No thanks

no-thanks

Well, well. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good rant. And lookie — here’s a magazine article just begging for it, and on a day when I have some free time.

The November issue of Waitrose Food Illustrated, the magazine of Britain’s upscale Waitrose supermarket chain, has a column about Thanksgiving, titled “Thanks, but no thanks.” It’s subtitled “A sanitised version of Thanksgiving’s grotesque cuisine is now a staple of British food magazines; Liz Marcy despairs.”

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

The column explains to British readers the true disgustingness of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, it’s not yet online, so I’ll have to excerpt it. Can we start with a sneer? Why, yes, we can!

Broadly speaking, this festival commemorates the arrival of a group of English religious dissidents in America. In 1621, they held a feast to celebrate the fact they’d survived persecution, weeks at sea and a rocky couple of years living on nuts and berries provided by the locals (whose largesse was rewarded with disease, dispossession and death)…

Now, I know one should never write about the USA without assuring readers that the country totally sucks. But did the author have to trot out such a tired cliche? Especially considering that the column includes an illustration of a “typical” Thanksgiving dinner, in which all the kids around the table are wearing Indian headdresses, complete with feathers.

But onward. Is there any upside to celebrating the Pilgrims’ genocidal regime? Well… “no presents, no cards, and no religious ceremonies.”

All you have to do is eat. And maybe watch a little football (actually, the only way to watch an American football game — a four hour pause punctuated by brief bouts of violence — is in a food-induced coma).

But then comes the downside: the meal, which is “downright bizarre.” The author warns, “Those of a delicate disposition should look away now.” She goes on to list the “infamous,” “baffling, jarringly mismatched dishes” that constitute the “mandatory” Thanksgiving dinner: Turkey; sweet potatoes (“mashed and served with marshmallows on the top”); and

the cranberry relish: this comes tin-shaped. Seriously, tradition has it that you simply up-end the can of gelatinous relish onto a dish, where it remains in its ribbed-for-your-pleasure cylindrical state until somebody pokes in a spoon.

She also bemoans the “mandatory” jello salad, “yes with the main course. Some gravy with that?” and the green bean casserole, with ingredients “selected at random” — “Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, tinned green beans, tinned (really) fried onions. Mix, bake in oven, serve. And discard, presumably.” She adds “to the above roll-call of shame” the mashed potatoes and stuffing and rolls that lead, inexorably, to the horrid desserts.

I just have one question: How did she find the sole table in the United States where all these dishes were served for dinner? Was it in the green room before a taping of Jerry Springer? At a retro, 1950s Irony Nite party? Or did she perhaps conjure this fantastical nightmare meal after hearing snide comments from fellow guests at a chic dinner party? No, seriously, I want to know — I’ve never had green bean casserole or jello for Thanksgiving, and I want to know who’s serving it up. Outside of the Appalachia of the author’s imagination, that is.

She ends with:

Of course, the strongest evidence that the Thanksgiving feast can be knocked squarely into a cocked hat by your most run-of-the-mill (Great) British Sunday lunch is the fact that these people seem not to have even heard of roast potatoes.

“These people”! Woo! Jackpot! I’ve never been called “these people” before.

The point of Thanksgiving is that “these people” take the day to get together with family and spend time appreciating each other, maybe even reflecting and expressing what they’re thankful for.

And there are about 200,000 of these people living in the UK as expatriates. We shop for Thanksgiving. But this year, this person isn’t shopping at Waitrose.

UPDATE: Keep the comments civil, people. See my post above.

53 responses to “No thanks

  1. And “traditional” British cuisine is the apex of culinary achievement? I lob two food grenades in her direction: brown sauce and “salad cream.” I’m not, however, releasing the custard because I like that stuff (and it’s a good way of distinguishing dessert from the main course).

  2. Patti, I was willing to let Canadians (fellow Thanksgiving-celebrators) sit this one out, but thanks for wading into the fray. Yes, do hang onto the custard. It can be deadly.

