Traditions

Football. Turkey. Family. Oh my, did I mention football? The first professional Thanksgiving Day football game was played in 1920.  In 1939, Thanksgiving was moved to the third Thursday in November, because President Roosevelt wanted to add more Christmas shopping days to the holiday season. This really upset football coaches because it was “disrupting the game schedule.” Football prevailed and Thanksgiving was moved back to the fourth Thursday. 

I do recall as a child my mother, aunts and grandmother working hard in the kitchen while the men stayed in the living room watching football. Every now and then, an uncle might wander haplessly into the kitchen and was met with shouts of, “Get out of here, we’ll let you know when dinner is ready.”

My grandmother liked to point out to the men huddled in the living room that all the women in the kitchen had sharp knives and wouldn’t put up with any shenanigans. I think she was kidding, yet Thanksgiving cooking was serious business back in the day. And women ruled the kitchen!

Times have changed. We welcome men into the kitchen. Cook the dinner! Now, our homes have great rooms with massive televisions, connected to our spacious kitchens outfitted with double ovens, six-burner stoves, toaster ovens and Instapots. Everyone can be everywhere at the same time and not miss any action. Roast a turkey, watch a touchdown, grab a drink and the miracle of modern appliances means that all of the food can stay hot while serving. 

Americans cook about 46 million turkeys during the holidays. And 68% of Americans really don’t care for Thanksgiving side dishes like green bean casserole, and most people are not crazy about turkey. An Instacart survey found that although folks would rather have something else for Thanksgiving dinner, they eat “the usual” for the sake of tradition. 

Did you know that Butterball has had a Turkey Talk-Line open for over 40 years? The “turkey experts” answer about 100,000 questions each year. Do not thaw your turkey out in the bathtub! Do not place an outdoor turkey fryer next to your house! Never use water to put out a grease fire! Some fire departments have coined the slogan, “Don’t turn your Butterball into a fireball!” Yikes, who knew that cooking a turkey could be so dangerous?

Evidently, a Thanksgiving “tradition” is that people get up on ladders. Be careful, dear readers, as each year there are about 165,000 emergency room ladder injuries that occur around the holidays. I just got up on a ladder and I am happy I lived to write about it. Breaking all of my own rules, I was home alone when I marched up three steps and grabbed a platter off of a shelf. Ladder accidents and holidays go together like eggnog and rum. It’s all good, until it is not. So don’t drink and climb.

‘Tis the season to get the ladder, trim the tree, bake, cook, eat and watch football. Hang the holly with care. Need a ladder? Beware. Sip spiked eggnog if you dare. The holidays are here.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.