By Chef Selwyn Richards
In Canada, on the second Monday in October, and in the United States, on the last Thursday in November, people come together with family and friends to share a Thanksgiving meal.
A Thanksgiving gathering can consist of many people or just a few. No matter how many, the holiday is well known for the get-togethers that ensue. How will you conduct your giving thanks gathering this year?
Here are just a few ideas if you’re looking for something different this Thanksgiving.
The purpose of Thanksgiving is fellowshipping with others. This can be done at one sitting at a big table, surrounded by lots of people, or throughout the day, in several places. Some people pride themselves on how many different houses they can hit for some good food on Thanksgiving.
While the one meal at a set time is what most people observe, it can be, and is, different for everyone. One way for people to spend time together, reflect and give thanks for the current year is to set up a buffet-style meal. Beginning at a predetermined time, the prepared food is set out for all to enjoy. With this style of dinner, family and friends can come and eat, at their leisure, for an hour or two.
In a buffet-style dinner, family can share happy times, good food, and not feel obligated to stay around should they need to leave and visit other family or friends at another get-together. It also makes it easier for the guys to sit in front of the television to eat and watch the game.
Although a buffet-style Thanksgiving meal isn’t necessarily one where everyone sits at a fancy table but may be doing different things, friends and relatives are present in the same household, laughing with one another and that’s what the holiday is all about — togetherness and thankfulness.
Another way to have your meal is at a soup kitchen with someone who has no family. Volunteers eat at home earlier, and then go to serve at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving Day. They sit and talk with those less fortunate and pass the peace of God at the same time. It is time well spent and a good meal. You’ll definitely make someone’s day, who might not have otherwise had a reason to be thankful.
If you are a house-hopper, check with the various homes you will visit to be sure that it is okay to arrive at a certain time. Some folks observe dinner time and want you to wait until after the big meal is over. Many times, if they know how you operate, they’ll make allowances and welcome you with open arms, no matter what time you arrive. Besides, if you eat a big meal with family, then head to a friend’s house in time to share dessert with them, it is perfect timing.
The thing to do on Thanksgiving Day is to graze anyway. People eat a little and sit and talk. Then they eat some more and the process begins again. It’s easier to keep from falling asleep that way, too.
During your gathering, will you be a stickler for the sit down meal or try another way to share a meal at the holiday gathering? Thanksgiving gatherings are for the four F’s — fun, food, family, and friends. Don’t forget to count your blessings and be thankful for being able to share in all those things on Thanksgiving Day, and every other day too!
Selwyn Richards is an award-winning master chef. He is also the President and Executive Chef at The Art of Catering Inc. and is the author of “The Art of Cooking: Soul of The Caribbean”. Chef Selwyn can be reached at: email@example.com or by phone — (905) 619-1059.