Like any food event, the activities surrounding it give the food its layers of meanings and memories. For example, a fresh turkey from Grandpa’s farm carries different emotional associations than one bought in the frozen food section of a national supermarket chain. (The associations are not necessarily better or worse, just different.) For many of us, the days leading up to the Thanksgiving meal and those following it, are just as significant as the meal itself. Planning the menu, selecting the recipes, procuring the ingredients, storing them until use (particularly the turkey), decorating the house and table, taking out the special holiday dinnerware, cleaning up afterwards and dealing with the leftovers are rituals in the same way that eating the meal is. Similarly, the social activities, roles, and relationships accompanying the meal give it much of its power to connect us all.

CONNECT: What are some of your most significant Thanksgiving foodways rituals? Can you describe some memorable foodways events around Thanksgiving from your past? (for example, going to grandparents’ homes to eat; shopping for the turkey; helping bake pies; etc.)

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