Thursday, November 23, 2023

Giving thanks in scary times

     “Do you think 28 pounds of turkey is enough?” asked my wife, as we stood by a freezer case in Trader Joe’s.
     She had just muscled two Kosher birds, one 15 pound, one 13, into the cart, waving away my offer to do the lifting, the “as if I haven’t been flinging these things around a kitchen myself for years” being unvoiced.
     “Well,” I ventured. “Twenty five guests, about a pound per person should ..."
     “A lot of it is bone,” she interjected. Not to inform me, I hope. I don’t think she really feared I’m so culinarily clueless as to imagine whole turkeys are solid chunks of meat — I do sometimes carve them, though invariably am body-checked away by a relative capable of more finesse with a blade.
     Last year we had three turkeys — one roasted, one deep-fried, one smoked. That was deemed “too much turkey,” though not by me. I want to spend the next few days assembling plates of cold leftovers, turkey and stuffing, and eating them standing in the kitchen, and assume every guest does too.
     “You are making five pounds of salmon,” I observed. For the pescatarians — those who shun meat, but whose moral code nevertheless allows them to eat fish: sentient creatures, innocently plying the waters, nuzzling their young with human-like affection, at one with nature and the divine until a cruel hook yanks them into the suffocating air.

To continue reading, click here.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Neil.

  2. 🚶🏽‍♀️Trans John/Karen 3/22November 23, 2023 at 7:20 AM

    And the same back at the Steinberg family.
    Hopefully we can all take a few days to reflect on what we HAVE been blessed with. Part of becoming superannuated, like 50 years and up, is looking back and appreciating all the good you’ve known, and reconciling with and hopefully understanding -as much as possible- the less pleasant situations.
    By the end of the weekend I’m sure we’ll all be ready to refocus on the exacerbating questions of day to day life. You know, like, which one is Hall and which one is Oates?
    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

  3. Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Thank you Neil…..and gosh, don’t we have a beautiful day to celebrate.

  5. Beautifully said. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to all

  6. To prove that some of Neil's readers are less thankful than others, I have to register a complaint with Mr. Steinberg with regard to the photo on the front page of today's paper: my first reaction was, "What the hell is she carrying? Looks like a pot of gruel or in keeping with the season, maybe a plate of gravy." The caption stating that the woman was carrying a pumpkin pie was just barely believable. I'm well aware that our dear host is not responsible for such things, but needed to get that off my chest, hoping it doesn't spoil the blog for the truly thankful commenters and Neil himself.


    1. As a lifelong Iowan, I'm curious as to what town in Iowa the wedding that you're attending will be.

  7. Thoughtful, hopeful. Thank you.

  8. Bingo. Yet another holiday homer, Mr. S. You seem to be on a hitting streak these last few Thanksgivings. Your final comment about having a grim Thanksgiving, maybe the crappiest holiday ever, took me back to my worst one...exactly 45 years ago (11-23-78). Without a doubt, the lowest and emptiest point in my life.

    At 31, I was single, hungry, jobless, friendless, broke, alone, lonely, horny, and felt barely alive in my cold Evanston apartment (broken boiler, so no steam heat). But things did get better, Mr. S,, after that terrible winter ('78-79 was one of Chicago's all-time worst).The darkest hour is just before dawn.

    Got hired by a LaSalle Street brokerage. Began dating a neighbor down the hall. Ended up living with her, and eventually married her. It didn't last, but after our divorce (and another sad and somber time), I reconnected with my college sweetheart and soulmate. If you want love to work, wait until you're 45.

    We're comfortably retired, in a small but cozy bungalow. Our 31st anniversary is coming up, in less than two weeks. I married into a big, healthy, robust, satisfied, German hockey family...three generations of players and coaches. The key word here is satisfied. The exact inverse of my own sad and dysfunctional tribe, where somebody was always disgruntled, pissed off, or bitching about somebody or something.

    Just came back from Thanksgiving dinner. Young couples, and a new arrival--born in September--but how and when did everybody else start looking so old? This old geezer has a carcass to slice and dice tomorrow...what I call my yearly "turkey work." I have so much to be thankful for. Lou Gehrig, move over...after all these years, I'm still the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

    1. “ If you want love to work, wait until you're 45.” At 45, I had one child in college and one in high school. Glad I didn’t wait! Coming up on our 40th anniversary. One of many things I’m thankful for.

      I was too busy yesterday to read this column, but I hope our host and all my fellow readers enjoyed a wonderful holiday with loved ones.

    2. Hey, you make it sound like I was a virgin or a recluse. Not exactly. By 45, I had lived with a Swede after college and spent another 13 years with that Norwegian neighbor. But German girls are best. Yes.

      The keyword in that sentence was "work." As in work out. The first two didn't. The third time was the charm. Kids? I knew I would never willingly have any by the time I was ten, mainly because my abusive father and his brothers were such pieces The buck stopped here.

    3. Grizz, in '79 I worked for PWJC at the CME, offices at 208 S. LaSalle. In '80 I moved kitty-corner to 135 South. Both properties now being considered for remodels to residences. Perhaps we passed on the sidewalk or imbibed at Brokers or Berghoffs. I would sometimes imagine I could smell the currency when I walked by the Fed! Hope Every Damn one us had a happy Thanksgiving.

    4. In '79 I was working at a municipal bond brokerage office that was located in the old Midwest Stock Exchange building. By '81 I was at EF Hutton, in the Board of Trade Building. And 135 S. LaSalle was one of the most beautiful Art Deco buildings I've ever seen. Its lobby was magnificent. And now rich people will be able to LIVE there? The mind boggles.

      Brokers Inn was pretty young and rowdy, so I didn't go there...i was already in my mid-thirties. You could smell the weed at the CBOT, and people snorted coke in the stairwells. Those South Side Irish traders were a wild bunch.

      They were building the new addition and trading floor while i worked there. One morning, a falling bolt barely missed my cabeza. A bit closer, and I'd have been a construction accident statistic at 33.

      Proposed to my first wife at the Berghoff, with a ring made from a diamond that I found in the snow at the Botanic Garden. I miss the creamed spinach and the wiener schnitzel. German food is best!

  9. SandyK
    Thank you Neil and all EGD readers.
    Thanksgiving Day always brings home to me what a loving family means.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.