S1: The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, November 26, The Thankful in spite of everything, Ed.. I’m Dan Coifs. I’m a writer at Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family. And I’m the dad of Lyra, who’s 15, and Harper, who’s 13. We live in Arlington, Virginia.
S3: I’m Jamilah Lemieux, a writer contributor to Slate’s Parent Reading Parenting column. Although you should not look for my work over there this week, unless maybe they ran one of my old pieces because I took the week off for a little holiday self care. And of course I am Mom too. Nyima, who is seven and we live in Los Angeles, California. I’m in love with new camp. I write the Home School and Family Travel Blog such that I’m the mom of three little Henry who’s eight, Oliver six, and Teddy, who is four. And I live in Nevada. Florida.
S4: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving.
S2: So it is indeed Thanksgiving week in the U.S. Many of you may be listening to this on Thanksgiving. We release on Thursdays. Since this year, none of us are hosting one hundred cousins in our house for our annual spitting extravaganza. We are going to go around our virtual table today and talk about what we are thankful for. Plus, we’ve got a listener question about supporting your kids at school when you have to upend your life and move across the country, something a few of us may have a little bit of recent experience with. As always, we’ve got triumphs, we’ve got fails, we’ve got recommendations. Let’s start with triumphs and fails. Jamil, you want to start this week. You have a triumph or fail.
S5: I’m going to call this a triumph. I have raised a daughter who is so convinced that the world rotates around her seven year old orbit that she the other night at what had to have been at least nine p.m. Eastern Time. We live in California, but we moved here from New York and I’m from Chicago. These are important things. I get a FaceTime call from Nyima, who is at her dad’s house, and it’s a group based on chat with NamUs best friend who lives in New York, and my mother, who lives in Chicago. It was my mom’s birthday. And so I to Nyima about, you know, make sure you call grandma on her birthday so she can see your face. So I’m expecting that she’s going to do that after I’ve spoken to her earlier in the evening. No, she throws a party for herself with some of her favorite people so that we could entertain her on FaceTime. So my triumph is that I get to delight in the irreverent, self-centered ness of this seven year old, very developmentally appropriate, and also that she’s finding joy anywhere in twenty, twenty and November.
S6: Twenty twenty, for God’s sake. I love it.
S7: I love it all her. I love your favorite people, right. Yeah. Are now reachable from her, from her phone at her beck and call.
S8: We’ll just be grateful you’re still one of those people.
S5: I’m very grateful to have made the list. The last group phone call that she pulled me into included all my best friends. And I don’t know that I was the first one she called. It’s just like I get a call from Nyima like my homegirls there. She’s like, Hey, we call on everybody. We’re calling the whole crew. So also the crew is our crew.
S8: So its name is where she sounds like a born social coordinator like that is she’s going to be the person in every group of friends who like make should happen and every group of friends needs that person. That’s very true. Yeah. And usually it’s based on being self-centered. I know, because I’m the social coordinator in my group of friends and I want fun shit to happen because I really like doing fun shit. So I just hassle everyone until it does. And I think my friends are grateful for that. I mean, sometimes they’re like, lay off.
S9: Dan, I have not been allowed to be the social coordinator. I get occasions like if there’s a particular event or something that I might have either access or the ability to coordinate, then it might be allowed or something that no one else wants to coordinate but that we all want to do. But otherwise, like, there’s just an incident of my friends having to watch me do a whole day. Last solo song by myself in hip hop karaoke and I like early twenties that is always raised is like this is what happens to me. That’s the fun. Even though it was one of the most fun nights of my little backpack hip hop had like that. I got to perform this song in public.
S8: Which song. But thanks. OK, good. Yeah. I don’t understand your friends at all on that front.
S10: My hunch is that possibly there have been other organizational related things that possibly have gone awry on Djamila organized outings.
S8: Based on the story of your recent hike, at least that is also possible. Elizabeth, try and fail.
S4: I have a fail.
S11: Yesterday I decided at like three that as something to do, we should, like, gather the children. Well, Jeff had called and said he was working late and wouldn’t be able to be home. So I thought, perfect, I’ll get the kids all dressed up and we’ll go to the beach and take Christmas photos like at sunset. This will be so fun. And so I told the kids to go change into clothes for Christmas photos. And Henry came back dressed as like essentially a lumberjack, which I guess, OK, Christmas thematic. And Teddy picked out this reindeer sweater that he’s been waiting to wear because he’s seen his brothers wear it like as soon as it went to his side of the closet. He’s been so excited. And then Oliver came out in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans and I was just like, all right, cool, roll with it. We like, get in the car. The beach is nine minutes away. And somehow in that nine minutes, Henry has convinced all of our that when synth comes incentives, the Dutch like Santa Claus and he comes on the fifth. And the whole shtick with him is like he knocks on the door. And when you open the door, if you’ve been good, there’s a bag of gifts. And if you’ve been bad, you are grabbed and taken back to Spain with him. So Henry has convinced Oliver that he’s definitely getting grabbed. And so Oliver is crying profusely. I think the grabbing was because he didn’t change into a Christmas sweater. It’s unclear. But anyway, we get to the beach. Oliver is like just like I said, so red. But I’m like, OK, we’re going to do these pictures. I had brought, like a Christmas quilt and like all our decorations that are in boxes in the garage because we’re getting ready to put them out like had all those. I brought them off the beach, like, set them all up. And just like in the water is like basically a aquarium, like there are dolphins jumping. There are like these rays swimming in groups of like 20 to 50 just right where the waves crash.
S4: There’s like pelicans everywhere. Fishing, which I know sounds like a magical trip to the beach unless you’re trying to get the kids to look at the camera. So they’re like running amok. Right. And I still just like, don’t abandon this pursuit. I just like a despite all these signs that I should just be like like I come on here and I preach, like, be with your children, be in the moment. Right. Like, I should’ve just been like this is this is not a Christmas card trip. This is like enjoy the magic that’s happening as this beautiful sunset is happening and there’s animals everywhere. Like this is amazing. Now I’m like trying to force them to take pictures.
S11: I end up with this photo. All of my children are doing exactly what you would expect.
S7: Oliver is like screaming, oh, anyone wants to just go to the beach. Henry is just staring at me with this like, I hate you. I hate you that I am here. I hate you. So this is this is the best of the photos, guys.
S1: So, Mary, describe Henry’s expression as Jim in the office staring at the camera.
S7: Yeah, that’s exactly what he what what is happening.
S1: I love it. Great job not doing anything you preach. That’s classic parenting move. And honestly, the photocell turned out you have cute kids.
S9: It did an engaging photo. You wonder what happened there, right. I would do a collage on the car where you could see like some of the worst photos and just make that one like the largest. And I would also include one where I zoomed in on Henry’s face.
S2: That’s actually the back of the card, should just all be outtakes like the blue.
S4: Yeah, it is a great idea.
S2: I also have a fail this week. I fail is also Christmas related, but it’s about Christmas lists. I think I’ve complained about this on previous Christmas seasons on the show. But every year we just get stuck in this endless dance with our parents about Christmas less because grandparents require Christmas lists for particularly for teenage kids who I agree are really hard to buy for. Grandparents want the presents they’re going to get for those kids to be meaningful, but they have no idea like what the kids like. They count on the kids to provide lists, but it turns out that our kids are just not interested in making Christmas lists. It is not an activity that they think would be fun. They don’t like looking around the things online. They don’t like coming up with things they might want, no matter how many times we tell them. This is basically like if you put something on a list of your grandparents, you’re guaranteeing that you’re going to get it as opposed to them giving you something that you don’t like or want. And this is just four weeks away. Can’t you spend just like a little bit of time doing this? But they just never, ever do. So we just have to nag them for weeks.
