Pretty late to the game on this topic, but better late than never!!! For class, we read a section of John Stuart Mill’s, “On Liberty.” In Chapter Five, he expresses his opinion that, “There is always need of persons not only to discover new truths, and point out when what were once truths are true no longer, but also to commence new practices, and set the example of more enlightened conduct, and better taste and sense in human life. This cannot well be gainsaid by anybody who does not believe that the world has already attained perfection in all its ways and practices.” He means that we should not accept any thing to be set in stone and we should always be pushing for changes to improve ideas and society. For Thanksgiving, it can easily be assumed that 99% of people eat the exact same meal; people go crazy over the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, green bean casserole, pumpkin, and pecan pie.
In my family, we like to do Thanksgiving a little differently. We are not big fans over “traditional” Thanksgiving food, so we choose to have a “theme” each year. The themes have included Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean, Barbeque, Breakfast, etc. We pretty much just pick the food we are really into eating that week. Mill would probably consider us to think as individuals for our meal.
But when I tell people that I do not eat a “traditional” Thanksgiving meal, their responses are insane. “But it’s a tradition” “Why would you do that” “You’re so unamerican” Sure, some people think it is a cool thing my family does, but a lot of people are against going against tradition.
Which really does not make sense because guess what–what we eat now for Thanksgiving was not even what was eaten at the first Thanksgiving! The only semi-traditional thing that is eaten now is turkey, but the pilgrims also ate ducks, geese, and swans. They also ate a lot of fruits and vegetables (sounds a little too healthy to be on a Thanksgiving table nowadays), fish, shellfish, mussels, and ZERO types of potato or pie. Pretty crazy stuff, huh! I assume that most people would refuse to eat their meal if it was actually traditional, since swan is not the meat of choice for most people.
So thank god someone along the way started to switch up their Thanksgiving feast, or else we would not get to appreciate what is served nowadays. Sticking to traditional ideas is pretty terrible when you can be having something much better like pumpkin pie. So the way to go is to follow Mill’s advice and always be looking for room for improvement and not get stuck on the ways that things have always been!
That’s why people really should not be on my case for having Mexican food for Thanksgiving this past holiday. Maybe I am on to something!