THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- NOVEMBER 20, 2021
Thanksgiving is the harbinger of another holiday season. The Neff Zone tradition has always been to focus on only fun things during this period and this year will be no different. If some smiles are generated along the way then all the better.
The centerpiece of Thanksgiving is the holiday meal. In that regard, here's some potentially good news. According to Food Network's Healthy Eats, carbs are good for you.
“Wellness fads have managed to position carbs as something people should eat less of, which is unfortunate because they’re an essential food group with innumerable benefits. Carbohydrates, along with fats and proteins, are considered a macronutrient and are the body’s preferred source of fuel. They help the brain, kidneys, heart and other major organs function by providing the body with energy and a range of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.”
Now, this does not mean you should go carb crazy. “Experts typically recommend that most of our plate consist of carb-rich foods, with fibrous vegetables taking up half the plate. The other half would be divided between starchy carbohydrates and protein.”
There's another benefit, especially if you're adding a turkey trot or long walk to your Thanksgiving Day activities. “Contrary to what you may have heard, carbohydrates are an essential part of nourishment for everyone, but especially for people who are physically active.” (https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/healthy-tips/carbs-are-good-for-you)
So, once the main courses of Thanksgiving dinner are history, it's time to move on to the desert selections. There is good news here as well. According to Healthgrades.com, pumpkin pie has some positive aspects.
“Did you know pumpkin is actually a fruit? Maybe that’s what makes it so delicious in a pumpkin pie. It’s also a treat for your body, because pumpkin is packed with health benefits. It helps improve vision, supports healthy skin and bones, battles infection, and boosts cellular growth. It’s also a great source of fiber and contains only fifty calories in one cup of pumpkin.”
One of the things pumpkin does is particularly good during the fall season. It strengthens your immune system. “Thank goodness pumpkins show up in the fall just in time for the cold and flu season. In addition to antioxidants and vitamin A, one cup of pumpkin is chock full of vitamin C and zinc. Vitamin A helps your body ward off viruses and fight infections and could make immunizations more effective. Vitamin C and zinc can speed up your recovery and help you get over your sniffles faster. These are all perfect reasons to indulge in pumpkin pie this fall and year-round.” One down side. I checked and there is no data concerning the six-inch pile of whipped cream atop your wedge of pumpkin pie. (https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/food-nutrition-and-diet/8-surprising-health-benefits-of-pumpkin)
Speaking of pumpkin pie, a fan vote on Ranker.com indicates that when it comes to Thanksgiving deserts pumpkin pie actually comes in second. It's an interesting list.
“The most traditional among us probably go instantly for Thanksgiving pie staples like pumpkin pie, pecan pie and apple pie. In the South, one can often expect to devour scrumptious sweet potato pie, too. And yes, some people actually do like mincemeat pie.”
Maybe why pumpkin pie did not top the Ranker list is because of all the pumpkin variations: pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cupcakes, and even pumpkin flavored gingerbread. The oddest concoction is (without a doubt) pumpkin flavored Jell-O.
Okay, so the top five finishers were: apple pie, pumpkin pie, apple crisp, Dutch apple pie and pecan pie. You can see the entire list at: https://www.ranker.com/list/best-thanksgiving-desserts/chef-jen.
After all the eating is accomplished and everyone is splayed out on the living room furniture in a near comatose state, it's a good time to snap them to attention with a Thanksgiving factoid. “Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday, is not actually American.” According to TheCultureTrip.com, Thanksgiving was first celebrated in Canada forty years before we started in the States.
“Both Canada and the United States hold Thanksgiving as a noteworthy national holiday that occurs in the autumn, and in both countries, many people consider it to be an important time for families to gather and enjoy a meal together. Despite these outward similarities, however, there are some important distinctions to be made between how Canadians and Americans conceptualize and celebrate their versions of Thanksgiving.”
First of all, Thanksgiving in Canada is in October, not November. “Specifically, it comes on the second Monday of the month. Canadian Thanksgiving is officially on a Monday, but it can be celebrated at any point over the three-day weekend.”
That said, the Thanksgiving meals are close to the same. “Turkey is the main dish, accompanied by stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, other fall vegetables.”
Pumpkin pie is also on the menu, but the versions are slightly different. “American pumpkin pie tends to be sweet and is paired with custard, while in Canada, pumpkin pie is spicier, with ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.”
Finally, another holidays tradition is the Neff Zone Holidays Page: https://www.neffzone.com/holidays/. On this page are all sorts of crafts, games puzzles, recipes, jokes, and things to see and do. The page is mainly for the kidlings, but adults might find some things of interest too.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.