S5: There has to be.
S10: So I know exactly. That’s I just keep being like, your life is great and all you have to do to ensure its continued greatness is spent 10 minutes making a list of things you want people to hand you on a silver platter and they’ll do it, but they just don’t want to do it. And then there’s all this coordinating with grandparents, because if you don’t coordinate, the kids will just put the same three things on each grandparents list and then they end up with three of each of those things, which they arguably didn’t even need one of whatever they were. And each year, Ali and I are like, at some point we’re like, oh, fuck this. Next year the grandparents can just email the kids directly, text them directly. The kids can text their list back to them. You do not need to see us on those texts or emails. We withdraw. We withdraw from the process. You guys work it out amongst yourselves. So. Of course, this year we absolutely, completely failed to withdraw. And last night, for the already thousandth time this holiday season, we just ended up like barging into our children’s rooms and being like, did you finish the list for Kiki? What did you put on it? Why is this on this? And why haven’t you sent it to pop up, OK? You can’t think of anything you want, just like. Go to the website and pick five things at random and paste them into an email, just do it and there’s just this incredible hassling of them and takes all the fun out of Christmas or at least the pre Christmas rigamarole for us and them. It’s like night after night of this, I don’t know, a solution. And I don’t think there probably is a solution unless our kids just somehow magically become good at it.
S7: I think there’s lots of solutions. I definitely have solutions.
S10: All right. Let’s hear your solutions and I’ll tell you why I think they will work.
S4: I don’t understand why. There’s no there’s no consequence for them. Right. Like, what I would do is be like on this date, I’m making your list and I’m turning it into grandma and grandpa. And we’ll see what it’s like when you don’t make the list. And I put a bunch of stuff there that you think they need or that you want.
S1: But there is a consequence to that, because the whole point of this is that these lists aren’t for them. They’re for the grandparents. All the grandparents care about is that when they open a Christmas present, they are happy. And so if we’re in Kiki’s house at Christmas, if, God forbid, we actually can go somewhere at Christmas and they open a present, they’re like, what is this? Kiki is going to be crestfallen and that’s our fault.
S4: They will see that.
S8: No, our kids will have a fucking clue. Djamila, what’s your what’s your solution?
S9: Think the girls graduated to the gift card age. It seems like the rolling thing they could do would be to shop for themselves.
S1: Grandparents. Hey, gift cards. Grandparents do not want to give gift cards.
S9: I know I got do this on my own. I like it’s taken years. Like she’s asking for clothes now and I’m like, mom, we’ve been going through this since I was your girls and she stopped knowing how to shop for me. But I do think that, like, at some point maybe there’s a cutoff. And then at that point you say, you know, you come up with maybe it’s I don’t know what they spend on these presents, but like saying as opposed to having one gift card, that they’ll get three gift card like bills, one hundred dollar gift, they get three, you know. Thirty three dollars. If they would like thirty three dollars, give it a round. No, but like whatever stores they actually like and they’ll just have to suck it up and deal with it.
S2: I mean I’m not yet to the point where I can tell these people to suck it up and deal with it, which are my parents.
S8: And I’ll ask mom like I’m not I’m a big you know, they’re the ones they’re the ones who whose feelings are at stake here.
S9: Then why is it not a sit down right now? All three. You’re not leaving just like a means.
S1: Don’t leave your dad because we do that. And somehow the result is the same was for all three people or list that I actually only had two things on it even after they sat down for an hour. They email it and then we look at their email and or a grandparent emails us and I was like, this isn’t enough.
S2: And then we’re like, then we have to go back to them. I know what a completely absurd fail this is and I know what a wonderful position. My children to have grandparents who love them so much, who want to dote on them and send them things that they love, who care about their opinions and care about making them happy. Yeah. But nonetheless, every year I’m like, that’s it. Ages ten and twelve are the last year that we’re going to do their Christmas lists. And here we are at 13 and 15 and we still spend hours of our time like managing the Christmas list situation.
S9: OK, one last question. Do they ask for things periodically or do they spend? They’re like, if if you know, if Larry wants to book, if everyone’s lives like, are they going into their allowance for these things or can they ask you for that stuff?
S8: They mostly go into their own allowance for this stuff.
S9: OK, that’s last I was wondering, like if there was a point in the year which like when they start asking for things, you’re like, no, you’re going on your list. Right? Right.
S2: Well, I mean, that would actually honestly be helpful. But we have I mean, it’s good in many ways that we’ve reached the point where for most of their fun purchases, for most of their discretionary purchases, it’s just their allowance or the money that, you know, has earned it. The job that she worked at. That’s good, because it means that we don’t have to worry about that and that they’re mostly taking care of getting the stuff that they want. It’s bad and that we don’t get the chance to be like to do the classic parenting that we did when they were five or six or seven or would be like starting in August. We’re like, what a perfect thing for your Christmas list. And then it was taken care of.
S5: I guess my final final word. I would take a risk I have for a gift card be one grandparent’s item.
S4: I agree because I think they’re at the shopping, even if you just did like ten dollars or 20 dollars of a sale for a gift card when she receives that reaction.
S5: I think that might change the tide of gift cards a little bit. All right, pacifically Cipora and I, just the Visa gift card to shop anywhere but Sephora. All right.
S8: I’ll pitch it. We’ll see how it goes.
S12: I don’t want to interrupt, but I might actually have a non gift card solution for you.
S1: This is our producer, Rosie. Let’s hear it.
S12: So my twin sister and I, we’ve got two summer birthdays and we celebrate Christmas. So in the run up to the holidays, we were lucky enough to have, you know, family members asking us what we wanted. And when we were about, I would say about a half years age, like in middle school, we were definitely those preteens that were like so incredibly unhelpful when it came to, like, telling people what we wanted. We were also definitely those preteens that, like, could not keep her room clean. It was like a constant battle. So when we’re sitting down to open of gifts that your and would open up one gift and it was like Clorox wives and I would open up the next one and it was like, you know, glass cleaner. And then she would open up the next one.
S13: And it was like, disinfectant is basically cleaning supply after cleaning supplies. It wasn’t only from our parents, it was from our aunts and uncles, too, like everyone was in on it. And we kept being like, oh, ha ha, this is so funny. Like, when are we getting to our real presence? And there was one big box in the corner. We were like, OK, you know, this has been fun. Like we learned our lesson, like, can we have the big present now? And so we open up the big presents and it’s a vacuum cleaner. So I don’t know if Liron half-Year aren’t cooperating, like maybe it’s time for a cleaning supply year Implats. Like you wouldn’t have to necessarily disappoint the grandparents because, like, they could be in on the joke too.
S7: That’s pretty great. And the joy, the joy Dan came from being part part of the joke. Exactly. Yes. And I bet they made lists after that. After that, we were pretty good at telling people what we want.
S1: Congratulations to Rosie for coming up with a solution to this problem that Elisabeth and Djamila could not. I’m definitely pitching this next year.
S9: I know you pitched it this year.
