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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks For Cans...Ameri-Cans!

My father's idea of Thanksgiving was to pack the family in the car and drive over the Williamsburg Bridge to Chinatown. His go-to place was "Hop Kee" on Mott Street. With his six pack of Budweiser on the table - it was B.Y.O.B. - our annual feast consisted of House Special soup, snails in black bean sauce and crabs in Cantonese sauce. The fare may have been different from what my classmates were eating that same evening but the aftermath was the same - stuffed to the point of exploding.

Try as I might, I was never able to revive my father's Thanksgiving tradition. It's not that my husband wouldn't partake - he'd eat snails in black bean sauce over turkey anytime. For one thing, Hop Kee is no longer that hole-in-the-ground restaurant with really authentic cooking - it's long since been blown out of the water. You'd be lucky to get a table in under forty minutes on a Tuesday - forget Thanksgiving.

Which brings me to the other thing. In New York at least, it seems Thanksgiving is a day to eat out. Back in my day, only the Chinese restaurants were open for business. Now, not only are most restaurants open, you have to reserve in advance to dine on their special Thanksgiving fanfare.

Ah, no thanks.

Thanksgiving, according to what my boys have been reciting from school, is for showing appreciation for what we have.

I looked at them proudly and commended them for bringing that lesson home.

"And what do we have that we should be appreciative of?" I asked, expecting them to say something noble like family, friends or even less noble like a DSI.

"Americans!" The Air Head said.

"Zuki...we are Americans."

Then the little guy piped up. "Canned food!"

Guess that means I could start a new tradition of serving Chef Boyardee for Thanksgiving?

Wishing you and your family the best and only Thanksgiving of 2011.

Art by Isamu (Russo not Noguchi)


  1. I wish we had Thanksgiving over here. I want to know if eating turkey really does actually make you sleepy.
    In my day (God, I feel old saying that) NOTHING would be open on the weekend or Christmas. Now restaurants, shops, malls are all doing a nice little trade. It's just all about the money now...
    P.S Love how you call your son, "Airhead" :)

  2. Our entire family has been invited to join another American family here in Kuwait for Thanksgiving dinner. Sadly, we've had to decline due to prior commitments. But Christmas is still wide open!

    All the best to you and and your family, from our family in Kuwait.

  3. @Grace: Oh, there's no reason you can't celebrate Thanksgiving. According to the rules it's a "cultural" holiday as opposed to a religious one. Everyone can join in on the action!

    @Diplo_Daddy: Then again, there's always next year. And for the record, the day after Thanksgiving is the better because nothing beats leftovers!

  4. Hahahaha! This is another level of "thinking outside the box" Nami. It is a constant source of amazement, how children thinks! Love Samu's art too! For now, you don't have to worry about having to find girlfriends with infamous eyebrows, the art is enough and what a lovely piece of art it is.

  5. Chinese food on Thanksgiving is one of our favorite traditions, which we had to give up this year due to FAMILY obligations. Ugh.
    Hope you and yours had a wonderful day! Oh, and truth be told, I'm pretty thankful for canned goods too. And frozen ones. And Chinese food. Dammit.

  6. Sounds like a cutie! I am thankful for all the food in cans too!

  7. @grapesandoranges: Thanks for the art critique. If he sells it for a dollar, he'll be the first paid artist in our household!

    @Michelle: Trying to pull the milk out of our leftover-stuffed fridge, I have to wonder if this is what the Indians and Pilgrims intended. Then again, it's kinda nice having pumpkin pie for breakfast on Black Friday!

  8. Canned food? How funny! Here in WV it's definitely an eating at home day. Almost no where is open!

  9. @Jamie: Canned food has saved many an unplanned dinner night! I'm grateful, too. Thanks for stopping by!

    @Real Life Reslers: Ironically, this year the Chinese restaurant was closed but the Pizzeria was open. I'm sure that was for the Kid's table.