  3. I’m sure Ms Marcy thinks British food is the best. After all, we do have the wonder that is Black Pudding for breakfast (gag). How could anyone surpass congealed blood formed into sausages?

    (Salad cream is awesome, btw. It covers up the taste of even the worst cooking, so you can eat it and then pretend to like it.)

  4. Being neither American nor British, I’ll stay out of the cultural debate (do check my latest for some Greek festive treats, though, and be brutal in your assessment). Still, I found the attitude of Waitrose too stiff-upper-lip and posh in all the worst ways (snobby rather than classy) long before reading this. I’ll keep shopping fairtrade at Sainsbury’s.

  5. My friend’s fiancee is American, so for the past three years a group of us has celebrated Thanksgiving with her in Ireland. The food is great (how come I’d never tasted sweet potato pie before?!), but mostly we all really love the idea of taking stock and expressing thanks for the good things we have in life. And in a bit of meta-thanksgiving, we always give thanks for the fact that we are giving thanks at Thanksgiving – it usually makes sense at the time!

    So I will jump in and defend the holiday, and the food, to the hilt.

  6. I love being one of “those people!” We even have jello and green beans! We enjoy the family and a little football. God bless America!

  7. I must admit that sweet potatoes with marshmallows is a strange combo. I had a typical Thanksgiving dinner cooked for me here in SA by my American son-in-law.

    Currently the exirement in the house is running high because in 3 weeks time they are arriving for a 3 week visit with my 2 gorgeous granddaughters aged 2 and 4.

  8. 3 words….What a Bitch.

  9. I thought America was founded by a bunch of rich, white guys who didn’t want to pay their taxes.

    Maybe with the coming administration I can admit to being American without adding, “but don’t hold it against me.”

    Kidding aside, Thanksgiving, to me, has always been about gratitude for family and loved ones.

  10. Do we go around telling her that Boxing Day is a waste of a holiday or perhaps they should have some “real” holidays instead of “Bank” Holidays. Americans are patriotic, we love our culture and our customs…cranberries out of a can and all! God Bless America, God Bless the turkey coma, God Bless Pumpkin Pie!

  11. Bless you, Stacey. I come from a southern Illinois family where Jello is mandatory at family gatherings (otherwise the grand-kids mutiny). And yes, Meg, we often have green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes with marshmallows, even devilled eggs. And no member of my family has been on Jerry Springer. And can someone explain to me why it is a bad thing to the Brits that the point is to gather for a traditional meal with family to count your blessings?

  12. Assentia, I have teenage boys — they’d consider your Greek, pork-based dishes to be heaven-sent.

    Monita, does this mean you’re saving me some portions? Please? Especially the devilled eggs.

  13. You’ve miss the of the article, no??

  14. Bobby, the point of the article (I think that’s what you mean) is to tell readers that the holiday and the people who celebrate it are loathsome. To publish that message — about a day set aside to offer thanks for family, friends, and the blessings of life — immediately before Thanksgiving, is contemptible.

  15. Christina, I couldn’t have said it better!

    Liz Marcy is so busy being aloof and so terribly British, and reporting what she’s heard and obviously never experienced, that she completely misses the meaning of Thanksgiving. Are we celebrating the Pilgrims arrival and the ensuing decimation of populations? Hardly. Are we celebrating genocide? Not. Are we eating platters of food simply to be disgusting (and Americans aren’t the only people who have food feasts, by the way). Negatroid.

    We’re celebrating the freedom and hope that came from leaving the shores of England and elsewhere in Europe…where faith (whether institutional or not) is a living entity in our lives, where we thank God or the Great Spirit for all that is good in our lives and the lives of other, where we have the audacity to acknowledge grace freely given.

    It ain’t about the food, ducky! It’s about being aware that we aren’t the end-all, be-all in this world and that there is something to be thankful for.

    Oooooh boy, I guess I’d better take a chill pill. Grrrrrrrr.

