To Be Thankful and Free

This evening, Roommate and I are having our Thanksgiving spaghetti.

Right. This requires a bit of explanation.

One of the problems with getting out of a bad family situation is having to rebuild your traditions, like holidays. Sometimes from the ground up, if you were cut off from celebrating seasons like Christmas like the average person in your town. Sometimes the accumulated bad memories and resentments twist what should be good and wholesome into a horror like a low-grade waking nightmare.

(Kind of like the news lately. Ahem.)

So. A big Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings is just… not something I can do. But I’m an American. We solve problems, or work around them.

Enter meaty ground-turkey based spaghetti sauce. It’s a good recipe, even if I’ve had to adapt it lately to leave out the garlic and onions, darn. A dash of powdered ginger helps bring the heat and flavor back in. There is sauce, there are noodles, there is cheese; everybody gets as much as they want. Which is the point of Thanksgiving, IMO; celebrating the freedom to produce and consume, to freely associate, to feed those we care about, and as a consequence make the whole world a warmer and richer place to live.

When people have the freedom to pick and choose how they spend their money and how they earn it, amazing things happen. Books on subjects from parkour to marine foraging to Hittite archaeology and history. Specialty memory foam beds for arthritic old dogs. (Yes, very grateful for that one.) Being able to move and not leave a forwarding address, because so long as you paid all your bills it’s no one’s darned business where you went.

That last one has saved lives. Probably thousands every year in this country alone. Having the option to walk out the door and leave.

That’s freedom. And it is a precious, fragile thing. I never would have thought it was this fragile until this year, when the CDC wants people to treat gatherings of friends and family like a scattered collection of people eating takeout dishes. Don’t share a meal, share recipes instead, and cook and eat everything separately?

Take it from someone with many unfortunate food allergies. There is nothing – nothing – that breaks down goodwill and social bonds faster than telling someone you can’t eat what they’re eating. It’s a travesty of Thanksgiving. It’s a violation of our right to freely associate; one of many rights our ancestors fought and died for, and people still die to protect.

Freedom is not safety. Freedom is, in many cases, diametrically opposed to safety. Freedom means being able to take risks, and that means risking losing, as well. Sometimes time, sometimes money, sometimes even your life. Count the number of people who die from shark-bites, or car crashes, or climbing Everest.

The freedom to live in this world includes the certainty that it will kill you.

The only thing that lasts will be the memories and traditions we pass on to those who survive us. I intend to pass on freedom.

Celebrate Thanksgiving. Be free.

37 thoughts on “To Be Thankful and Free

  1. The caveat being “as long as you paid your bills.”

    I know at least one person who was surprised to discover he still had to pay off those loans, even though he wasn’t getting the statements in the mail…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And on the flip side, the post office taking photographs– and emailing them to you if you ask– of all the mail you get at an address has put a major crimp in the “but we mailed you statements” claims.

      And cellphone records also seriously damaged the “you never called us” thing. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve spent an hour trying to articulate my opinion on the situation, and failing with each draft. So.

    You said it yourself in your post. We’re Americans. We solve a problem or work around it. There’s no one size fits all to working around the flaming dumpster fire that is COVID-19.

    Of course the CDC is saying social distance, wear masks, swap recipes, and share separate dishes. They’re *doctors*. A good doctor does not give a flying flip if their recommendation impinges on your freedoms. You are their patient and it’s their duty to keep you alive.

    A good doctor also recognizes their patients have a right to toss their recommendations out the window.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Doctors and bureaucrats.

      Nobody makes seniority in a Federal organization without being a bureaucrat, unless they are a politician.

      Federal engineering organizations, the people are engineers and bureaucrats. At best, some of the nominal engineers think purely like bureaucrats.

      In the armed services, you don’t get promoted much as an officer or NCO unless you can bureaucrat. Good officers and NCOs are more than simply bureaucrats, but not all of them are good.

      The toolset of doctors is, at best, optimized for one on one healthcare services.

      The toolset of bureaucrats is intended for few on many rule making.

      Consider which tools are used more heavily by doctor-bureaucrats managing collective health problems.

      Remember, there have been periods within the history of medicine where doctors killed more patients than they saved. The current reputation doctors have for saving lives is a result of applying certain techniques to past problems.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. A major problem is that most of their advice has not been good medical advice, either.

      I’m with you on the really tired of a complaint being, basically, “how dare Official X say that X is good?”

      I just have hit the wall on the CDC doing the cheesy thing where they want to be treated as whatever is most congenial to what they want at the moment.
      They’ve ditched science, evidence, precautions– which require paying attention to the relevant costs of the precautions— for being a rather unreliable PR firm. It’s annoying.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Devil’s advocate for a moment… My (limited) understanding is there HAD been a general pandemic response plan and team set up in 2015, or thereabouts. But that same plan and team were discarded in 2016, after the change in administrations.

