CSotD: Gratitude

Anne Morse Hambrock (Ind) asks a troubling question in “Anne and God,” one that we should all ponder.

Okay, that was long enough.

Thing is, once something is established as a holiday dish, it doesn’t matter what it tastes like or how it’s made.

Many a young bride (well, one I know of) has made green bean casserole with frozen or fresh beans rather than canned, and real onion rings instead of the dried out canned ones, only to discover that, while her version may taste better, tasting better isn’t the point.

I loved my mother-in-law, but she was a bad cook. Still, no holiday was complete without the spread she put on, which included all sorts of things people would hate on other days, like Jell-O salad and green bean casserole, plus a turkey so overcooked that it had to be sorted rather than carved.

If we’d have been there for the food, we’d have left.

But we weren’t, and if the delicate taste of a madeleine can set Proust off on a seven-novel series, why shouldn’t green bean casserole — made in the customary way, however ghastly that might seem — evoke family times and sweet nostalgia?

This is why long engagements are important: You want to sample a few of those holiday meals before you inadvertently bind yourself to someone who thinks candied sweet potatoes should include marshmallows.

Or shouldn’t.



At which point Grand Avenue (AMS) sends us off into two different-but-related directions.

One is kind of a whiplash to our previous discussion, because “comfort food” shouldn’t be all your children ever eat.

It’s easy enough to never challenge them, and to go straight from jars of extruded Beech Nut pap to chicken nuggets and pizza rolls, but it’s equally easy to give them whatever you’re having, assuming you, yourself, do not subsist entirely on chicken nuggets and pizza rolls.

It’s your job as a parent to challenge your kids in all sorts of ways, including making them adventurous eaters from the very start, and, if you consider the population of India, you’ll realize that it is, indeed, possible for a baby to eat, enjoy and digest saag paneer, else the subcontinent would be uninhabited, which I assure you it is not.

The other part of which is the “in all sorts of ways” issue, and, just as it’s easy to fob your kids off with chicken nuggets, it’s easy enough to make every vacation a trip to an amusement park rather than sprinkling in some museums and national parks.

And to plunk them down in front of the TV rather than read them a book, and to read them nothing but dumb sing-songy books instead of ones that might challenge them to think and to challenge the narrator in return.

For instance, the Little House books have come under fire because Laura honestly depicted her mother’s bigotry towards and fear of Indians, contrasted with her father’s accepting attitude.

I always understood and accepted that Laura loved her mother but that the woman was a hard-ass, and it never occurred to me that the story needed to stop for a corrective sermonette each time it came up. It just seemed real.

To which I would add that deaf children, since they don’t grow up overhearing arguments between their parents, are sometimes fearful of their own negative emotions.

Part of challenging your kids is letting them see, and come to understand, life as it is, not as their fairy godmother might wish it were.

That way, when they grow up, they’ll be able to deal with life as it is, rather than as their stunted imaginations picture it.


There are a lot of cartoons about muting that Thanksgiving uncle on Zoom this year, but Stephen Collins (Guardian) managed to tie the fellow in to the release of new vaccines against Covid, and you should go here and see the rest of this piece, which I found hilarious.


A lot funnier than this portrait of avuncular hypocrisy, as presented by Pat Bagley (SL Tribune).

I’ve long accepted the dual system of people who understand astronomy but still think heaven is “up there,” but I have yet to come to peace with people who can mouth the words of a Sunday service and yet tolerate, even actively support, inhumanity on policy levels.

And, while Biden won, he didn’t win by enough to make me feel that most everyone agrees that calling yourself “Christian” should involve exhibiting some rudimentary knowledge of what the term entails.


We can, at least, be grateful this Thanksgiving to see Ann Telnaes (WashPo) bid a not-fond farewell to the demons who have poured from her pen over the past four years.

Not fond, certainly, but I found it interesting to go through this brilliant rogue’s gallery and try to predict which would genuinely be a farewell and which will continue to bedevil our society.


Scott Stantis invokes Faulkner with this Prickly City (AMS) strip: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

In this case, that describes the atmosphere in which we find ourselves, as well as the vestiges of what we’d like to think is the past.

Plus, to be honest, it asks us to examine ourselves.

Trump himself aside, we live in a society that made heroes of Gordon Liddy and Oliver North, and that watches movies like the Wolf of Wall Street and the Long Riders rooting for the villains.

They’re all brought to justice in the end, but this isn’t Sophocles and we don’t walk away from these tragedies with a chastened sense of pity and terror.

Tony and Riff and Bernardo all die pointlessly, foolishly, needlessly, in “West Side Story,” but we strut out of the theater puffed up and humming the Jets’ song.

Here’s the truth, and, if we’re not grateful for what it is, we should be grateful that Joel Pett (Lexington HL) has challenged us with it:

Be grateful for clear vision and the healthy knowledge that the struggle continues.

As well as for old friends and good music.

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Gratitude

  1. Mike, I am grateful that every morning I am privileged to read Comic Strip of the Day. Thank you. May you have a relaxing and safe Thanksgiving. Peace.

  2. I grew up with “Candied Yams” that were made with butter and brown sugar that made an incredible toffeelike glaze. My first encounter with recipes made with marshmallows was a shock to the system.

    My kids hate both – we make a sweet potato soup with shaved Parmesan and bacon pieces as our Thanksgiving dish.

    To Mike, and every member of TDC community, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. If you don’t like sweet potatoes with marshmallows, I’ll threaten you with Lima Bean Loaf from a recipe book from the 1950s with enough recipes to feed Hubby three meals per day, 365 days per year. More of a pamphlet, actually–Hubby didn’t get a whole lot of variety at mealtime.

    And speaking of variety, although I live in one of the most diverse areas of the US paneer is very hard to find. Fortunately, queso blanco is a good-enough substitute. Thanks for the new recipe! I’ve tried variations, but this is a new one for me.

  4. We fed our boys everything. Our oldest took to it well – I remember the night we had escargot he banged on his high-chair tray shouting “more ‘nails, more ‘nails.” He then went through a “will eat three things” phase. Today he’s an adventurous eater and cook, within the bounds set by the fact he’s vegan; his younger brothers also favor a varied, international diet.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving, Mike!

  5. Ooooh… Mike, do you allow recipes in the comments?

    If so: Anne, would you be willing to share the recipe for your sweet potato soup with shaved Parmesan and bacon pieces?

    That sounds amazing!

    Regardless, wishing you all a relaxing and safe Thursday!

  6. Ann Telnaes’ rogues gallery left out a Buckeye favorite : ” Jockstrap Gym” Jordan, who never wears a mask because there isn’t one big enough to cover his mouth.

    Marshmallows actually serve as the melted crust on top of pumpkin pie.

    Happy – peaceful – safe Thanksgiving all.

  7. You may want to brush up on recent history. Those are the Obama/Biden cages! And I defended them then just as I will defend them today. Those are holding rooms with see through walls! Can you imagine the cost to supervise these rooms 24/7 if the walls were made of sheetrock! So props to Barry and Joe for devising a system that saved the USA millions of $$$!

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