S1: I’m not doing it this year because I have already sunk a hundred hours into getting these lists out to the grandparents. And I’m not wasting that time. But next year. Game on. Thank you, Rosie Bellson. And of course, if any of those grandpas are listening right now, we love you. We’re so grateful for everything you do. And we don’t mind making these lists at all.
S7: The problem is you love them too much. You’re willing to do all this so that they feel satisfied watching your children opening for which you struggled to have them make the if any of the grandparents are listening.
S2: The problem is, I love you too much.
S7: That’s right.
S1: All right. Before we move on to the rest of the show, let’s talk some business in Slate. Plus, today, we’re going to duke it out over the greatest and the worst Thanksgiving foods. Here’s a quick sneak peek of what you’ll hear if you have Slate.
S9: Plus, this is not a controversial opinion. In fact, we are all we’re in agreement with you. In fact, this is why I like when people joke about black Thanksgiving, a white Thanksgiving. It’s the green bean casserole alone has done such. That’s the difference maker has done such a disservice to your people’s culinary reputation. Like literally that’s the joke.
S1: If you have not checked out Djamila Slate live show, the kids are asleep. You’re really missing out. She’s got great guests, great attitude, great fun. Late at night. She’s normally streaming on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. She’s off tonight for Thanksgiving, but you can catch all her past shows on Slate’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Or check out Slate Dotcom live sign up for Slate’s parenting newsletter. It’s the best place to be notified about everything Slate publishes about parenting, including mom and dad are fighting. The kids are asleep. Ask a teacher care and feeding and much, much more. Plus, every week I just send out personal feelings e-mail so you can get it. Sign up at Slate Dotcom slash parenting email. And finally, you want even more parenting advice, just join our parenting group on Facebook, it’s super active and it’s super moderated so it doesn’t get too out of control. Just search for site parenting on Facebook. All right. Let’s move on to our listener question this week. It’s being read, as always, Bashar al-Assad, for whom we are immensely thankful on this Thanksgiving Day.
S14: Mom and dad, my family is embarking on a cross-country move in a couple of weeks moving from our small farming town to Washington, D.C. on military orders. It has been quite a few years since we have done one of those. And this one is the most complicated and stressful one. Yet my husband is only on a one year contract and this is the last duty station before my husband retires. The last crazy thing we have to do to make it through before we are done. When it’s all over at the beginning of next school year, we plan to return to the town where we live now. My big parenting issue for this move is supporting my sons with school, the oldest is in middle school and goes to an amazing school that has agreed to allow him to spend the rest of the year remote learning with them instead of weekly meet ups. He will be sending them video clips from museums and monuments that are related to the class studies. He is nervous but excited. Our second son is in fourth grade. He is on the autism spectrum with severe speech delay and does better in a more traditional teaching environment. While his teacher and special education teacher are happy to support us at our remote learning, even offering to resume with him at nine a.m. six a.m. their time, the school has said if they know we are not living in our town, he cannot attend the school. Even virtually now it seems I will be homeschooling him. Even the thought of this makes me cry. If it goes anything like the remote learning he did in spring, I’m afraid he will get even farther behind his same age peers. I am a teacher, but I am not a special education teacher and really struggle getting my son to recognize the difference between loving mom and teacher mom. To add to the mix, we also have our three year old son that I will also need to keep engaged. I have used some of Elizabeth’s tips and made morning baskets that he loves. I just want to know how I can do this. I am so afraid of failing my children, my husband has been amazing at supporting me and our sons, but this job will not allow him the time at home to help me. Where do I start? How do I manage without crying to my son, special education teacher every week? Because I’m tired of doing that. At the very least, can you promise me I am not going to completely mess up my children this year?
S11: Yes, I promise you that you are not going to mess your children up. And what seems like less than a year like this seems like a short term kind of situation between now and maybe the start of school next year.
S7: I really just think take some pressure off yourself. Sometimes as parents, we just have to do like what’s what’s right for our kids, even if that is different than what everyone else is doing. And so I think that when you move, it’s like everything is going to be upheaval, like your best laid plans with your other two are also going to be just a mess. Like every time we move, the school situation is different. I mean, I thought moving here to Florida that we would put this kids in school like we had had the kids in school in the Netherlands. I thought they were going to go to school here. And it just turned out like that wasn’t a great fit for us. It sounds like that’s kind of what’s happening here. Now, it’s possible that you find something for your fourth grader.
S11: There are now like virtual options in D.C. when you move. But I would advise that you start looking for that now or looking for the support systems that you need for him. I think it is also OK to say we’re going to homeschool and homeschooling is going to look fundamentally different than what virtual schooling looked like for you, because when you’re homeschooling, you are doing the things that you want to do, like you are in control. So if if sitting down and doing worksheets or whatever you were doing in virtual school, that didn’t work, don’t do that in your home school. If what he learns really well is like using the computer, then fine computer based stuff and let him do that. If what works really well is being out doing things to the best of the ability, like it sounds like you have some plans with your older son to go do some things and be out places and visiting like take your other kids with and make that part of what they’re they’re learning. It’s OK for it to look different. I also think and I mean, Dan, hopefully you’re going to talk a little bit about moving the kids around when you were traveling. But I mean, I think like a few months somewhere, which is basically what you’re talking about. It’s OK to kind of take a break and kind of just do the bare minimum to keep everybody, you know, educated and make sure our brains are still working and moving towards some small goals. But it’s OK to just say, hey, this is kind of a wash. I mean, it’s twenty twenty anyway. Like the the you know, as things kind of get back to going to normal, I think we’re going to be adjusting to to a lot of these changes that have been made and figuring out where people are. And you know what those standards that we set in a normal year look like. So I think it’s OK to just relax, take it easy, focus more on the moving part and getting people situated and being able to enjoy where you are and see how things fall into place. I just it just feels like this from this letter, like you’ve put so much pressure to have this perfect school situation for this fourth grader. And I just think letting yourself feel like, you know what? It’s going to be kind of a mess. So how can we make this as good as we can for the kids to have the best experience?
S1: Schmiel, you also moved across the country recently and had to work out a school situation for your daughter. What’s your advice?
S9: I would certainly echo everything that Elizabeth had to say and and be prepared to change.
S15: Its OK if a school year starts or a semester starts with you being or a month or a week starts with you being in one school and you end up finding that another school is better. Right. It could be that your eldest son doesn’t do as well with remote learning from across the country than you thought he might, and that finding something local, even if it is still distance learning, would be better for him as it relates to your youngest son being as adaptable, like being willing to try things and for them to network and to try something else and just to give yourself the grace that you’re not a special education teacher, you can’t be expected to perform at the same level as one. What you can do is ensure that your son is healthy and loved and supported and that there is a concerted effort being put forward to give him a valuable academic experience this year. And a lot of children are going to fall behind. And I don’t think I think we need to remind ourselves that being behind in school is not a moral failing on the part of the child or the parent. It’s not necessarily reflective of the child’s intellectual capabilities. And at times it’s not even reflective of the quality of education that they’ve had access to. There’s so many circumstances that your particular family is dealing with right now that will make any sort of learning difficult for either of your children. And that’s OK. It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that we have to accept so that we don’t create a standard or an expectation that we can’t live up to, only to be disappointing. Ed, with ourselves a year from now, or frustrated or feeling guilty or beating ourselves up because we weren’t able to perform like the people that were trained to do this sort of work that parents like yourself are attempting to do, or that because our children, who we thought were doing OK and their distance learning programs are not testing at the level that we perhaps thought that they would be at this point in their academic career. And I just want to add for your eldest to just be mindful of his transition and any challenges he may be facing, I know it’s going to be important that a lot of focus is put on to your fourth graders education this year, particularly because you’re going to be managing it if you don’t find a program online, which I strongly encourage you to do, or seeking out some support outside of doing the brunt of the homeschooling yourself. I think that that would give you a lot of peace. And I hope that you don’t think that because you’re a teacher, that that’s reason enough to feel like you shouldn’t be looking outside of yourself for some solutions. But as far as your eldest goes, even though people are physically distant from their neighbors in many circumstances right now, he will likely be feeling the impact of being physically removed from his friends and seeing them remotely could make that a bit more bittersweet than you might have anticipated. So, you know, encouraging him to if he’s a, you know, someone who’s using social networks or email or any ways of staying in touch with his friends from back in your previous home, that he continues to do that. And I think it’s really important that, you know, 12 years old that he’s if he has not created lifelong friendships yet, that he has an opportunity to start doing so. And one great way of doing that would be staying in touch with these kids that he’s still going to be in class with for the next year.