  16. Just like to add that Liz Marcy, being managing editor of Waitrose’s food magazine, obviously has the editorial freedom to say what she likes – but that doesn’t mean her opinion is shared by the rest of us Brits (most of whom probably have no idea what Thanksgiving really is, anyway.)

    I for one think any reason for a get together is a good reason, especially when the focus is food!

    And whilst I could never defend black pudding, tripe or jellied eels, I have to disagree about brown sauce, Patti.

    But my last word on Thanksgiving (and all that it entails) is that without it we wouldn’t have one of my favorite (deliberate omission of ‘u’ = metaphoric olive branch) feel good movies (see, I didn’t even say ‘filums’) – Planes, Trains and Automobiles!

  17. Well said, Snart. Bravo!

    We may be the ‘new kid’ on the world’s cultural block, but I think we’ve contributed admirably during our relatively short history.

  18. DJ, I know very well that most Brits genuinely wish us a happy Thanksgiving. And thanks for your generous offering of “favorite”. And “movies”! I hope you get a chance to see Steve Martin and John Candy and all their modes of transportation this holiday season.

  19. What a pity that this article has upset so many people – I am sure Waitrose has shot itself in the foot and sincerely regrets this boo-boo. I do shop there (well, Ocado, their internet arm) and this will not make me stop shopping there as I like the supermarket, but it does seem a rather daft line to take, as I am sure these reactions must be typical of many readers. Maybe she will run a piece about the rubbish Christmas dinner that the Brits eat, next month, just for balance.

  20. Yikes. I go off line for the better part of a day, and here’s 19 comments.

    I’ll just add my name to the list of those who LOVE mashed sweet potatoes with maple syrup and marshmallows on top. Yummers. Haven’t had it in too many years, so I think it will show up at Christmas this year.

    Because in Canada Thanksgiving falls in early October, it ties in nicely with harvest time and fall colours.

    (On the other hand, unlike Americans, we can’t use the Hallowe’en jack-o-lantern for pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving. We have to buy them twice.)

  21. It could only be more ironic if she had also criticized our dental hygiene.

  22. Ahh… the comment on dental hygiene!! I’ve been waiting for that one to crop up. very predictable snarla

    So she poked fun at a your little holiday, big deal. The article is a tongue in cheek piece, and more aimed at the point of how the glossy mags over here cover thanksgiving.

  23. I must add to my ….”what a bitch” comment…..that I truly cannot imagine Brits ever getting together to show gratefulness or love to or about anything or anyone. How uncomfortable would that be?? Do brits ever gush any emotion?? I think if anyone needs a day to remind each other that they love and appreciate each other, its the British. Lets see some emotion instead of stiff slaps on the back and a pathetic “well done” or “cheers for that”. Although, I do love England and most of the people I meet here, I still don’t understand the embarrasment they feel at having feelings??!! I ADORE America all our traditions and the warmth and kindness you can receive from a total stranger, and am sad for the british, that you dont get the same friendliness here.

  24. Although, now I feel bad for generalizing, as of course you get some friendly people here. I just mean, that when I go home to the states people ARE so much nicer.
    And,…Liz Marcy, you are more than welcome to never step foot on American soil again.

  25. Uuuhh, yes, Christina – well done. Cheers for that.

  26. What, DJ — no pat on the back?

    Christina, I’m sorry you feel alienated living in the UK — the point of my post was to snarl about one writer’s cruel generalizations, so I hope everybody else can keep from doing likewise.

  27. So Liz yu have just gave me your RSVP for Thanksgivng Dinner next year. Thanks see you soon.

  28. Oh, I do not feel alienated, I just think living here sucks, and that most british peoples attitudes and ideas about americans are unjustified.

  29. Thanks 4 Thanksgiving

    Liz Marcy’s article was inflammatory, inaccurate, insensitive and idiotic. There are at least 30 comments here – very good and valid. Can you all email or write in to Waitrose your thoughts? At the least they should write an apology.Aslo, save your converted dollars – spend your pounds anywhere but Waitrose/john lewis.

