Thanksgiving: The Macaroni Holiday


If it is fall where you are, goody for you.  It is still ninety something every day here in the Deep South.  Well last month it was one hundred and something, so I suppose those Starbucks pumpkin-spice lattes are justified.  Kidding.  Starbucks pumpkin-spiced lattes are never justified.  Still, it is only 65 days until my favorite holiday.  The countdown starts today.

I could go into some earnest tirade about the farce of the first Thanksgiving or delve more deeply into the childhood trauma when all the boys were pilgrims and all the girls were Indians, and the Indians got to serve the meal.  Seriously, what were you thinking?  But I don’t feel like talking about that today.

What I want to talk about is traditional Thanksgiving Food! The weird thing about Thanksgiving is no matter how much you may or may not like your family, you are pretty much stuck with them for this one.  So how do you know how other people celebrate?  I’ve eaten turkey off the same table cloth for like 45 years now.

Back when I was married, I did attend a few with my husband until I finally decided they were just doing it wrong, and I’d let them ruin Christmas instead.  It really wasn’t all that different in terms of food.  The China was better but you weren’t allowed to actually let your utensils touch the plate lest you scratch it.  By better I mean not Corelle.  It was really the this-is-the-one-opportunity-you-have-per-year-to-demonstrate-your-femininity-through-perfect-piecrust-and-well-behaved-children vibe that got to me.  Also they dismissed my suggestion for sweet potato pie as “well, that would be ethnic, wouldn’t it?” And I failed at ice cube duty and had to watch football with the men.

My family does pie just fine although one might accuse of us putting quantity over quality some years.  Of course one pie per person is not too much.  You don’t want to cook on Black Friday do you?  There is also the yearly retelling of that time my brother set the table cloth on fire by sticking a used match back in the box.  I swear that gets funnier every year.   And it’s even better knowing that if this had happened in my ex’s household, there would be much wringing of hands, blame games, and numerous dips into the female family members’ rather large stash of Prozac.  Oh.  Yes.   I knew.

I realize not everyone celebrates the same way.  But still, the typical spread of turkey and sweet potatoes and cornbread unites us as Americans. Celebration of gluttony is a universal, right? Or so I thought until I came across this image:


Today I learned that I am black.  Except hang on, what is that?  Is that…..macaroni and cheese?  The hell you say. Hang on a second.  I have to make a phone call.

Do you eat macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving?

Yeah.  Don’t you?

I have to call my mother.

Mom!  Mom!  Did you know black people eat macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving?

No.  But that sounds like a great idea!  Are you bringing someone?

Now, you may be laughing at me but I’m not the only one who didn’t know this.  Pat Robertson didn’t know either.  You gotta watch this.  And then you can laugh at me some more.

Me and Pat Robertson.  Thanksgiving.  It brings people together.

I think the reason this tidbit of trivial information seems to produce such a strong reaction is that Pat and I figured we all ate the same stuff on Thanksgiving.  I mean that’s what tradition is, right?  Perhaps it makes us a bit uncomfortable to admit that not only do we not share our homes and traditions on Thanksgiving, we don’t do a lot of celebrating with people we think of as outsiders as all.

I figured I should google it.  Why do white people not eat macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving?

And crowdsource says:

That is a very good question.  I believe it is a black thing.

I’m white. I have never even heard of people eating mac and cheese on Thanksgiving so it must be a black thing.

There’s nothing wrong with eating Mac and Cheese, no matter the day or race.

I’m black, and I’ve never heard of any black people eating mac n cheese on Thanksgiving.  Seriously, I would assume it’s a white thing, actually.

We should all eat mac n cheese on Thanksgiving. I f**king love mac n cheese.

You people have restored my faith in humanity.  Everyone invite someone from outside your family over for Thanksgiving.  There should be mac n cheese.