As I watched a cascade of wet leaves swirling around outside my window earlier this morning, it dawned on me: Thanksgiving is next week. If you find yourself staring mindlessly at grocery store displays of cranberry sauce and canned pumpkins, you’re not alone. It seems like so many people are walking around in a daze, feeling like they’d much rather fast-forward past the holidays this year. A strange time though it may be, I can’t imagine skipping the one day of the year when families and friends come together to celebrate and give thanks for all they already have. Pardon the expression, but forgoing Thanksgiving would seem to be un-American…and that’s definitely not the message I want to share with my kids. For those of you who will be sharing a special meal next Thursday, I invite you to check out a poignant new book that couldn’t have come at a better time. Melanie Kirkpatrick’s Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience is a rich history of the holiday that reminds us of our storied roots and humble beginnings. Chapter after chapter contains detailed nuggets of the American celebration, from the arrival of the pilgrims, to the advent of the first Turkey Bowl. Historic readings that beg to be read aloud at the Thanksgiving table are as satisfying as mom’s apple pie…speaking of which, there’s even a noteworthy collection of recipes dating back to the 1800s. (If you ever wanted to try your hand at pumpkin pudding, now’s your chance.) Thumbing through this book, it’s difficult not to see just how far our country has come. Think of it as a slice of hope during a confusing, uncertain time; an extra dollop of whipped cream is optional.
In a Nutshell: Forget your cookbook; this book just might get you in the mood for Thanksgiving dinner. Makes a great hostess gift–or for yourself.