S1: This is all really good advice. The one last thing that I would add is I think it will be really hard for this letter writer, no matter what advice we give and what advice she follows, to not feel like the answer to that final question of hers is yes, she’s going to worry that she is going to completely mess her children up this year and particularly her middle child. And the reassurance I can offer you is that you’re in a very unique position compared to a lot of people who have to do some kind of big move when their kids are at a difficult spot. This is one thing about this letter that I could speak to. It’s the same safety net that we had when we did our trip, which is at the end of this experience. You’re taking your kids back to a known place and a known quantity where you had a pretty good setup and where you know that they have teachers in a school that really care about them. The lengths that your fourth graders, teacher and special ed teacher are willing to go to to try and help him, even though the school itself couldn’t make that happen, are pretty remarkable. And they speak really well to the commitment and love that those teachers have for your kid and for their jobs. And whatever happens in this year, whether your children have a good experience or a bad experience or as is likely, some something in the middle next school year, they’re going to be back in that place with those teachers who are there knowing what they will have gone through and ready to pick them up and help push them along and help get them back to the place where they want to be. And so you’ve got a safety net that not everyone has. And I hope that you can find a way to, if nothing else makes you feel a little bit better, to let that make you feel a little bit better about whatever happens this year, them having the ability to catch up and be in a more comfortable place next year. And what that means is that, as Elizabeth says, you can and should try to relax the grip of panic that you currently have on yourself and the expectations that you’re putting on yourself about school particularly, and try to do the best you can to take advantage of what this year offers you, which may not be the ideal school scenario for your kids, but is an exciting a new place full of big cultural opportunities, big learning opportunities and big experiences that they’re not going to get in that little farm town on the West Coast that you’re moving from. So embrace those to the extent that you can, knowing that a year from now your kids have a lot of support to get them back academically to the place that you want them to be.
S11: I think to if you can take some time now or if you’re moving, you know, I’m not sure how your timeline is, but there are a lot of great resources, both like within the military, reaching out to spouses groups, their homeschoolers in the military, like all of these people have Facebook groups. There are one specifically for people homeschooling people on the spectrum, like all of these exist and in my experience, have been the best resource for me moving there either to connect with people or just to go and, like, troll through everything and just lurk and read and absorb that information to know what what people are doing in your circumstance there so that you can come in with that wealth of knowledge because it’s a short time you won’t have that much time to spin up these things. So if there are specifically, like support that you need, you should try to line that up now. And I think also just finding even if it’s only ever like an Internet friend, when we moved to the Netherlands, I had like met the one other American in our town over the Internet. And I think I’ve told this story before. But like, I was walking through town on my second day there and she called out my name because there were just so few Americans that I had to be the new one after hearing us talk. And I think those kind of connections, like her and I were friends, but we didn’t hang out as much as one would have thought. But what she did was open up everything in Delft to me. Like when I got there, I already knew where all these things I was going to need were because she had told me. And so I think if you can find that before you move, you’ve taken a couple months off of that like initial get used to things. And if you can do that in the schooling, so find out what resources other people who are in your position are using so that you know that they’re there when they go. And that will ease your transition. And I completely agree with Dan to about just like there is there’s no pressure here. You’re going back to a known where people love you and support you. So you have your goal be to enjoy and take advantage of this opportunity.
S2: I believe that American involved is the reason we met you.
S7: Yeah, that’s correct.
S1: All right. Good luck, listener. Please let us know how it goes. It’s going to be a tough move, but we believe in you. You can do it. And we believe in your. It’s too if you’ve got a question for us. Email us. Mom and Dad, it’s late Dotcom, or you can just post it on the Slate Parenting Facebook group. All right. Let’s move on to our second topic today.
S6: It’s Thanksgiving. Honestly, it seems like kind of a wild year to even have a Thanksgiving. Like maybe the people who run the calendar, like Julius Caesar or whoever it is, should have just done two Thanksgivings in twenty twenty one and skip it this year. But it’s here. The holiday is here and we’re here. We’ve made it this far. And maybe it’s even more useful to think about what you’re thankful for in a year like this than it is in any ordinary year. So we’re going to talk a little bit about what we’re thankful for and maybe you, our listeners, will write back to us and tell us what you’re thankful for. But, Jamila, you want to take it first. What are you thankful for in the year 2020?
S16: Well, first and foremost, before all things, there is, of course, Nyima, the censor of the entire universe. And most certainly, as we know, and certainly of my own, she has been resilient. She has been just really a joy to raise for the past seven years and this past year really for us out of difficulty and transition with two moves and a cross-country move and changing schools and changing it back and a pandemic and a lot of death and loss and sadness and, you know, distance and just the complete upheaval of her little life. And, you know, I definitely see the depression and anxiety and worry that is set in. You know, I’m not going to pretend that she’s unscathed and that we don’t have to pay particular attention to how we care for her and all children in this moment. But in spite at all, she’s just really made me very proud and very honored and humbled to be her mother. And then after that, I have to say space moving to a bigger place, not being completely on top of each other and being able to breathe in our apartment and then the space access that having a car has given us, because that’s something we had a year ago so that we can get somewhere and be publicly distanced from other people and, you know, be on the open road or on, you know, Libris Avenue, just listening to music away from the house, away from kind of the trapped feeling that a pandemic will give you even in a more spacious apartment. So I’m super, super grateful for those things.
S2: I think it goes without saying that we’re all so thankful for our kids. But I think that that’s a lovely note that you can be particularly thankful in a year. The taxes someone when you see how resilient they are and how well they respond to a difficult situation.
S9: To be fair, she earned her number one spot this year. It’s not again, it’s not a given, OK? There are times where other people, places and things might have come first, but it was a battle in my head between her and space. But ultimately, she won.
S2: But space is great, too. That matters so much. I remember when we left New York and came down here just the difference that that abasement made or just that that our our environment just seemed to open up in a major way and and that our kids felt like they could run free in a way that we weren’t yet ready to let them do in New York. Although I think had they been a little bit older, that that equation what about a little bit different, but that really matters to Elizabeth. What about you? Yeah.
