Originally written: November 2006
It’s Thanksgiving Day. If you ask me, it ought to be a daily event. Not the turkey and trimmings but the thanking. I am thankful for the many blessings in my life: a loving and supportive family comprised of my sisters, parents, and significant other; warm and loyal friends; good health (I can be hypochondriac at times, but generally I’m bodily well); working brain (at least when it’s not fogged up by my queer imaginations); and living in an age when burning and hanging innocents are widespread, and women aren’t hierarchically below horses (or dogs, even) as was the case aeons ago in a malicious religious hierarchy concerning what men in robes believed to be the order God sees all living things.
I sent out Thanksgiving greetings to family and friends, and extorted promises of eating an extra helping on my behalf because I won’t be gobbling this year.
This is my second Thanksgiving away from home. The first one happened last year when I celebrated it with family friends in Seattle. Actually, this one would have been my third or fourth had I completed the two-year Peace Corps track, but I didn’t and that’s a different story.
No turkey for me today, but quorn was on the menu.
Praytell, what is quorn? You ask.
On my first encounter with this unpleasant unknown food product, I thought someone in the dining staff was trying to be witty and intentionally misspelled corn. However, when I saw my first quorn dish, there wasn’t a sign of corn anywhere. Using my deductive skills, I deduced that corn is the main ingredient whereby it’s been mashed and processed. As soybean is to tofu, corn is to quorn. Or so I thought. After consulting Wikipedia, I found out how wrong I was. Quorn, as I found out, is a protein-rich substance made from fungus, a soil mold called Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684, which is fermented, dried, then mixed with egg whites (not a Vegan-friendly food because of this)to bind the product.
In our hall, it’s the main ingredient for the vegetarian meals: curried corn, sweet & sour quorn, quorn lasagne, and so many other unsavory creations—quorn in place of meat. That’s right, shiver, my friends. Shiver.
It eerily reminds me of… *Gulp*
Soylent green, anyone?
Needless to say, I stopped choosing dishes that featured quorn as the star ingredient.
This may be my second Thanksgiving away from home but it’s the first sans the traditional Thanksgiving fare. I received an invite earlier in the month about a holiday get-together with fellow American students but I opted out. I decided to spend the day with my circle of friends instead. Since I view the holiday as a day to spend with people I care about, I thought it weird to spend with complete strangers. Someone may argue, how is it different spending it in a Soup Kitchen? Well, if you think about it, those who volunteer in Soup Kitchens (God bless their soul) during the holidays care about the plight of the homeless; the people being served may be strangers but there’s a cause involved. In any case, I made my choice and I chose to dine with friends.
For dinner I had wheat rolls which I generously buttered; creamed tomato soup; a salad of ice berg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers dressed simple vinaigrette; and my main course (drum roll please) fish and chips (don’t cry for me, Argentina, oh I meant dear Reader). For dessert, I had spotted dick. I know the name sounds spotty (pardon the pun) but it’s fairly tasty. It’s served with a custard sauce which in my book makes it yummy. It’s a very unconventional Thanksgiving dinner, and I ironically chose a main dish that I grumbled about to no end last month, but this is pas mal.
Big bird may not have made an appearance on my Thanksgiving dinner menu this year, but overall, I had a good meal and I dined with good company, and I’m thankful for that.