  30. Christina – I am British and I have been known to gush on occasion. Seriously, everyone feels emotions – it is irrelevant where they originate or live. Different societies and cultures just have different ways of showing it, that’s all. I expect you yourself behave differently, in terms of letting your emotions show or not, at home and at work, for example. Live and let live, I say – and that includes Waitrose. Please don’t judge them for ever on one crappy article. We’ve all made mistakes.

  31. I guess I’ll play Devil’s advocate here. Her article sounds funny to me, but, I didn’t read the complete piece and I don’t know this woman’s reputation. As long as she’s an equal opportunity basher, I can go with it.

    You know, she IS right about the “ribbed for your pleasure” cranberry crap. I’ve seen it. It was alive and jiggling on a Thanksgiving table near all of us. Not mine though because I hate that stuff.

    And, hey, hey, hey! Dammit, I make a mean green bean casserole and yes, we had it for dinner and NO, I’m not right out of Deliverance. It really is quite good.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pop my teeth out and go play my banjie for my Hills Have Eyes offspring.

    😉

  32. Around here we loves us a feisty Devil’s Advocate. Thank you, Dana Jean!

  33. Word.

  34. Being a US-born citizen who grew up in a relic of the British Empire, namely India, before returning to the States, and who learned to cook the traditional turkey dinner at his late mother’s knee, I feel compelled to say to Liz Marcy:

    Bollocks!

    Clearly she’s never had a really well-cooked Thanksgiving dinner. I’d be happy to have her over and serve her one.

    BTW, I never use the pre-packaged cranberry gelatin. My late father loved the stuff, but I have a recipe I always use for fresh cranberry preserves, which is more like a delicious fruit cocktail. It’s a German Wisconsin farmer’s family recipe that I got from a friend.

    And no, I don’t think the editorial was intended to be ironically funny, although I can see how some might take it that way. It comes over as just plain stupid ignorance.

    The point that it was contemptible to post such an article right before the holiday in question is a point well taken, and even if the editorial HAD been intended to be humorous, it was done in very poor taste. The point about snobbery is therefore also well taken.

  35. I recently read a similar article in one of the broadsheets on the train…. I was not impressed.

    By the way- I grinned sheepishly at the mention of jello- my mom has always made a jello and crushed pineapple dish every year for Thanksgiving, and I have to admit it’s very good- and a must have for my Thanksgiving dinner! My British husband was bemused at first, but dug right in… and had seconds.

    No green bean casserole, though. Thankfully!

  36. Thanks 4 Thanksgiving

    Please check out (certainly do not buy) the disgusting article in Waitrose Food Illustrated by the seemingly bitter Liz Marcy. From reading this article, and the great summary and commentary by Meg above, one would wonder if Liz has only been in contact with one person in the US – and that being the equivlanet of Vicky Pollard. Liz has completely thrashed & despoiled the wonderful US holiday of Thanksgiving, which symbolises to everyone in America, whether born there, visiting or immigrants – that everyone has something to be thankful for, inviting people to come together to give thanks by sharing a symbolic meal together (which actually varies from area to area, state to state). Had she actually researched her article, she would know that there was once a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner but with the diverse people of the US, there are regional differences & there is no longer any one “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner. I, for one, from the East Coast, have never had nor seen green bean salad & would not be caught dead with tinned cranberry sauce as we always made ours nor would I ever allow a jello salad (get your facts right Liz – no one in America calls it Jelly it is JELLO) at our table. However, that is not to say if you like that sort of thing & it is a special dish for you – good for you. But who is Liz to write this article & make these aspersions on a sacred American holiday? What is more important – what message is Waitrose and John Lewis sending to Americans and America?

