THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- NOVEMBER 19, 2022
The holidays are upon us. I know this because cheesy holiday movies are already airing on television and my fridge is stocked with Christmas ales. With Thanksgiving next week, thoughts turn to the big meal and family fun.
Most families will gather around a Thanksgiving turkey, but others may opt for something less traditional. If you want a box of frozen Kobe beef croquettes from Asahiya, a butcher shop in western Japan, you're out of luck unless you placed your order in 1992. There's a thirty year waiting list.
The shop wants more people to enjoy Kobe beef, so they actually lose money on every order. “Each box of Extreme Croquettes, which includes five pieces, sells for $18.40. A week before the delivery date, the shop will confirm the delivery with the patient customers once again. Having a thirty-year list of unprofitable orders to fulfill can be stressful, especially as the price of Kobe beef and labor continues to rise.” Go figure. (https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/japan-kobe-beef-croquettes-30-year-waitlist/index.html)
For some, the main course at a Thanksgiving dinner is less important than the side dishes. This could be dangerous territory. “The most divisive dish at a holiday table isn't the Brussels sprouts or the green beans – it is the candied sweet potato casserole. Some might say that melted marshmallows have no place on top of a vegetable. Others might say the candy improves everything it touches.”
The reason for adding marshmallows is simply because Americans seem to have an overdeveloped sweet tooth. “There’s definitely a link between sweet taste and positive, warm feelings. Several studies that suggest links between eating sweet foods and perceiving relationships more positively, perceiving faces as more attractive, and even feeling more gratitude.” (https://www.inverse.com/science/candied-sweet-potatoes)
Dessert can also be a source of discussion, especially if on of the choices is pecan pie. According to WordTips: “Americans can’t agree on how to pronounce pecan, with the nation split between pea-can and puh-con. The American Pecan Council held a poll in 2020 to find out once and for all which pronunciation was more popular. While puh-con took the crown with a two-thirds majority, one in three Americans (most likely in the south) prefer pea-can.” By the way, the most mispronounced food in America is burger. See the graphic at: https://word.tips/most-mispronounced-foods-drink-map/.
Leftovers are a big part of Thanksgiving, which means you can make the best sandwich in the universe – turkey and peanut butter on inexpensive white bread. Scoff if you must, but there is a bit of science lurking here.
“There was a time when plain white bread helped cure disease. During World War II, Wonder Bread partnered with the U.S. government to start using enriched flour in its products. This flour, to which essential vitamins and nutrients were added, was much needed at the time because many Americans were suffering from pellagra from lack of niacin. By enriching flour with the vitamins Americans desperately needed, Wonder Bread brought nutrition to the country, and pellagra and beriberi were almost wholly eradicated.” I can feel the healthiness coursing through my body as we speak. (https://www.tastingtable.com/1068425/how-wonder-bread-helped-eliminate-2-diseases-in-the-us.)
Watching the Detroit Lions play football on Thanksgiving is a true Michigan tradition dating back to 1934. An explanation for this is given by Good Housekeeping in “35 Fun Thanksgiving Trivia Facts.” (https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/thanksgiving-ideas/a35457/thanksgiving-trivia/)
“George A. Richards purchased the Portsmouth Ohio Spartans in 1934 and moved them to Detroit. Rebranded as the Detroit Lions, George decided to host a Thanksgiving Day game against the world-champion Chicago Bears in hopes of attracting fans. The team has always played on Thanksgiving except between 1939-1944 due to World War II.”
While everyone is busy preparing dinner or watching the Lions, it's important to keep the kidlings occupied. Rather than argue with them about using electronic devices, challenge them to go on a quest for Thanksgiving jokes. Nothing lightens the mood at a holiday table than a big helping of humor.
In “56 Funny Thanksgiving Jokes That Everyone Will Find Hilarious,” there are some knee-slappers. “What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children? If your father could see you now, he'd turn over in his gravy.” Musicians at the table? “Why did the turkey play the drums in his band? Because he already had drum sticks!” (https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/thanksgiving-ideas/g22788839/thanksgiving-jokes/)
If the little ones really want to get in the spirit, there is a list of “61 Corny Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids.” They might ponder “What did the sweet potato say when it was asked if it was hungry?” The obvious answer is: “Yes, I yam.” They might also ask: “Knock knock. Who’s there? Anita. Anita who? Anita bigger pair of pants ’cause I ate too much.” More gems at: https://www.weareteachers.com/thanksgiving-jokes-for-kids/.
May your Thanksgiving set the tone for the coming holiday season and beyond. In the words of Henry David Thoreau: “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.