It’s Thanksgiving and We Haven’t Cooked a Turkey for Our Friends and Family in Years

A tale of culinary exploration and the evolution of family

Lon Shapiro

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Not a political statement about the 46 million turkeys killed each year for Thanksgiving, but it does make you think. Author illustration, using photo from the Library of Congress.

It wasn’t exactly a writing prompt, but my great friend and only remaining far, Roz, inspired me to write about Thanksgiving after I read her story.

When our kids were little, Thanksgiving was a special time for our family.

While my wife is the real chef, I helped out doing prep work and throwing out ideas. Way back in the 90s, we experimented with whole grain granola for the stuffing. Even though I’m not really an arts and crafts guy, I made a watermelon fruit tray that looked like a TV set.

And, unlike the indestructible BeBop Piñata we made for my son’s seventh birthday, people had no trouble digging in.

I’d like to think that the fun we had with the kids preparing a special family meal influenced their budding talents in the kitchen.

I’d also like to think that my one great culinary achievement — the birthday barbeque of June, 2006 — made our sons feel that cooking could be a man’s thing, too. I certainly basked in the glow of that brief moment. How cool is it when your sons’ college-age friends ask “is your dad going to barbeque?”

I squeezed every drop of street cred out of that one, but now my younger son is the master griller and my only job is to check the temperature of the wood smoker every hour and add wood, if necessary. I don’t complain and you wouldn’t, either, if you tasted his amazing tri tip and ribs.

Thanksgiving evolved as did our family.

As the kids grew, my wife went back to school to become an R.N. In 2008, she took a job in labor and delivery, which limited her Christmas vacation time. In order to take off both Christmas and New Years every two years — so we could visit her…

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Lon Shapiro

High quality creative & design https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro athlete & high quality performance coach. Teach the world one high quality joke at a time