S11: So I am very thankful this year for I want to say my community. And that is like my family and my friends who have like really been there during this time because I love to, like, travel and be out there. I always felt like I needed to be in the orbit of lots of people and have lots of people in my orbit. Like that was something that was important to me and that I liked like meeting lots of new people and staying connected with them. And what the pandemic really did was like pare that down like one. I’m not out there meeting anyone knew. Like I’ve acquired very few new friends in twenty twenty, which is like unusual for me. I’m usually meeting a lot of people and including them in my life and that hasn’t happened. But also just being like, hey, this is OK. Like my family unit has done pretty well in terms of being together and being enough. The kids have been enough for each other. That was one of the things we always wanted about having three kids, was this idea that as we were traveling and moving around, that they would have each other, but we’d always been in a position in which we also had other people. And so seeing like, hey, they the kids really do play with each other and we are enough to go do these activities that we like to do just with us. We don’t have to have another family in tow. We don’t have to be including our entire group. And just that the friends that I have made over the past years, like, have really been there regardless of where they are in the world. And that has been this wonderful little like in this big world. I do have this this little small community, and we’re not all here. And yet it feels like they’re here to support me on the, you know, all the bad days we’ve had. During the pandemic, were the things you would normally do to make yourself feel better, are unavailable, and so being able to lean on those people, you know, both my family and kind of that extended orbit. So I am so thankful for that and showing me kind of what I have like that. This exists there without other people, although I look forward to getting back out there one day to ever meeting anyone ever I hope in twenty, twenty one.
S8: I mean someone who sure hope to have friends again. Yeah.
S6: Well I’m thankful for something that is sort of similar to what Elizabeth said, but it’s very particular. I’m thankful for our pandemic bubble, for our pod and long term listeners may remember right now, Rosie shaking her head. Long term listeners may remember me taking a lot of shit from listeners and members of the Facebook group who were justifiably worried about decisions that everyone in America was making in the late spring and early summer of twenty twenty. But I have to say that I feel really comfortable and we’re not at the end of everything. But as the pandemic is starting to feel like it, there’s an end in sight. It’s clear to me that what has gotten me and my family emotionally through this time has been this group that we have a bubble with. Every Friday we gather in a backyard spaced out around a fire, and we talk about our lives in our weeks and what has been going on. And without that time with these people who I care about, I would have gone completely batshit insane. And during this period, that Harbor know social animal extraordinaire has had a friend to bond with when she needed it the most. Thanks to this group of neighbors, we’ve been really careful. We’ve communicated with each other really, really well. When there’s been times that people have needed to go outside the bubble, they’ve let other people know. And so we’ve taken breaks from each other. We knock on wood, have all remained safe and virus free thus far, I think because of the communication and I’m really thankful for that. I think that that has been honestly, more than anything else, the thing that has made this year tolerable for me. And I know that there are a million ways that could have gone wrong or sideways if the communication went bad or if it turned out someone was untrustworthy or Highet fucked up. But it hasn’t. And I’m really grateful for that group.
S16: I think that a lot of folks who, myself included, who originally and like you said, justifiably so, took issue with the idea of the pods have adapted pods. You know, I have or have started to you know, even if it’s not in the sense of we’ve got this weekly ritual, ah, we’ve got this regular schedule of seeing each other. But like we’ve identified one or two people within our communities that we’re still saying, I mean, honestly and I didn’t catch the same sort of, you know, should I have. But my pod was always name is Dad’s household, you know, like atleast we’d gotten to a point where, you know, there was a shut down moment where nobody was going to the store anymore and everybody was ordering things online. But when that changed, essentially that, you know what I’m exposed to, they’re exposed to and vice versa. And it’s been that way, you know, all along. So I just and I can’t fathom any set of circumstances in which either household would be OK if Nyima had just, you know, if we just decided she was going to stay at one place. We’re making it as best we can.
S10: That’s which is what everyone is doing at this point and throughout. And it’s it is remarkable, I think, to think back on the very early days of the pandemic when information was so thin on the ground and none of us really knew what the risks were of any particular activity. And it’s hard for me to get. Particularly angry about anything that happened in those early days, because everyone just like me was dealing with shit the best that they could and trying their best to keep the people they love safe and trying their best to keep things from falling apart. And and it’s been heartening to me that as it’s become more clear, what truly is risky and the levels of risk associated with different kinds of activities, that at least in the sort of very broad social circles and in this I’m including like the Facebook group and our large pool of listeners, it seems like people have really come to terms with what constitutes a risk and how much of a risk it constitutes and understand the different ways that people are making decisions and and are being, I think, accepting and understanding of the ways that we are all processing this and appropriately skeptical when people are taking risks that seem extra dangerous or extra problematic, but less, I think, judgmental.
S11: And I certainly feel much less judgmental about things than I did seven or eight months ago when we thought it was two weeks or when the discussion was like, let’s do a two week shutdown versus like understanding that this was going to be a year or more. Right. This is a long term goal. And what do you need for that now? I will say my pandemic pod fell apart as as many as things do in Florida. I mean, just as life happened here and things didn’t shut down here, our decisions and the decisions of the people in our pod like it was easy when we were all on lockdown. And honestly, our little county had nine cases at that point. Right. The decisions that you make when there’s nine cases and they all are tied to travel, nothing else is happening versus where Florida eventually went. And then the other people in our pod having their kids go back to school, like things like that really changed our our risk assessment and what we were going to do. And also saying like, well, what are we going to do as a family? What allows us to do things like go camping and do these things? OK, well, that’s tightening this up and having this be a little bit tighter.
S7: And then I think also like our incessant hurricane evacuation that we couldn’t predict. It was like we were always quarantining to either prepare to evacuate.
S11: Well, we’re not going to stay here, but we also don’t want to bring anything anywhere like all of that. Like, I could not have seen any of that coming in March, of course.
S16: And so really quickly, I just want to say what a what a transition from outrage over pods to coronaviruses over. And we’re just going to get together with 12 of our friends for Thanksgiving this year.
S2: Oh, I see. I can still be at least be a tiny bit. All right. We’ve all done our very serious, thoughtful Thanksgiving. Thanks, but I want to hear your shallowest silliest. This is the thing I’m thankful for right now, because, man, I just love it. I’m going to go first. I’m extremely thankful for this extremely soft and fuzzy hoodie that I impulse purchase on Amazon like two months ago. And that, as you probably have noticed, I have worn every single day since then. It’s yellow and bright like the sun, and I feel like it’s my own little seasonal affective disorder lamp shining in my house and it feels so good. And boy, do I love it. That’s my extremely shallow thing that I’m thankful for in twenty twenty. What about you guys?
S11: I am thankful for this like little wobble board we got to stand on at our standing desk. It’s called a fluid stance and it sounds so stupid, but when all of the lake house rearranging happened to make space for Jeff to work from home and for like the Lego room moving because everyone was just trying, we were trying to get five of us to use the space all the time. We bought this like it is literally like a tiny wobble board that you stand on at the standing desk. And it makes my desk something that I’m, like, excited to go to. It makes Jeff not as antsy because he’s getting some workout when he’s at home. And the I can like mark the difference between when we got this thing and before the time, just in like the ability that the office can be somewhere where you’re, like standing and getting a little bit of energy out and getting something done in kind of an oasis away from the kids because the whole rest of the house belongs to them. So this stupid little board that we just love and and makes us feel like you’re kind of playing and can wobble around and balance and you feel a little bit tired after doing your standing at the computer, which is nice, as opposed to just like everyone sitting around all the time. In fact, it’s so nice. I bought one for the kids hoping it would have the same effect.
