsMYTH: The Pilgrims wore large hats with buckles on them.
THE TRUTH: None of the participants were dressed anything like the way they’ve been portrayed in art: the Pilgrims didn’t dress in black, didn’t wear buckles on their hats or shoes, and didn’t wear tall hats. The 19th-century artists who painted them that way did so because they associated black clothing and buckles with being old-fashioned.

MYTH: They ate turkey …
THE TRUTH: The Pilgrims ate deer, not turkey. As Pilgrim Edward Winslow later wrote, “For three days we entertained and feasted, and [the Indian] went out and killd five deer, which they brought to the plantation.” Winslow does mention that four Pilgrims went “fowling” or bird hunting, but neither he nor anyone else recorded which kinds of birds they actually hunted – so even if they did eat turkey, it was just a side dish.

“The flashy part of the meal for the colonists was the venison, because it was new to them,” says Carolyn Travers, director of research at Plimoth Plantation, a Pilgrim museum in Massachusetts. “Back in England, deer were on estates and people would be arrested for poaching if they killed these deer … The colonists mentioned venison over and over again in their letters back home.”

Other foods that may have been on the menu: cod, bass, clams, oysters, Indian corn, native berries and plums, all washed down with water, beer made from corn, and another drink the Pilgrim affectionately called “strong water.”

A few things definitely weren’t on the menu, including pumpkin pie – in those days, the Pilgrims boiled their pumpkin and ate it plain. And since the Pilgrims didn’t yet have flour mills or cattle, there was no bread other than corn bread, and no beef, milk, or cheese. And the Pilgrims didn’t eat any New England lobsters, either. Reason: They mistook them for large insects.

MYTH: The Pilgrims held a similar feast every year.
THE TRUTH: There’s no evidence that the Pilgrims celebrated again in 1622. They probably weren’t in the mood – the harvest had been disappointing, and they were burdened with a new boatload of Pilgrims who had to be fed and housed through the winter.

hey, whatever myths you do or don’t embrace, i pray you have a wonderful and thanks-filled week!

the butterball turkey hotline

most people have heard that the fine people of butterball offer a toll-free number dolling out turkey advice. here, in honor of this grand day, and the turkey i will masterfully carve for the 12 adults and 3 little ones who will feast in our home today, are some of the actual questions and responses from that help line:

* Should I remove the plastic wrap before I cook my turkey?

* I don’t want to touch the giblets. Can I fish them out with a coat hanger?

* Can I poke holes all over the turkey and pour a can of beer over it to keep it moist?
You’ll do more harm than good- the skin keeps the moisture in. Poking holes in it will dry it out.

* Can you thaw a frozen turkey using an electric hair dryer? Or by wrapping it in an electric blanket? In the aquarium with my tropical fish? In the tub while the kids are having their bath?
No, no, no, and no. If you’re in a hurry, thaw the turkey in the kitchen sink by immersing it in cold water. Allow half an hour per pound, and change the water every half hour.

* How can I thaw 12 turkeys all at once?
The caller was cooking for a firehouse, so Butterball advised them to put them all in a clean trash can and hose them down with a firehose.

* The family dog bit off a big piece of the turkey. Can the rest of it be saved?
Maybe. If the damage is localized, cut away the dog-eaten part of the bird and serve the rest. Disguise the maimed bird with garnishes, or carve it up out of view of your guests and serve the slices. The less your guests know, the better.

* The family dog is inside the turkey and can’t get out.
A few years back, Butterball really did get a call from the owner of a chihuahua that climbed inside the raw bird while the owner’s back was turned. The opening was big enough for the dog to get in, but not big enough for it to get back out. The turkey expert instructed the owner on how to enlarge the opening without injuring the dog. (No word on whether the bird was eaten.) Butterball has also fielded calls from owners of gerbils and housecats. “I was told not to talk about that,” one Talk-line staffer told a reporter in 1997.

* I need to drive two hours with my frozen turkey before I cook it. Will it stay frozen if I tie it to the luggage rack on the roof of my car?
The caller was from Minnesota, so the answer was yes. If you live in Florida, Arizona, or Hawaii, the answer is no.

* I’m a truck driver. Can I cook the turkey on the engine block of my semi while I’m driving? If I drive faster, will it cook faster?
There’ve been cases in wartime where soldiers cooked turkeys using the heat of Jeep engines, but Butterball gives no advice on the subject.

* I scrubbed my raw turkey with a toothbrush dipped in bleach for three hours. Is that enough to kill the harmful bacteria?
The heat of the oven is what kills the bacteria; scrubbing the turkey with bleach makes it inedible. (In extreme cases like these, or anytime the Talk-line staffers fear the bird has become unsafe to eat, they advise the cook to discard the bird, eat out, and try again next year. If the caller can’t imagine Thanksgiving without turkey, they can get some turkey hot dogs.)

* I don’t want to cook the whole turkey, so I cut it in half with a chainsaw. How do I get the chainsaw oil out of the turkey?
Toss the turkey and go get some hot dogs.

* The turkey in my freezer is 23 years old. Is it safe to eat?
Butterball advised the caller that the bird was safe to eat, but that it probably wouldn’t taste very good. “That’s what we thought,” the caller told the Talk-line. “We’ll give it to the church.”
[marko comment: this response is just classic!]


* How long does it take to thaw a fresh turkey?

* How long does it take to cook a turkey if I leave the oven door open the whole time? That’s how my mom always did it.

* Does the turkey go in the oven feet first or head first?

* Can I baste my turkey with suntan lotion?

* When does turkey hunting season start?

* How do I prepare a turkey for vegetarians?

(from ‘the best of uncle john’s bathroom reader‘, via neatorama)

today, i am thankful

today, i am thankful that i was laid off.

it’s a choice, more than a feeling.

i cannot, no matter how much effort i apply to the task, think of a single challenging, painful, or hurtful experience in my life, whether by my own doing or done to me, that i would now wish away. i cannot think of one of those that god didn’t use for growth or benefit or shift or some other good purpose.

i cannot believe that this current situation would be an exception to that rule.

so, today, i choose to be thankful that i was laid off, in the belief and hope (the christian kind of hope that is, more equal to confidence than wishing) that this is all very, very good. in 5 years, i won’t be willing to trade this for the world.

(looking forward to a houseful of 20 thanksgiving dinner guests today, also!)

monday morning update

the weekend that was: ah, thanksgiving weekend. great family time. we had a couple families over for thanksgiving day. one of them was my cousin and his wife and baby, who live in LA. they spent the night thursday, and we had a great time with them through friday late morning. the rest of the weekend was filled with massive to do lists, which included decorating the house for christmas. this included a challenging moment when we discovered that the nice fake tree friends had purchased for us last year (we’d always had real trees prior to last year) was too tall for the ceilings in our new house. but it was only about 8 inches too tall. so i used a variety of metal-working tools to hack off 8 inches. and, voila, we now have a decorated tree that nicely mushes up into the ceiling! also had to do a little wire splicing when i discovered i’d cut through one of the light wires. got the lights on the outside of the house also, made our christmas shopping lists (and did a tiny bit of shopping), planned max’s birthday, and a whole bunch of other stuff. friday night we had a family night at the movies: max and jeannie saw bolt, while liesl and i saw twilight (i’ll try to post about this movie later this week). saturday night, liesl was out, and jeannie, max and i watched fred clause while eating cookie dough. sunday morn was church (a really wonderful communion service), followed by bits of the sad chargers game interspersed with decorating. and sunday night we hosted our home church at our house. we had a really meaningful time of writing down things we need to release and things we’d like to embrace on paper. then we wrote one of each that we really want to move forward on onto small colored pieces of paper, then fed them through a shredder. after some discussion about these in triplets, we came back and the person leading had turned those shredded pieces into confetti. we all took a small bunch of the confetti and put it into little round clear boxes (used by people who collect and sort beads). we’re each keeping these to remember to pray for each other. really cool.

where i am at the moment: i have a couple days home before leaving for our canadian convention, and i’m taking them to do some writing and shopping. jeannie and i have a lunch date today, followed by some christmas shopping; but otherwise, i’ll be writing (the “middle school ministry” book is due may 5, and i still have about 7 chapters to go!).

on my to-do list this week: after getting some writing done, and working on my seminars for the canadian youth workers conference, i’ll be in toronto from wednesday on. should be a wonderful event.

procrastinating about: i’m not really procrastinating about writing, but it feels like it, because i have so much to complete. i also have a magazine column due today. i suppose i’m procrastinating about getting caught up on email and facebook messages, since i’m not finding the time for them.

book i’m in the midst of: finished anne rice’s amazing called out of darkness, and started reading steven covey’s (the younger one) the speed of trust, which is shaping up to be a fantastic read.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: still soaking in all my 80s christian alt i wrote about last week. started listening to christmas music over the weekend, and have been laughing over the gift i received of colbert’s christmas cd.

next trip: wednesday, to toronto, for the canadian youth workers conference. come home next monday.

how i’m feeling about this week: a little stressed at the moment, and don’t feel like leaving town again; but i’m excited about the convention.

bonus: today is my son max’s 11th birthday. crazy. i’ve been telling him for years that the teenage years don’t start at 13 anymore, but are usually considered to be 11 – 20-something. so he’s convinced he becomes a teenager today, which is awesome, because he’s really still a kid who loves being a kid. i had to tell him, “well, this is the year when you start becoming a teenager.” pop over to max’s blog and wish him a happy birthday!

things i’m thankful for

– my wife, jeannie, who is my best friend and continues to challenge me to grow, while giving me grace when i don’t.
– my daughter, liesl, who is becoming a beautiful young woman in every way.
– my son, max, who makes me laugh, and shows me new depths of sensitivity and inquiry.
– my parents, who continue to love me and provide a roll-model for me of a life given to god, to hospitality, to ongoing growth, and to each other.
– my home church, who love me and are present to me.
– my other church, who are humble enough to know they don’t have it all figured out, and who allow me to serve.
– my co-workers at ys, who love youth workers enough to push through a challenging season and give of themselves over and over again, and who are so quick to forgive when i’m my leadership is lacking.
– my friends at zondervan. the 2 1/2 years we’ve been owned by z have had their share of transition lumps. but i believe that the people of zondervan genuinely want to protect ys and our mission. in this challenging year, i’m not sure we would have survived as an organization if z didn’t have our back.
– san diego. wow, what a place to live.
– my new house. our move has been such a good thing for my family, and this is our first thanksgiving in our new place.
– friends, near and far. i could list hundreds here, literally. so many meaningful relationships across the u.s. and canada, throughout latin america, in the u.k. and australia and new zealand and parts of asia. the world has never seemed smaller to me, and my network of meaningful friendships has never been richer.
– god, who waits for me. i stumbled onto this thought while giving my talks at the nywc in pitts and nash. i think god’s grace is most clearly shown to me these days in god’s willingness to wait for me.
– youth workers i know, and those i don’t. i am continually blessed and encouraged by the stories of people who give of themselves on behalf of teenagers. mmm. so beautiful.
– butter toffee peanuts
– stuffing and gravy (the best part of a thanksgiving meal)
– dvr
– amazon kindle
– good coffee
– music that rocks. music that makes me cry.
– good books
– quality, hand-rolled, long-filler cigars
– my bed
– my pillow
– movies
– occasional upgrades on planes
– noise canceling headphones
– comfortable underwear