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Thanksgiving: The great American meal

(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

The periodicals lining the supermarket check-out lanes this time of year tantalize with their gorgeous cover models: turkeys, skin perfectly browned, alluringly surrounded by bouquets of fresh herbs; mouth-watering pumpkin pies with piles of fluffy cream; and luxurious mountains of mashed potatoes and other stunning side dishes. The magazines’ headlines make the same claims each November: “Perfect Roast Turkey Made Easy”; “Your Best Thanksgiving Ever”; “Favorite New Family Traditions.” But “perfect,” “easy,” “new” and “best ever” seem exactly the opposite of what the holiday is all about. It’s the imperfection of families, the long-held favorite recipes, the awkward dinner conversation moments and the overcomplicated preparations that make the celebration all that it is – our great communal meal. Just think of it: On this one day each year in homes across the nation, we are sitting down to some version of the exact same feast. The nuances of family a…

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