    I dare say the good people of Idaho may have something to say about her slur against the US for not knowing about roast potatoes! (or anything to do with potatoes for that matter)

    Liz has written a very distorted, untrue and factually incorrect article (so many facts wrong it is hard to know where to start!) which is obviously supported by Waitrose & John Lewis as they published this article willingly in the November 2008 copy of Waitrose Food Illustrated – just the right month to catch those American ex pat shoppers all right. I very much wanted to attach a scanned copy but would not risk the wrath of UK copyright laws. Therefore I would urge everyone to read the article & send their letters of complaint to The Company Secretary, Waitrose Limited, 171 Victoria Street, London Sw1E 5NN. It may be a waste of time to send anything to the Editor of Waitrose Food Illustrated as it appears this is outsourced to a publishing company and they send out a standard email reply to complaints. However, you can contact the Editor, William Sitwell via 0207 565 3117. Remember, as Editor he allowed this horrid article to be published to reflect the views of Waitrose & John Lewis. I for one am now going to Marks for my Xmas dinner (and everything else)

    Clearly from this horrid article it is conceivable to draw the conclusion that Waitrose and John Lewis do not want the American expat business as they are so comfortable to publish such a defamatory article on US culture and the important Thanksgiving holiday – as well as offer no apology to anyone who wrote in (one friend went in person to a Waitrose and was fobbed off by the manager when she tried to make a complaint). In no manner could this article be considered tongue in cheek – it was down right rude. Perhaps one should consider another venue to purchase ones “traditional” Thanksgiving Day Turkey (not to mention Xmas dinner, Easter dinner – perhaps every dinner, lunch, breakfast, bottle of wine, flowers, catered party….) and the trimmings that Liz so clearly disdains. One would also wonder just how many “American” products Waitrose stocks and what would happen if no one American bought these? Say all Americans chose one week not to purchase ANYTHING from either Waitrose or John Lewis – would they miss our spending out money in their stores? They clearly do not want our business.

    I would strongly urge anyone who also feels outraged by the disgusting Waitrose article to write to the Company Secretary of Waitrose. I wrote to the editor and got the standard letter reply from the assistant editor – they could not even be bothered to read my email. Friends got exactly the same reply from the assistant editor too.

    I also share the sentiment above:- Liz Marcy – what a bitch.

  37. Wow, I guess I need to read this whole article.

  38. I don’t suppose anybody could scan and email the article to me? First, I do not live near a Waitrose (although, ironically, one is opening around the corner in a few weeks!) I had a friend go to her nearby Waitrose to see if she could find a copy, but they’ve already changed to the December issue.

  39. Thanks 4 Thanksgiving

    Hi – give me your email address and I’ll gladly send you a scanned copy

  40. I’m an American that has been living in London for about six months. I can’t express how surprised I am about the level of racism and resentment towards Americans that I’ve experienced here. This article is just another such example. It clearly has little to do with the food American’s eat, but is more about being aggressively racist towards us. Perhaps the author of the article should give thanks she still has the freedom of free speech and is not being forced to write in German.

  41. I am an American married to an Englishman, and I could not agree with Rob’s comments about Brits’ deep seeded prejudice and hostility toward Americans. (Although I must also say the 50+ crowd I find American-friendly.Must be a generational thing.) I agree also with the comments about the amazing warmth of Americans, as compared to the British. Americans speak their minds and are open to being your new friend. (And I don’t buy the criticism that Americans are crass. Brits outdo anyone and everyone with their potty humour.)Anyone who knows the meaning of Thanksgiving – which is really about the Native Americans’ generosity to strangers – and its significance to the American people today cannot possibly have anything bad to say about it. It is one thing Americans get right. But, the holiday does not revolve around binge drinking, so how can you possibly expect a Brit to understand?

  42. I meant to say that I could not agree with Rob’s comments more.

  43. I find it rather odd that people on this forum, like Rob and others above, find the best way to complain about racism and prejudice is by being racist and prejudice!! If you don’t like the Article that’s all well and good and within your rights… however to then attack “brits” in general is to show your selves to be no better than the person who wrote this article in the first place. It’s pathetic, especially comments, like Robs above, which I assume is a reference to a World War.

