A Toastmaster’s Thanksgiving Toast
It's November, and that means Thanksgiving for Americans who have so much to be thankful for! Like chunky chocolate chip cookies, plentiful pecan pies and bountiful buffalo wings! The last time I asked for the latter, the takeaway container was bigger than a London flat!
On this side of the Atlantic, many Brits will also celebrate the day, as it marks the plight of the Pilgrim Fathers who, admittedly, were the first 'anti-Brexiteers', as in they voted to leave … the UK.
In many ways the Mayflower crossing was similar to Brexit: costly, never-ending and like many UK politicians, many didn't survive.
Politics aside, I'm a Thanksgiving fan! Suppose the Pilgrim Fathers were running away from religious persecution. In that case, Thanksgiving gives us a chance to run away from 'Health Gurus' persecution and do what is innate in every human: PIG OUT! Oink, oink, burp, burp, 'I want more!'.
My love for Thanksgiving started when I was a child, and my family moved from Spain to upstate New York, to a town so near the Canadian border that we were considered 'exotically foreign'. (Unlike my cousins who had moved to Texas and were called 'idiot immigrants'.
Canadian influence was so significant no one thought 'socialism' was the end of the free world, as many crossed the border to get free medical care.
Thanksgiving Dinner proved that we were fully integrated and living the American Dream. My family and I felt part of Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom from Want', except louder and browner.
I still love that painting, although today, many argue it's not politically correct. There are reasons for this. Let's start with granny's apron. It's our feminist's view that if grandma is wearing an apron, so should Grandpa! Why isn't he helping? The fact that all he'll do is carve the bird is turkey sexism!
Another offending theme is the lack of 'Diversity and Inclusion'. Where are the African Americans, Asian Americans, Oriental Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Aussie Americans and Swedish Americans (who are, by the way, whiter!)?
My humble suggestion is to paint the UN assembly having Thanksgiving dinner and add some drag queens to be safe. As for the LGBT community, they're probably in the painting, but locked up in the closet. It's the 1940's.
Let's not forget the turkey itself. Animal rights groups want proof that the bird was free-range and locally sourced from a humane farmer. Extremists insist the bird should be replaced by tofu. Apparently, you can carve tofu into a turkey shape.
Then there's my American cousin Katie, who celebrates Thanksgiving in a big way. I say big as she is a plus size model, and 'YES!' she will eat four helpings because it's her livelihood! Katie finds the painting very offensive as it does not show any 'curvy size' eaters.
This leads me to the final point. The painting's name: 'Freedom from Want'. Well, that's a downright lie, isn't it? In today's Western World, a turkey, a couple of celery sticks and some jelly won't feed a five-year-old.
So here is my Toastmaster's Thanksgiving toast, 'Change the name to 'Freedom to Ask for More!' and add the following:
A vegetarian option. Let's face it: those celery sticks won't fill the gap … where's the kale? AKA' that green stuff that tastes like newspaper'.
A vegan option (otherwise, they'll start with their martyr–no-one-understands-me tweets), not to mention they could choose to die of hunger at your home, and no home insurance covers that.
Add the whey-free, gluten-free, pineapple & peanut-free, salt-free, sugar-free, lactose-free, yolk-free and free-of-anything else- I- -have-missed options. You don't want to be accused of discriminating against diners who are 'Dietary Challenged'.
Oh! And don't forget to add ham, lamb, cow and pig for out-of-touch-have-no-clue Cro-Magnon meat eaters like me.
I'll stop now … I'm getting hungry. It's time for my double salami, sausage and serrano ham sandwich.
Before I go, here's my fail-proof recipe for kale:
Dye an old newspaper with green food colouring. Dry thoroughly. Shred and drizzle with some olive oil.
Fools them every time. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Sonia Aste is a Harvard MBA, Engineer, MEng, writer, public speaker and comedian. She’s a Toastmaster at Riverside Communicators Club.