S7: And no, I mean, it is good because they stand and do their work, but they don’t they don’t get the same joy out of it that I. Jamila, what about you?
S16: My most shallow source of gratitude right now comes from even though I have a very profound sense of gratitude for this person and her music, I don’t want to make it shallow. But listening to Meg in the stallion’s new album, Good News in my supercool green convertible weird car, I’d tell this to a friend of mine the other day who was feeling a little down. And all I know is his going through a difficult period and I felt could relate. I’m like as critical as I am about myself, my appearance, my career, like any number of things. What I do know for certain is that this moment in my life, I am a superhero to like a 12 year old me, I’ve got a closet full of, like, interesting clothes. I drive a fun car and I’ve now we’ve got this album to listen to by Megan, the science called Good News. If you’re not into that kind of hip hop, that’s not your entry point. Just move along. But this is no place to start. But if you are a fan or if you’ve heard some of her music and uncensored versions of her music, again, this is not an entry point album. But if you’re familiar with her, familiar with raunchy hip hop, it is a very fun, very, very, very well put together record, I think. And yes, driving around, terrorizing the people of Los Angeles with my loud music and my bowmen system. That is my shallow joy.
S2: There’s nothing shallow about finding exactly the right album to pump in your convertible, for God’s sake. It’s there’s nothing deeper than that. I love it. Listeners, tell us what you’re thankful for. Send us an email. Mom and dad at Slate Dotcom, we want to know we’re going to talk about it a little bit next week. Will, if we get some good responses, we’ll read them off because we want to know both the deep things and the shallow things they all are thankful for. And of course, I can’t let this moment go by without noting that I’m very thankful for the two of you and Rosie, too. You’ve all helped me with my parenting. Give me a million laughs in this, the stupidest year ever. So here’s to many more great conversations in better years ahead.
S16: Indeed. Thank you then. Very thankful for you to.
S11: This has been the, you know, the constant of twenty twenty this with you you for a little squared.
S7: Yeah. Yes. Every little I can count on so I can count on. All right.
S2: Let’s move on to some recommendations.
S11: Elizabeth, what are you going to recommend first, because I cannot help turning any, you know, event into a home schooling lesson. I am recommending that this Thanksgiving you find out who’s indigenous land you are on. You can do that at native Dasch Land Seet. So that’s run by the non-profit organization Native Land Digital. And they actually have you can like Texas. No, there’s an app. There’s a you can just message them on Facebook. So we will put all of that in the show, notes how to get in touch with them. I love this because it’s a great way to start a conversation about indigenous lands. The map is super interesting if you’re looking at it on the computer and it’s a fun thing to do when you go travel again, you can check your like whose land you’re on at any time. But I think there’s like a step further that you can take it to. And I love the Instagram account at Sit by my fire. And right now she has a list of Native American Heritage Month books posted for children. But she has all kinds of great activities that really focus on incorporating the sacredness of the land that you’re on and the things about the area you are that made it so important to the culture of the indigenous people that were there. And I think that is a wonderful, really approachable way to get to know the history of the United States kind of prior to being colonized. And then, of course, also an entry point into talking about what colonization look like. So I found it really fun. We looked it up and it turns out that we are on muskeg land or land. And from there we found some great books just by using this book list and looking up which ones were written by Creek authors and had a really great discussion and and a fun, a fun thing to do and get your little homeschool lesson in on Thanksgiving.
S2: I think that’s super great. I think for a lot of white Americans, their first introduction to this notion of thinking more deeply about who first lived on the land that you’re living on may have come during the Oscars this year. One take away Titi did a whole little thing about thanking the native people on whose land the theater where the Oscars was held took place. And that sped up actually quite a common and growing trend in academia and in other contexts. It’s something that has been done for years in New Zealand and Australia. It is pretty commonplace now at the beginning of any gathering. And I do think that over the next couple of years, even if you are a person who right now thinks, oh, that seems like a little, you know, is that necessary right now in 2020? I think you’re going to be surprised the extent to which it is going to be adopted broadly across the culture. Thinking more deeply about the about who wants to own the land, on which things are happening now, and I think you will eventually accept that and come to realize how valuable and important that it is. So there’s no better time to start than right now. That’s a great recommendation. Jamila, what about you?
S16: That is a great recommendation. I am recommending for those who are able to access legal cannabis products, emerald, sky, peanut butter cups. Oh, my goodness, these are edibles. They come in a number of dosages. Most of them have five milligrams per peanut butter cup. Some have 10. They come and Indicus is Hiva and hybrid varieties. And if you’re someone like me who I enjoy edibles from time to time, but I’m not really into the flavor that a lot of them have, like I wouldn’t normally be eating sugar coated gummy candies. So eating sugar coated gummy candy in order to take in cannabis isn’t really doing anything but forcing new sugar into an already very sugar rich diet. But I do enjoy eating peanut butter cups and these taste, you know, almost as close to a regular peanut butter cup as possible, unlike the delicious. But Chauke inside of a racist peanut butter cup. These peanut butter cups actually have like a soft, somewhat creamy peanut butter filling, and they’re absolutely delicious. So emerald sky products where legal cannabis products are sold, those sound delicious.
S2: I can’t wait to eat one and be like, man, I wish I could eat like ten more of these, but then not do it because I’m not Maureen Dowd. All right. I am recommending a Canadian television series which many people found long before I did. It’s a lovely comedy drama set in Canada with a group of lovable wackos that you’re going to love. It Slings and Arrows, a Canadian television series set backstage at a Shakespeare Theatre just outside of Toronto. It came out fifteen years or so ago. It’s best known in America, I think, for being the launching pad for Rachel McAdams career. It’s the first thing that she did that brought her to prominence. It’s what she got cast in mean girls out of. We had never watched it. It had been recommended to me like ten million times, but we finally started watching it with our kids. And it is an incredibly good theatre story, just a story of the weirdness and craziness of theater people. It is suffused with a love of Shakespeare and of live performance. It is very funny about how egocentric and idiotic theater people can be while also showing them great affection. It takes theater seriously while also having fun. It’s just a really, really, really good series. We finish season one. We now just started Season two. The first episode of Season two is, I think, the best season premiere I’ve ever seen in one of the best episodes of television I’ve ever watched. Our kids really like it. I can’t recommend it enough. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find on streaming. So we are watching it on DVD. Remember DVD? We’re watching it on DVD that we borrowed some from friends, but you can also buy it on Amazon or at your local DVD store. But it’s really, really, really good. And I would highly recommend watching it with teenagers, especially those who love theater. And we’re thinking about getting into it maybe in their lives, because it will be a great cautionary tale, will scare away those who maybe are only a little bit committed to theater, but draw like a moth to a flame. Those who really want that kind of drama in their lives, it’s really good. Oh, and Schitt’s Creek is pretty fun, too, but I’m still not totally into it.
S17: All right. Let’s show one more time. If you got a question, email us at mom and dad. It’s late dot com or post it to the Slate Parenting Facebook group to search for Slate parenting on Facebook dot com. And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to Mom and dad are fighting on your podcast app of choice. It really helps us out and it helps you out, too, by making sure that you don’t miss a single episode also while you’re there right. To serve you that awesome mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemarie Bellson Mealamu and Elizabeth Nicam. I’m tankless. Thanks for listening.