    If this is how you behave and talk to people you meet from day to day it wouldn’t suprise me if you recieve a bad reaction. It probably has nothing to do with Racism, and more to the fact that your generally idiots… there are idiots in all walks of life, it really has nothing to with which country they were born.

    don’t you think?

  44. As someone who is half American and lives in the UK, I’m utterly astonished by how thin some skins are, here. It’s as if none of you ever expect to disagree with anything you read.

    Face it: neither Thanksgiving dinner or the British Christmas dinner are pinnacles of culinary sophistication, and I’d reserve anyone’s right to criticize either of them. We’re talking about one slightly ill-judged article in one issue of a pretty good food magazine, and people are seriously talking about boycotting shopping at Waitrose? Meg, you and your other commenters are, frankly, showing a massively disproportionate response. Get a grip. One woman has criticised some American food. So what? God knows the British receive enough criticism of their food, and at least they have the good humour to take it on the chin. (And, incidentally, go on to prove us wrong.)

    And some of you are suggesting that this somehow represents some kind of endemic racism on the part of the British against Americans? It would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so manifestly untrue.

    I shop at Waitrose above any of the other British high street supermarkets mainly because of their ethical stance, and I certainly wouldn’t be dissuaded by one slightly off-colour piece of writing that, let’s face it, is tomorrow’s chip wrapper. Or maybe pan-fried sea bass wrapper.

    Frankly, anyone who suggests “urging everyone to read the article & send their letters of complaint to The Company Secretary, Waitrose Limited, 171 Victoria Street, London Sw1E 5NN” should take a deep breath and consider the things that actually matter in life. Jeez.

  45. Jeff, I agree that everybody needs to get a grip, and if you’ll read this related, subsequent post — “Comments: Please and thank you,” — you’ll see that’s what I’m trying to get folks to do. Please read it before you declare me thin-skinned and engaged in massive retaliation. It explains both why I disliked the original article, and why everybody needs to calm down. In particular, I make the point that Americans do not need to get in high dudgeon and act victimized over this.

    I’m a writer as well as an ex-pat in Britain. I know it’s vital to have a thick skin.

    But if you read this blog at all, you’ll notice that I like to snark and rant every now and then, and was having myself a good time fisking the article.

    Everybody else: Jeff is right. Stop accusing each other of racism. It’s pathetic.

  46. hi Meg,

    Thanks for replying. Of course it’s important to let off steam. I just think that punishing Waitrose – by far the soundest of British supermarkets – in retaliation for a comment piece in a magazine is just silly. It just punishes ethical food producers for you having a mild disagreement with some writer who doesn’t like jello.

  47. No worries, Jeff. There’s a Waitrose within walking distance of my house, and they were reinstated with me soon as I got a craving for chocolate.

  48. I do not think that I am being racist by, for example, observing that there is a lot of binge-drinking by Brits going on. The British government has called it a national crisis. Generalizations don’t always apply, but there is a such a thing as a losely defined “culture” that make people value certain qualities and tend to behave according to those qualities. This is what I am talking about. And, in my personal experience, Brits who are 20-40 y.o. really have a chip on their shoulder about America/ns. I have discussed this openly with my British in-laws (brother and sister) and have received responses like, “You are right. Amongst my friends, it is perfectly acceptable to slag off Americans.” I personally feel it when I walk into a room of Brits that I have to “prove” to them that I am not like those “other Americans.” I find it tiring. On the other hand, I think Americans have a predisposition to LIKE Brits. We think the accent is charming and any Brit no matter how “low in society” sounds smarter because of it, even if they are not.

