Tag Archives: Holidays

Happy 4th Of July To Us!

Even though this 4th of July was on a Wednesday, the worst day for holidays to fall on, did that stop our country from observing our Independence Day? Hells no. Because there is still one thing Americans can all agree on, and that is to celebrate our country’s great accomplishment fought with sweat, blood and brains by drinking cheap beer, eating BBQ and blowing things up! Maybe it’s not highfalutin enough of a commemoration for the people who came up with the fancy battle plans for the revolution, elite catch phrases like “No Taxation Without Representation,” and who dreamt up this smarty tarty new form of government we so reverently uphold today, but our 4th of July parties are more than enough to hail our real heroes: the dumb and dirty willing to carry out the tasks set forth by the elites. These were the people needed to fight against the Brits, to get wasted and put on some Mohawk warrior costumes before getting on a ship to dump some tea into a harbor, and to prove themselves such a sad lot in need of governing that a new form of government was needed to wrangle them together.

There are a lot of liberals out there that worry we no longer choose government officials by their level of intelligence, but by how relatable and similar they are to us. But this is nothing new, it’s something we’ve been gradually learning is the right way to pick our leaders. Since the American Revolution, we’ve come to recognize who gets things done around our country–people like us! Just go to a party. Who is it that gets the pizza late at night when everyone’s drunk and starving while the smart people stay home and prepare for their futures? The dumb drunk person! Who are the ones actively saving our economy by buying non-essential things they can’t afford? We the people! And should there be a need to take up arms, who would you trust with a gun? A dude who’s been shooting guns into the air without thinking of where that bullet might land every 4th of July, or the person who’s never held a gun in his life? That’s right, you’d choose the dangerous dumb guy.

Seems clear to me, we love ourselves and love to celebrate and promote those most like us. Which is why on this day after our national holiday, we should give a toast to us–the people who get things done.

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Thanksgiving with Friends or Family

My friend Dionne hard at work in the kitchen

Can everyone’s younger sibling that still goes on about the tragedy of celebrating Thanksgiving please leave the room? We’re talking Thanksgiving–the All-American feast of food where we reap the rewards of our abundant produce and edible imports from around the world, so that at no given time throughout the year our people are never without avocados or strawberries. Food–it’s our national obsession. To become a citizen it’s required you overindulge in it and watch hours of TV shows watching people eating it, preparing and eating it, and eating it and commenting on eating it. Food is what brought our nation’s people together before killing each other and ripping one group of people from their homes. We don’t even care if food is good on this foodie day, until you’re halfway through a bland mash of green beans and potatoes.

If you’re staying home for the holidays and celebrating with a bunch of “orphans,” your taste buds will most likely be graced with a meal prepared by the best cook, who is most inspired and who resides in the coziest setting. If it’s family, the host is usually the worst cook but she/he is dependable and does it every year and we call it tradition. Of course in this day and age there is also the TDay Potluck or TDay Wild Card/Bi-Polar–as some dishes may turn out heavenly while other recipes cull from a guest’s family’s tradition.

I myself give thanks this year for not having to spend it with family.  If I did, my husband and I would travel to Houston, where my mom takes over cooking duties and as a guest, I can only sit back and give thanks. As someone who loves to cook, it always makes me a little crazy to hand over a holiday with such exciting produce options to my mom who prefers to make everything from a can or box. Not that I blame her too much–the woman has always hated cooking but loves that she has to do it or else…EVERYONE WOULD STARVE TO DEATH!  Obviously this has always been of critical concern:

What I especially find interesting about the family TDay meal is that it somehow always reeks a little of the same dishes mom used to make almost every day of the week. Difference of course being the turkey, cranberry sauce from a can (my mom must have the can-formed rings around the jelly), and the yams from a can covered in marshmallows (as wrong as that is I admit it’s yummy). The rest was same ol’ same ol’.  I’m Cuban so what we had was most likely different from what you had, but trust me when you have the following at least 3 times a week in some kind of random rotation, even if it tastes good, it is not exotic or exciting: picadillo–a kind of Cuban chili my mom would make use of on TDay to stuff the turkey, boiled yuca, mashed potatoes from a box, salad of greens and tomatoes, black beans and rice, tostones (smashed fried plantains–not the sweet kind) or platanos fritos (fried plantains–the sweet kind), a so-called baguette from the grocery store bakery, and for dessert, flan. Now the flan was a thrice yearly thing my sibling and I actually got excited about because as opposed to what you might think from that picture above, my mom never had anything sweet around the house except for maybe frosted corn flakes which we coveted.

My Mom's holiday flan one year. She couldn't find a platter big enough.

No this year, I have chosen to spend it with friends, where the food is always different and tastes festive. Where conversation do not mirror super committee political debates that lead to nowhere and wine always flows. I give thanks this year to staying put and keeping my eye on the food prize. I am American and I will be stuffed!

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