S1: Hello, sleepless listeners. Thank you as always for your support, which is the turkey at the center of our commutable Thanksgiving table. We could not do the show without you, so I could not exist without the support of Slate plus listeners. We’re deeply grateful for all that you do today and our support segment. It’s Thanksgiving, so we are raising Thanksgiving food. So let’s start with I want to hear from each of you. What is bar none? The absolute worst Thanksgiving food. Elizabeth, take it away.
S7: The turkey, i, i, I ate turkey. What a rude fucking thing to say about our slate. Plus. No, here’s the thing. I know when you said that, I was like, I’m setting myself up for trouble, OK? I hate Turkey. Jeff loves it.
S4: Jeff not only loves it, he loves it so much that it’s not uncommon for him to buy more than one turkey each year. Now, cu turkey prices. What else do we know about Jeff? He is. Cheap, cute turkey prices that have plummeted, you guys, since the turkeys have been out. He has been buying them and cooking them and he is the only one that eats them. I mean, at least he cooks them right to be worth if I cook them. But literally, he then opens the fridge, like for lunch with him and says like, oh, I guess I’m having turkey and shallots again for Turkey, Super Turkey, whatever. And the whole family is like, yes, because we don’t eat turkey and you keep buying turkeys and we have another turkey to cook on Thanksgiving. Now, I normally we cook a turkey on Thanksgiving because it’s the thing to do.
S7: And I take a piece of turkey and I put a whole bunch of cranberries on top of it and I eat it because it’s the polite thing to do. But I, I don’t like it and now I’m surrounded by it.
S1: I’m sorry. This year you’re not even making that gesture. How are you this year? You’re not taking a single fucking.
S4: No, because he’s had it in the house. Like I don’t. Right. Like, I don’t need to make the gesture. You filled my home with something.
S1: I don’t eat a good one. I, I like Turkey, but I wouldn’t like it if my husband bought it and brought us to the house every week.
S4: And then he’s like, guys, it’s thirty nine cents a pound. It doesn’t make it more attractive to me.
S9: Jamila, what is the absolute worst Thanksgiving food, with one caveat being that I am black. There is no Thanksgiving food that I have regularly. And to be fair, I also did not grow up doing a lot of big Thanksgivings. But I’m a I’m familiar with the general lay of the land. I’ve been to enough of them to know what standard and particularly what standard for African-American households. So with that, I crossed the line. Elizabeth, the turkey is the worst, but it is the worst of the list of things that are all good. It’s just that Turkey is the most mediocre. And like I was actually laughing with some folks about this the other day. It’s just the irony of it to be the least impressive thing on the table and the star of the show all at once. It’s just large, right? It’s just the biggest thing. It’s the best thing, you know, like and I’m sure we’ll get to the best thing in a second, so I won’t spoil it. But I think you all know what it is. But it’s really like the like the way Turkey is presented in the media. And kind of when you think of Thanksgiving, I think of carving that white meat. Right. Which is the worst part. And I also am of the controversial opinion that dark meat is the superior meat period. Well, that’s not correct. Yeah, it’s more flavorful. Like the only exception might be duck. Right, because Duck has such a delicious and it’s such a fatty meat all over. So you don’t necessarily need that extra flavor that those thighs give, but they’re still also delicious. So like, well, you know, turkey legs are very good and turkey wings, you know, can be made into some great stuff, just Turkey. But it requires everything that like people like, oh, you like your food to touch everything needs to touch the turkey. The turkey needs a lot of help.
S4: It does need a lot of help.
S9: Even a really well cooked turkey, you know, like I want to have one of those fried ones from top 20 year, I mean, I’d like to have a real problem, but I don’t know anyone who’s doing that. I guess maybe now I live in California where people have space that could be a thing, but like, I want one very badly.
S1: You think it’s too late to order one from Popeye’s is too late to order one from Popeye’s? Yes. I have not had the Popeye’s Fried Turkey, but I have had the Bojangles fried turkey and it was like 40 percent as good as I hoped it was. But it made me think that it actually fried turkey for someone’s backyard would be potentially delicious. OK, but I’ve never had it either. I always I’ve never fried one myself because I assumed I would blow up my house. I appreciate that you’re not wrong in naming Turkey the most boring part of Thanksgiving, but I also feel that you’re being a little bit chicken. Pardon the introduction of another bird, because that’s a commonly agreed to be the most boring part of Thanksgiving by anyone who actually cares about food. I was hoping for something a little more controversial out of the two of you. I’m going to deliver a controversial opinion because I work at Slate Dotcom, the home of controversy on the Internet. Green bean casserole sucks, correct?
S7: Yeah, it’s also terrible.
S1: It’s so OK. It is a bad Thanksgiving dish. I understand that there are people who make gourmet versions of it in which they roast the green beans by a bunch of really good mushrooms and crisp up some onions in a cast iron frying pan and then assemble it into a delicious non Thanksgiving dish. But that is just taking what is naturally a bad dish and doing the best you possibly can with it. Green bean casserole, as it is served at Thanksgiving tables across America is soupy and unnecessarily creamy and does not taste like green beans. Or rather, it tastes only like the bad parts of green beans. And then it has unbelievably salty Lipton’s fried onions off the top. And it is bad, bad, bad, bad.
S9: So I am letting you in on a little black secret here. This is not a secret. I mean, rather, this is not a controversial opinion. In fact, we are all we are in agreement with you. In fact, this is why I like when people joke about black Thanksgiving, a white Thanksgiving. It’s the green bean casserole alone has done such. That’s the difference maker has done such a disservice to your peoples culinary reputation. Like literally that’s the joke. If somebody is bringing a white partner, it’s like, oh, I guess we’ll be having green bean casserole and pumpkin pie because we are split like where sweet potato pie people, though I’m of the opinion that both are delicious pies and their own regard, they just, you know, they’re just very different. But green bean casserole, which I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen unless I was like at a grocery store, deli counter or something. I don’t think I’ve actually laid eyes on it in real life. But the thought of it horrifies me.
S1: I knew about the pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie split. But it is fascinating to know the green bean casserole is the archetypal white Thanksgiving food, and I totally believe it because it’s the most. What is the polite way to say this? It’s the most Minnesotan of all Thanksgiving food with it’s like Creamy Campbell’s onion soup base. It’s not great. And you’re right that it does not speak well to the culinary traditions of my people, the whites. All right. Good. Very good. Now we’ve got our hatred out of the way. We know what is banned from our communal Thanksgiving table. What is the best Thanksgiving food, Jarmila? What is it?
S5: Macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese.
S1: The another great differentiator between black Thanksgiving and white Thanksgiving.
S9: Absolutely. In terms of if it’s present, if it’s required and how it’s prepared, huge, tremendous difference. And there’s a lot of variation even amongst black families. There are people that use some sort of creamy cheese, like a Velveeta style cheese. And there’s like Patti LaBelle actually does. And her recipe is extremely popular and good, even though I’m not a fan at all. And then there are those of us who do the more casserole, like, you know, you’ve got a lot of cheese going on at the top and there’s cheese throughout. But you shouldn’t need a knife to cut it unless it’s cold. But you do need a spent like it’s not something you’re picking up with a spoon.
S1: There’s a little at least a sort of wedge a spatula into it and get it out.
S5: And you want to get a nice big hunk of it.
S7: Is there a crumb topping or note your are you anticrime topping?
