Thanksgiving – an English perspective

As an English person, I’ve generally been rather bitter about the extra holiday that Americans benefit from in the last week of November. As the British comedian Jimmy Carr described it on Twitter:

“It’s Thanksgiving today. Long story short it’s where Americans give thanks to the English for inventing them. You’re welcome.”

Before the Americans reading this get offended, don’t worry, I’m deliberately being glib. The establishment of the colonies is a complicated historical event that I’m not going to go into in this post…

Anyway, this year I was very pleased to welcome the holiday (albeit a day late) into my life. On Friday, a community of 40 people gathered in Mile End to celebrate and give thanks – and to eat a vast quantity of food. I am very thankful indeed…

I am thankful that we were blessed with professional chef Richard (and his wife Robin), who flew in from Texas to cook for us. [I am less thankful that the Turkey was named Millicent on Twitter prior to eating – my pseudo-vegetarian sensibilities mean that I’m not so keen on eating named animals. But the fact that Millicent, once cooked, had to be transported from Bethnal Green to Mile End in a taxi rather makes up for it. Comedy.]

I am thankful for the opportunity to use a fiercely powered blender (and learn some new skills). My black-bean hummus may have looked ‘interesting’, but it was delicious. If someone could send a blender my way, I’ll be knee-deep in hummus before I know it!

I wasn’t sure that I’d be particularly thankful for eggnog, but it seems that it is actually the alcoholic beverage of the Gods (at least Shannon’s Step-Dad’s recipe is). Yum.

I’m less thankful for the invention of American Football. The ball is a silly shape, meaning that it doesn’t bounce/travel through the air in the way that one would expect it to. This means that one looks like a total idiot when one tries to kick it in the air, only for it to return to earth narrowly missing one’s head…

I’m especially thankful for the presence of a 5 day old baby at Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for his safe arrival; his intense adorableness; and the fact that I got to hold him for a few blissful minutes. Honestly, there are few ills in the world that can’t be put right by a cuddle with a newborn. [I actually have a theory that there would be fewer wars if world leaders spent more time holding babies…]

Most of all, I’m thankful for Shannon and the Matroyshka Haus community. For Shannon, who had the idea in the first place; and the community that’s gathered around her – both of which are now very special fixtures in my life. A year ago I barely knew most of the people I spent Friday with; now, I see them most weeks.

I believe Thanksgiving is all about family, and I’m really pleased that I got to experience my first one with my London brothers and sisters.

A version of this post originally appeared on Liz’s blog.

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