Being English, or shall I say, British, Thanksgiving is not a festival generally celebrated within my realm. But I know that plenty of you reading this are from places that celebrate Thanksgiving, and that Thanksgiving in the context of being a picky eater can be a source of stress.
The closest analogy I can think of is with our own traditional family British Christmas dinner. Turkey, stuffing, sausagemeat, bread sauce and oodles of various veg. Myself, I eat my own personalised subset of this (aka turkey, potatoes and gravy), and I have to say it is probably my most favourite meal of the whole year. I know that not everyone is this lucky.
But once that main course is over, that’s the end of the meal as far as I’m concerned. Christmas pudding? Christmas cake? They don’t count as food to me. No way, no how. To my mind, a Christmas dinner is a one-course meal, end of story. My mother always asks me what she should get or make for me to have for pudding on Christmas day. Now, while I do appreciate that, the thing is, there isn’t anything traditionally “Christmas” that I would be able to eat. You could substitute with an everyday pudding that I love, but then it wouldn’t be Christmas dinner, would it?
Which makes me sort of understand how people might feel at Thanksgiving (or Christmas) if there was nothing in the traditional cornucopia that they could eat. These festivals are about ritual, and it just so happens that for “normal” people, the ritual foods happen to all be highly edible. For many people with SED though, I think these occasions translate into a choice between satisfying one’s hunger, and participating in the ritual. These options are mutually exclusive.
So is it preferable to join in with these ritual foods but just not eat them, or to bring your own picnic so you can join in with the eating? For me, it’s definitely the former. It’s not so much about eating together, as about sitting round the table together, and the table must only have on it the traditional ritual foods.
But what of those of you who can’t eat turkey? Is it better to substitute, or to not eat at all?