Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The majority of you readers, I suspect, have just returned to work (or school) from a short-but-welcomed Thanksgiving Day vacation. Judged by most retailers as the start to the Christmas Season, America' s Thanksgiving holiday kicks-off an extended period where we reflect on the relationships which most affect our lives – be they personal relationships, familial relationships, your relationship to your job, your contributions to or assistance from the community, your relationship with spirituality, mysticism, religion or God or the gods. Then, depending upon whether you are haunted by the guilt of having taken too much or are possessed with the superiority and condescension of your self-serving altruism, you exorcise the particular demons by consuming – holiday food, buying gifts for loved ones, splurging on yourself, donating money to your charity of choice, etc. The season culminates with New Year's Eve/Day, where we all make a bunch of promises (usually unkept) to improve ourselves. Hopefully, like we here at seoulitaryconfinement, most of you feel terrible for being such jerks all year and try like hell to make up for it in these last 37 or so days. Atonement aside, Thanksgiving celebrations require a few simple-but-necessary ingredients. Should you fail to incorporate these particulars with as little variation as possible, well, then, you shall fail to celebrate Thanksgiving, which is about as lame as failing to chew without biting yourself.


1. Turkey, replete with Tryptophan - a holiday bird and its chemicals are necessary for contracting the "Itis" (see #10 below).
2. Starchy Sides - potatoes (sweet or idaho) prepared to your liking, corn, bread-crumb stuffing/dressing (depends on whether or not it is in or out of the bird).
3. Bread - usually in the form of dinner rolls
4. Macaroni & Cheese - best if made in a crock pot.
5. Anything Made in a Crock Pot
6. French's Onion Green Bean Casserole
7. Vegetables
8. Pie - usually pumpkin, but any pie shall suffice.
9. Booze - just keep it legal, also helps to induce the proper stasis...
10. The "Itis" - a natural defense mechanism against gorging, it is the condition where upon nearing critical food mass you loose consciousness despite sensory overload.

Of course, American expatriates get special dispensation from these otherwise stringent requirements. For example, if you are an American in Seoul, finding a turkey on Thanksgiving Day may be difficult. The upscale hoteliers offered both take-out and dine-in Thanksgiving meals. The take-out price for the smallest turkey and sides was approximately $162 (serves 4). Given the cost-prohibitive nature of keeping a traditional Thanksgiving, dinner at an American franchise was a servicable alternative. The spirit of the Thanksgiving season is not totally unknown here in Seoul. For example, they put up their Christmas/New Years decorations way too god-damned early - just like home. I mean, sure, Advent already started, but c'mon...

Also, Koreans do celebrate a Thanksgiving-like holiday which shares many attributes with America's holiday. Chusok is Korea's harvest holiday. Celebrating the promise of a bountiful harvest, Koreans travel home to gather with extended family and feast. Some families take the opportunity to perform ancient Confucian ceremonies honoring the deceased.As the holiday celebration coincides with the harvest moon (15th day of the 8th lunar month or Oct. 6, 2006),Koreans may offer prayers to the moon wishing good-health, happiness and prosperity to friends and family. This year, seoulitaryconfinement was honored by Korean friends with an invitation to a traditional Chusok breakfast. This experience well makes up for any subsequent Thanksgiving celebration malfunctions. Of course, even in Korea, the Thanksgiving celebration is incomplete without the "Itis".Thanks Hans!!!


John said...

Mmmmm....Itis....Not to brag, but I got to experience the Itis, not once, not twice, but three times this year! With one more bird in our deep freeze, well...I'll let you do the math on that.

Anonymous said...


Browns stole one from KC today. Tough break...you miss the playoffs and we miss the No. 1 pick. Hope you're managing comfortably over there. Tell Hans, Sean and Hae Sup that I said hello.

Anonymous said...

Their food looks almost as good as their women.