S9: I’m personally anticrime I’ve had because I like cheese on the top, but yeah, I’ve had some that were both the cheese will give it like if there’s enough cheese there’s an effort to give you stretch and crunch like a little. Yeah. Yeah. Because the top gets a little. Yeah. Yep. Like the brown it a little bit. I have had some that had crunch at the top and they were very good.
S1: Now I mean no disrespect to black culture in saying this, but I agree that macaroni and cheese tastes better than pretty much any other food. You might eat a Thanksgiving. But I don’t think it’s a Thanksgiving food, not because we didn’t have it on my Thanksgivings growing up, but because I think of Thanksgiving food as something you only ever have at Thanksgiving that you never eat the rest of the year, like unless your Jeff new camp, you never eat turkey the rest of the year. You know who makes stuffing any other time of the year? Macaroni and cheese, I feel like is a staple because it’s so good that it will be served at every potluck to your kids multiple times a year. You might make it as an entree for a bunch of dinners. It doesn’t seem exclusively Thanksgiving to me. Do you feel like there’s a difference between Thanksgiving mac and cheese and everyday mac and cheese?
S9: There are some folks that are like, you know, they’ll use higher quality cheeses or maybe they’ll mix up the number of cheeses that they’re using. But I think part of it, you know, for folks that do the big family gathering is that I’m getting on to so and so’s macaroni and cheese, you know what I mean? Like so it’s like whoever the best macaroni and cheese. There’s a very funny video that went viral last Thanksgiving where some poor young millennial woman had tried to get creative and had found a Thanksgiving recipe online. And somehow she was dispatched out of all the folks in the family to make the Thanksgiving and they didn’t show a picture of it. The only thing that was mentioned was cream cheese. So we already know that I saw her cursing her out. So but it’s just so funny. And she told her that she basically was like, you know, we’re going to sleep. You got to clean up all these issues because it’s the mac and cheese. It’s the part. You don’t do that. You don’t experiment on Thanksgiving. You know, like it’s very sacred. So it’s I think it’s that. So even though you may have had mac and cheese throughout the year, even had that, it’s much less likely that you’ve had that person’s and say, that’s all right.
S1: I accept that qualification.
S7: Like under your rule about this, like mashed potatoes, not count do like people of mashed potatoes are not exclusively a Thanksgiving.
S4: So you can so Thanksgiving foods are only Thanksgiving foods like you eat turkey sandwiches, people already to the restaurant.
S1: What made from a turkey they roasted in their oven all day? No, they don’t.
S4: I mean, Jeff does someone roasted turkey.
S9: The only real Thanksgiving foods would be turkey dress there, stuffing and maybe cranberry sauce. And I’ll admit, I do purchase cranberry sauce.
S1: Now, there’s plenty of other exclusively on Thanksgiving foods. Many of them are bad. But I want to hear from Elizabeth. What is the best Thanksgiving food?
S7: I suffer through everything in the first course to get to the selection of pies. That is why I am there. When you tell me, hey, your plate, you only put a little bit on your plate. It was purposeful.
S4: I really don’t like any of this food. I’m here for what’s coming next, so I’m in for the pies.
S11: And everything in the first course is just like, why do we keep making this? That’s honestly how I feel. I would much rather be eating something else. I am here because there is no other time in which you have made six different types of pies for five people, and I’m down for that.
S1: So you believe that the pie to person ratio should be greater than one?
S7: Yes. OK. Oh, dessert to person ratio.
S11: You know, it’s like I’ve already everyone’s committing to eating a whole lot of food, not really worrying about how much they’ve eaten. I’m, I’m in for that. I’m just transferring all of that to sample every type of pie.
S1: We’re only making two pieces here because we’re doing such a small Thanksgiving by now. I think maybe that was a mistake.
S7: There’s always time to make more pies.
S1: That’s true. We have the rest of Thanksgiving weekend turkey. Right? Right. All right. I am going to choose one of those first courses that Elizabeth hates so much. And I’m choosing a thing that is, I think, an only Thanksgiving thing that isn’t turkey or stuffing or cranberry sauce. It’s sweet potato casserole. I do not mean the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top that are then scorched in a broiler. I mean, a specific sweet potato casserole recipe that I’ve been making for ten years that I got out of Cook’s Illustrated in which you roast a bunch of sweet potatoes, then you blend them with lemon juice and an incredible amount of heavy cream, and then you cover them in like a pecan strudel and then you bake the whole thing and it turns into. What I sort of think of as like a savory pie that gives you a lot all the sweet potato flavor of a sweet potato pie, gosh, with this like crunchy, incredible Strughold top and just a little bit of nuttiness. And it’s unbelievably rich and zesty and great. And it’s my favorite thing to eat. I only make it on Thanksgiving because if I made it any time during the rest of the year, I would just eat the whole pan in like a day. And it I mean, it contains I mean, three six of butter, I think, and a pint.
S4: This sounds like something on the main section that I that I would be here for. Like it is like you have brought something from dessert and put it on.
S1: This is really good, but it’s not exclusively sweet.
S7: It’s not what I don’t like like to sleep either. That’s why I like the pies, like the pies we make our sweet. This sounds perfect for me.
S1: It’s my favorite Thanksgiving food. I, I love it so much I could eat it every day. Thankfully I don’t for the sake of my arteries. But I, I really love it and I love that it is a traditional Thanksgiving thing, but it’s gussied up just a tiny, tiny bit by not putting marshmallows on the top. I’m sure people will tell me it’s not authentic, it doesn’t have marshmallows to which I say try it. You’ll be changed forever.
S9: I want. So, Dan, I looked it up. First up, the picture looks amazing. And I would like to you have to give me the recipe because it’s behind a paywall and I have to give it to Cook’s Illustrated. They’re very clever that they have it so that the social capital, when you just see the preview of the article, it’s like four teaspoons of salt to chocolate bar biscuit topping one jelly cotton candy, like they’ve set it up, whereas like there’s no coffee. So you don’t actually accidentally get don’t even don’t even know what’s in there. I want it. I love all things sweet potato. This is I guess the sweet potatoes are a little bit more of a mixed bag in black households. Like there are some families that just say casserole, but typically it’s more often than that. I’d say it’s candied yams and I will eat them both with utter delight in glee. I’ve yet to meet. I’ve met very few iterations of sweet potatoes that I didn’t enjoy. They were sweet in preparation, at least moderate.
S1: They’re unbelievably delicious. Such a good food. Yes, I will send you the recipe. I recommend our listeners subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated.
S9: It’s a great publication. OK, so I’m not and I’ve got technologies because there’s somebody who writes I respect paywalls and I do pay for publications. You and I and all of you who are listening know damn well that the probability of me making even this one recipe, this one recipe is not great, let alone continuing to make recipes. So I will be saddled with yet another subscription. So I just know I pay for a lot of journalism that I don’t always consume, but I cannot add recipes to the mix at this point. I understand.
S1: I will also say not to Shankly Cook’s Illustrated people too badly. But every Cooks illustrated recipe in history has been pirated, placed online by someone else on their own website. And it’s not too hard to find if you just go down. Already found it. Good job. All right. That is it for this week’s Slate plus segment. Thanks for joining us. I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with its horrible turkey and discussing green bean casserole and its delicious macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes and six pies for five people. That is it for us. Thank you for joining us. We’re so grateful for all that you do. We’ll talk to you next week.