Saturday, November 25, 2006

Pass the Politeness, please?

The family thanksgiving dinner I’m used to involves a distinct measure of offensive joke-telling, laughing with mouths full and wide open, the unbuckling of belts at the dinner table, drunken monologues, insult contests (“Hey, harry nutsack, pass me the yucca con mojo will ya?” “Sure, sweaty undercarriage, mind passing the platanos when you’re done?) and, because there are usually frijoles negros on our tabletop, a belching and/or farting contest. The men end up passed out on the couch in front of the TV with their hands down their pants en el estilo de Homer Simpson while the women congregate in the kitchen to tend to the seemingly XX’s responsibility to clean up the mess. (That’s old fashioned latin culture at it’s best for ya!)

Throw in a divorce, allow to ripen a few years, invite a few non-latinos over (or 15 as was the case around our thanksgiving table this year for a ratio of 5:1 gringos:latinos) and poof, the culture of thanksgiving (and all other holidays for that matter) is changed! Strange. Curious. Provocative.

We all gathered around the three conference tables we’d lined up, shoved together and covered with green tablecloths (all in various stages of fading) to a menu that was all-American (with the exception of the Cuban Pernil a la Criolla that I couldn't resist making):

Yam Frits with Saffron aioli*
Baked Artichoke dip with Sourdough baguettes*
Tossed Green Salad
White Bean Salad*
Roasted Spiced Winter vegetables*
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potatoes baked with marshmallows
Cornbread rolls
Macaroni and Cheese
Mashed potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Pernil (Roasted Pork)*

Pecan Pie (2 different ones)
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

*Cooked by me, and thus, of estimable taste and quality. Well, except for the artichoke dip...note to self, pick a different recipe next time.

The congregation was polite…chewed food remained behind courteously closed mouths, belts stayed buckled, jokes were overwhelmingly squeaky clean (certainly there was no mention of sweaty or harry anything), and Homeslice’s joint problem seemed to temporarily wane. Conversation centered around food, work, and weddings…Ms.Artsy and Banana (my two friends from college) both got married earlier this year (The Queen’s Own was actually Banana’s wedding photographer!) and, ofcourse, Daddio and Italiana are aiming to get married in May 07. At one point, Homeslice, who’d somehow managed to seat himself at the newlywed and about-to-wed end of the table looked like he needed a rescue. I was making conversation with Italiana, so I deployed The Queen’s Own (who, suffice it to say, among other things, has a “knack” for talking right through awkward silences…hence one of the reasons why he’s been deemed [by me] The Patron Saint of Thoughtfulness, Generosity, and Talking Too Much). Needless to say, he recovered the situation splendidly.

All in all, an extremely polite thanksgiving event. While I enjoyed that this new culture allows for some of the XY’s to help out in the cleaning duties, I must say, I kind of missed the drunken monologues and the dirty humor. But, as I rejoined The Brit and Homeslice with a new round of beers in our favorite dive bar yesterday, I was just in time to enter a conversation on the importance of trimming pubes (I believe the words “putting green” were used) and thought…ahhh yes, back to the status quo. Thank goodness!

Great SF weather on Thanksgiving Day.

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