Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Traditional Thanksgiving?

Being the hostess for Thanksgiving dinner has gotten harder over the last few decades.

Traditionally the cook served a dinner whose menu was established by family mores and American customs that were not to be tampered with: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, rolls, and several pies. This was the meal where real butter was used and the after dinner coffee service had real cream (or at least half-and-half).

The first incursions into this meal were made, probably, in the 1980s when the health of the guests began interfering with the recipes. The use of salt was one of the first things to go as more Americans began fighting high blood pressure and then there were the cholesterol problems that began to plague the guests.

Then there was just plain old dieting; calorie cutting came to the Thanksgiving table. Gone were eggnog, custard pies, and homemade cookies with extra colored sugar sprinkled on top.

Today, on top of all those regular old health considerations, the hostess has to figure out who is allergic to what: peanuts, lactose intolerance, soy sensitivity, and gluten problems. And alternative diet lifestyles such as vegetarianism of various stripes can even do in the turkey and the Aunt Martha’s Jell-O mold.

So what’s left on the holiday table? Cranberry sauce, plain steamed vegetables, and, for dessert, …an apple?

And we haven’t even gotten to how today’s tactful hostess decides the seating chart with the various family combinations…

No comments: