Thanksgiving in the USA is everything and more, than you expect. Seen it on the Telly ? Well Americans love Holidays, and Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday in America, even bigger than Christmas.
The law dictates that one is not allowed to advertise "Happy Christmas" instead the more politically correct greeting is "Happy Holidays" now that bugs me as it bugs most Americans, but thats freedom of expression for you.... A local store was even advertising Christmas trees as "Holiday Trees" Well the activists are up in arms about that you will be glad to know.
Anyhow ...back to Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is traditionally the fourth Thursday in November, celebrated since the Pilgrims fathers landed in America. Thanksgiving Day in America is a time to offer thanks, of family gatherings and holiday meals. A time of turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. A time for Indian corn, holiday parades and giant balloons.
Now the latest way to cook turkey is to deep fry it, however before I experienced the gastronomic delight of deep -fried turkey I would have also echoed your sentiments said "yugh", but having tasted this delicacy I can now recommend it heartily, the only trouble is, it takes an incredible amount of oil to cook a 6kg turkey, our little bird probably took 25 litres of oil to cook the little darling, eek, and with our oil shortage ?
Anyhow it was delicious, succulent, moist, unbelievably good, wonder what the customs officer would say if I arrived home with a deep fried turkey cooker?
Now Thanksgiving is the time when ALL families gather, from all over America and indeed from all over the world. Americans do not get a lot of holidays but the day before Thanksgiving has the most traffic of the whole year. College students go home in droves, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers all make sure they get together with their offspring where ever they be. The freeways boast legendary traffic jams, the airports are packed solid with folk anxious to get home to their loved ones.
Staggering amounts of turkeys are eaten, and the odd thing is that most stores give you a FREE butter ball turkey if you spend fifty dollars or more, so you can stock up and have a deep fried turkey every week if you can afford it.
Of course one has to avert one's mind from the way the turkeys are bred and matured, no such thing as a free range turkey at Thanksgiving time!!
Traditional fare in Texas at Thanksgiving is of course, in addition to turkey, - sweet potato pie with marshmallows !! green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, followed by pumpkin pie or pecan pie and cream so thick you can stand your spoon up in it..
The day after Thanksgiving has an aura of its own too, as this is the day to take the family shopping.
Stores, boasting fabulous sale specials, open at 6.30 a.m and the queues start to form at 5 a.m. !! This is the day in American economy when the most money is spent the entire year !! It surpasses even the Christmas shopping frenzy.
The important thing to do however, if you live in Zimbabwe, and you are lucky enough to get to visit the USA, is to get to there slightly before Thanksgiving.
If you can get through the first few days of being in an American food store without succumbing to the shakes and jitters, carefully avoiding the natural palpitations associated with the transition from a Zimbabwe supermarket to an average sized Tom Thumb or Albertsons or Kroger...
If you can bring yourself to walk past the rows of krispy kreme doughnuts, the myriads of cinnamon buns, the vast shelves of breads, pastries, cheeses and delicatessen items, without going into anaphylactic shock, you do, I promise, eventually get used to this strange, wonderful, way of life.