  49. What a relief to find someone else found this article a bit insulting. I’ve never had a Thanksgiving meal like the one Ms. Marcy described. Last year I made Thanksgiving dinner the way my mom used to for some of my English friends, and they were quite impressed (these are folks who eat well). Wild rice stuffing, homemade cranberry relish that is tangy and biting, sweet potato mash with pineapple juice and pecans – unfortunately, I was not able to smoke the turkey over mesquite like my dad used to. I couldn’t get the onions for the creamed onion dish either, so I had to give it a miss. I make a green bean casserole, but it’s with fresh ingredients. And, IMO, the best part is the pecan pie with whipped cream for dessert! Although, admittedly, the chocolate fudge pecan pie is stiff competition. (Incidentally, golden syrup is an acceptable substitute for corn syrup …) If Ms. Marcy is poking fun, she’s poking fun at something I’ve only ever seen on TV.
    But the real truth of it is the reminder that we have so much to be thankful for; the bounty on the table is a symbol of the good life we have.

    We always began the meal with a discussion of the things we have to be thankful for that year. And for my non-Christian family, this was the one holiday where we gathered from distant places and really felt we were just like everyone else in the USA. It is incredibly important and meaningful to us and many others. Even my friends in the US who are from other countries and are not US citizens participate – a very inclusive holiday. My mother, and now my sister and I, make it a point to “adopt a stray” person for the holiday. Over the years we’ve had friends from broken homes, students, traveling colleagues, singles, anyone we discovered who didn’t have a place to go, join us.

    It is a pity that Ms. Marcy has never experienced the real Thanksgiving. And if she is poking fun, her humor is pedestrian at best. I expect more from a British writer.

  50. I find that there is a significant cultural divide between the UK and US that is perhaps not acknowledged sufficiently because of our quasi common language. I observe that many in England (not all of course) feel that Americans on the whole are boorish and overbearing and don’t feel the least bit shy about expressing their contempt. The way Liz Marcy has so lustily dispensed these criticisms (not at all tongue in cheek IMHO) one could imagine that in her mind Prince Charles is the oh-so-posh standard bearer of English class and good taste while our soon to be former President (clown that he is…) is typical of the USA. Of course there is a measure of truth in most generalities. What cracks me up is that in the US the stereotype commonly applied to the English is that of implied “upper crustiness” as evidenced by the multitude of British accented voice-overs in American advertising.

    There are plenty of boorish Americans no doubt about it. Still, anyone that has ever attended an English football game (which I love and attend regularly) would understand that there are yahoos (yobs?!) in England as well. I think people get in trouble when they lean on the stereotypes too heavily. It creates blind spots. I wonder, has Liz Marcy has ever noticed the tinned beans/tomatoes at typical English breakfast buffets? I once read a letter in the Times that was fiercely critical of an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Aztec artifacts. The writer felt that the exhibition and considerable hoopla that accompanied it amounted to glorification of a savage culture that was clearly beneath his own. I can only assume that the writer was out sick the day they covered the Tower of London and Tyburn gallows in history class.

    Rigo Rodriguez
    (resident of Tower Hamlets in East London, native of Tucson via San Francisco, NY/NJ)

    PS: Potatoes (roasted or otherwise) are native to the Americas as are turkeys. Traditional English Christmas dinners most often feature turkey as a main course and in general look suspiciously like a thanksgiving meal. Funny that…

  51. This is way, way to late, but I must comment on that stupid b**** Liz Marcy and her article. Yesterday, I went through my old Food Illustrated (s) with the goal of recycling many of them. By chance, I came upon Marcy’s vitriol about Thanksgiving. I had somehow missed this article and wish I had. Her broad swathes of ignorance and prejudice were so apparent in this ridiculous piece that it doesn’t really bear comment. However, two years on, it appears her name no longer blights the editorial staff of the magazine. This can hardly come as a surprize. Good riddance, Liz Marcy.

    • Thanks for the update, Deb. You must have been in a real froth if you went online researching commentary on the article two years after it was written. Don’t worry about it anymore, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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