Giving Thanks for Martha?

Posted on December 4, 2008

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So, finally getting back on my feet after the Thanksgiving + leftovers feast.  My favorite thing about Thanksgiving (and it is my favorite holiday) is the part where you go around the table and say what you're thankful for.  I think it's one of the only times of the year when families tell each other how lucky they are to have one another.  It's very sweet.

That said, as we planned for Thanksgiving dinner, my cousin and I went back and forth about what we should make.  We both grew up either in the midwest or with midwestern parents – you know the big on mashed potatoes and butter types.  So, as we hunted for recipes, we tried to get out of the rut and ratchet up the sophistication factor.  As we looked through Martha Stewart and Food and Wine magazines, I started to think: is there more pressure now that we have Martha?  This goes beyond Thanksgiving to weddings… and really anything that involves entertaining.  Are we all trying to Martha-ize our gatherings?  And if so, is there more pressure to be like Martha than there was to be like the Donna Reed that lives in the history books of another generation?

Then… considering all of that, how has our culture changed with the influence of those eternal perfectionists?  This Chicago Tribune reporter seems to think he has no culture.  But, I disagree (and I'm qualified to comment after living 1/2 my life in the CO town he's talking about).  I think that Martha and Donna (and all the other Food Network stars) are a big part of American culture.  Maybe you're not from Texas or the South where the culture is abound with stereotypes (only a few of which are true), but you are American and if that means a can of cranberry sauce on a Thanksgiving table worthy of Martha Stewart, maybe you should embrace that.

I hope the spirit of American culture (and not just what it looks like in magazines – past or present) is what GenXYZ will pass on to our children.

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