Hi! Happy almost-Thanksgiving! Do I have any non-American subscribers? If so, happy regular week in November.
I’m going to take Wednesday off for the holiday, so no Wednesday post this week. If you are very bored at work on Wednesday and need some of my content specifically while you run out the clock, you can revisit Lizzie McGuire Reviewed or my writing for Lebeau’s Le Blog’s Oscar coverage.
Okay! Recs to get you through the last Monday of this holiday week, or a regular Monday on a regular week if you’re in another country.
This is lovely and moving
I love this piece by Nina Coomes, “Why My Family Takes a Thanksgiving Vow of Silence.” It was written a few years ago and I’ve thought about it every Thanksgiving since — a nice reminder that traditions are whatever you choose to create and holidays mean whatever you decide that they do.
The retreat gave us all time away from the bewilderment we tended to experience around American holidays. By the time we first visited St. Mary’s, we had lived in the US for almost five years, but holidays and the surrounding sociocultural expectations were still a source of stress for us. Spending the weekend in silent contemplation and companionship proved a good way for my family to ease into the American holiday season; to take what we appreciated and understood—quality time together, to reflect and feel grateful—and leave what we didn’t, such as football, Black Friday shopping, and the white-meat portion of the turkey. Silence provided us with a touchstone to return to what we held dear as we continued to acclimate to a new country and culture.
Just one recipe, you probably have enough recipes this week
Every year, my family makes this cranberry bread to snack on during the day of Thanksgiving before the big dinner is served. For years when I was little, family members would gush about “Granny’s cranberry bread” and ask her to hand-write the recipe to pass it along through the generations and then one year my mom realized it was just the recipe on the bag of cranberries. Thanksgiving is about being thankful even if you come from a lineage of idiots.
Anyway, shoutout to Ocean’s Spray for this fantastic recipe, which I’m already craving desperately. You can substitute butter for the shortening it calls for, though my family doesn’t, and we use pecans but you can use walnuts if you prefer. We slice the bread and toast it in a toaster oven so it’s a little crispy on top and then we top it with cream cheese, which is absolutely perfect with the zing of the orange zest and cranberries. It’s a great tradition even if it was based on fraud.
Podcasts for your travels
I can’t believe I haven’t recommended either of these great podcasts yet! If you haven’t gotten into “Reply All” before, the latest episode is a fantastic intro. Called “Thank You For Noticing,” it seeks to answer a simple question from a listener: who is the man posting Google Reviews with UFOs photoshopped into the accompanying pictures? “Reply All” is a podcast about the stories behind all the weirdness on the internet. Other great recent episodes include the straight-up bonkers “30-50 Feral Hogs”and delightfully twisty “Bedbugs and Aliens.”
“Heavyweight” is a bit stranger, but I love it just as much. Each episode features eccentric host Jonathan Goldstein trying to fix a moment from someone’s past that has stuck with them through the years. “Jesse” is a great introductory episode, in which a man who was hit by a car wants to find the driver who almost killed him to thank him for changing his life. “Beverly and Van,” about a woman who wonders if her grandmother’s best friend was really her unrequited love, is a recent one that’s quite moving. A much lighter episode is the very funny “Rob,” wherein comedian Rob Corddry tries to prove to his family that he did break his arm as a child, an event no one remembers but him. Each episode is weird and winding and touching.
I need to make sure everyone sees this
Look at this interview with a rugby player! Who is he! I love him.
Okay, that’s a wrap for now. Have a very lovely week! I am thankful for all of you and I’m not just saying that because it’s seasonally appropriate! I mean it! Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you all next Monday. ☺️