Thursday, November 25, 2010

Words To Eat By

Magnet # 402:  Thomas Jefferson Quote

Material:  Acrylic

Purchased By:  Me

I hope you've all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Given the occasion, a quote from one of our Founding Fathers certainly seemed appropriate.  And considering that this particular Jefferson statement regards food, I'm not sure that there are any better for this somewhat gluttonous holiday.  This advice was among the "Canons of Conduct," as some have dubbed them, that the third President would pass on to friends, family members, and admirers.  Some he borrowed from historic sources, while he came up with others himself.  We know of at least two letters he sent out with a list of these Canons of Conduct - one, which listed twelve, went to his granddaughter, Cornelia Jefferson Randolph, while another of only ten was later sent to Thomas Jefferson Smith, a newborn that had been named in his honor.  Others words of wisdom he imparted on these lists included "Never trouble another for what you can do yourself" and "Take things always by the smooth handle."  Of course, he would have done well to better adhere to "Never spend your money before you have earned it" in his own life, as when he passed away, he left his estate such a terrible state of debt that nearly all of his possessions were auctioned away.  But not all of that fault lay in his premature spending.  Regardless, Jefferson's Canons of Conduct is pretty much timeless, and is worth taking into consideration even now.  And this quote certainly seems like sage advice regarding what is perhaps the United States' most overindulgent celebration.  While Thanksgiving may have started off as a way to give thanks for survival, time has evolved it into an opportunity to consume epic amounts of calories, as traditional dishes have taken a decadent turn - fried turkeys and chocolate pecan pies are a couple that spring to mind.  And if you've been cutting back on what you're consuming or just don't want to be miserable for hours after the meal, this really is the time to let Jefferson's words direct your actions.  I admit, I tried to be good this Thanksgiving, and I really felt that I had pulled it off, as I wasn't stuffed at the end of the meal.  But my actions caught up with me nonetheless.  The dish I had the most of was sweet potato casserole, my favorite, and I think it just had more butter in it than my system could handle.  And combined with other rich side dishes, like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable casserole, it sent my body into a pretty sad state.  I spent the rest of the day and the next one lying on the couch, barely able to move.  Luckily, I'm better now.  Still, I guess it proves that we don't just need to be cautious about how much we consume, but also just how much butter, oil, and other fattening add-ins, are included in it.

Despite my later sufferings, I had a great time this Thanksgiving.  I was able to attend a large dinner with neighbors and it was an interesting change to celebrate with so many people.  There were a wide range of ages assembled, and while we ate in three rooms, people often shifted from one table to the next.  It was certainly a change from the quieter Thanksgivings I've had with just my family, but it was fun to be part of such a lively occasion, and to see people who are dear to me that I don't get to be around often.  They even had little place markers made for each one of us on miniature Pilgrim hats that must have taken some time to create and we got to take them home - that was so cute!  I've also been able to include a small excursion in my Thanksgiving holiday to Monroe County, Alabama.  It's home to Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, and we visited the courthouse that inspired part of her novel there.  And we also had a nice time touring the nearby Rikard's Mill Historical Park.  I'm glad that we were able to venture out and enjoy the lovely weather, and that my physical difficulties seem to be behind me.  I guess it's just a reminder for me to be more careful when Thanksgiving comes around next year - while it's great to indulge in some of our favorite dishes during the meal, it's just not worth paying for our actions for the rest of the day, and especially on future ones!


  1. Maybe the after Thanksgiving suffering makes us more content to enjoy our usual meals; which seldom bring such discomfort. That would be another an less obvious way to celbrate thanksgiving.

  2. Interesting suggestion - I think it works.