This is the time of year where we revel in tradition, participating in rituals and using language that takes us "home for the holidays" whether we're physically traveling or not.
But it's also a time to examine those traditions, looking at the language we use to name them, to change them, and to play with them. Here, we take you through a selection of Thanksgiving-related resources on Vocabulary.com that track the holiday, starting with recipe selection, and moving onto cooking, the meal, the post-meal coma, and the holiday shopping season that starts up as soon as Thanksgiving ends.
The Prep. For many amateur cooks, Thanksgiving is a time of terror. Gird yourself here.
- 13 Words You Better Know Before You Try to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner — There you are, a half-hour before guests arrive, face-to-face with the tragic implications of not knowing what deglaze means. Does it involve icing? Pottery? That's when you realize: Recipes are not only about how to cook a particular dish. They're about words.
- This Thanksgiving: A "Whirling Hypno Wheel" of Words — Instead of cooking squash, we're cooking heirloom squash. We're lacing it with a pepita (squash seed) puree. Sunchokes are finding their way onto our tables, and not only are they caramelized, they're finished with beet confit.
The Meal: What to eat. What not to eat.
- Gastronomically delicious but linguistically impossible: on "dry-brining" turkey — The very word brine implies water. Tons of seafaring stories reference the briny deep as a euphemism for the salty sea. So what could a dry-brine possibly be?
- Some "Cherpumple" for Thanksgiving? — Nancy Friedman reports on recently coined food-manteaus, including one for a dessert comprised of cherry, pumpkin, and apple pies, each baked inside a layer of cake. (And yes, there's a flambé version.)
Sources for Innocuous Small Talk: Save the family drama for Christmas.
- What's the Difference Between "thanksgiving" and "Thanksgiving"? — Would it change the day for you in any way if you began wishing people a "happy thanksgiving" rather than a "happy Thanksgiving"? Something to think about as you sit down to dinner...
Post Meal: If you're conscious, chances are someone's trying to talk to you about why you feel so sleepy. This leads to the age-old question:
- Is Tryptophan's Soporific Effect the Baloney We Serve With Our Turkey? — Given that it makes you sound like you're wearing a white lab coat every time it comes out of your mouth, the myth-tophan is likely to stick around for many Thanksgivings to come.
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