        I’m not saying they’re right. Politicizing in an organization that, IMO, should NOT be politicized, is never kosher. From what I know of things, however, from their perspective… they have reason to complain.


      2. I’ve seen comments that it was outdated, using information from previous infection outbreaks. Given the current virus breaks as many old patterns as it maintains – well, who the heck knows how it would have gone.

        Legit question: “see how week it’s working when they tried to implement it now”: In reference to the next administration?


      3. Ah. The “we have no idea how to medically fight this thing (yet) so we’re going to burn it out with quarantine” panic button.

        A one size fits all solution does not exist, unfortunately…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Another problem, if you look at the Global Health Security Division of the CDC (as opposed to the NSC– this is the one that is supposed to deal with actual health, rather than how-it-hits-defense) website:

        They depend on working with the WHO.

        The same WHO that has, even the most generous reading must conclude, placed helping China save face as a higher priority than attempting to control a novel viral outbreak. (I am not among the most generous.)

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The global health security team was a sub-group of the National Security Council, which was created in 2016 and reorganized back into the greater organization in 2018 — basically, they recognized that it was redundant, duplicative, or added un-needed extra steps, sometimes two or three of those. (Both making people do stuff twice, and having two totally different organizational routes for the same stuff is going to get things missed.)

        Here’s enough details you can dig up whatever evidence will satisfy you, though the article’s six months old:
        During the summer of 2018, Bolton reorganized the Trump NSC. In January 2017, there were directorates for nonproliferation and arms control, for weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, and for global health security and biodefense. Bolton merged the three directorates into a “counterproliferation and biodefense” directorate. According to administration officials I spoke with, this reorganization was designed in part to have better cooperation between those monitoring and preparing for intentional biological threats on one hand and for naturally occurring biological threats on the other. This directorate is now headed by Anthony Ruggiero.

        Somewhat related grumble, I am really, really sick of supposed news reports that can’t be bothered to either give enough information for me to check their claims, or source their claims, preferably both. I should not have to go to a flippin’ political commentary magazine in order to find enough information to judge the accuracy of a conclusion, that’s what reporters are for!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Two things there: both what Vathara brought up about it being an idiot plan, and that a very great many such things are _explicitly set to be canceled automatically at a new presidential term_, with no input from the president needed (and happening even if it’s just a second term for the _same_ president). The usual process if a particular president is coming in for a second term, is to set things up ahead of time so that, while they get a “vacation” for a few days, the orders re-starting their operation are in the list of the _mountain_ of paperwork for the president to sign in the first few days saying “oh, yeah, they can get back to work after all”. A president _not_ doing that isn’t “the new president fired them”, it’s simply “the new president didn’t restart them”.

        And yes, this has been used as an attack against presidents the media didn’t like, even when the previous president had been on record as thinking there was no need for one of those little committees to continue. If the old president hadn’t _officially ended their remit early_, then it would _automatically_ end when his term was over, and the media could then blame the new president for “stopping” them (when it’s really for “not restarting them”), even if the old president had thought they needed ended.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Applause.

    Um… i can’t eat garlic and onion either, but I discovered I could eat things made with garlic or onion OIL. As long as I made the oil myself, the stuff from the stores was not compatible with me. To make it, just take a bit of minced garlic/onion and a tablespoon or so of oil (I use olive) saute a couple minutes, strain out the solids, use oil instead of the solids. It gets the flavor back in and works for things like pizza, which really needs something in that flavor family to taste right. (Doesn’t work for stroganoff, though. You need the solids, and the mushrooms – which I also can’t eat – to have something besides sour cream & beef.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, steep doesn’t work for me, either, just fresh made by cooking for that dish. I was glad to get the FODMAP idea, it’s certainly worked to get a handle on issues. But there’s so MUCH to be careful of.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Everybody’s got their favorite recipes, and I agree that spaghetti with homemade sauce sounds like a good one. Though some things really do need garlic. Hopefully you’ll figure out whatever workarounds you need!

    Food based traditions are great. Dad always jokes about green bean casserole being a requirement for all gatherings in Indiana. Well, I think he’s joking…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    …It occurs to me as I quote that, that it’s particularly appropriate on this particular day. As I recall, Mr. Franklin _did_ want the turkey to be our national symbol….

    Happy Thanksgiving, all!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Can you eat other aromatics? Fennel is carrot family but low carb — can you eat that? Of course, not everybody loves the licorice veggies.

    I’ve also heard celeriac root and just plain celery.

    And if you just want weird, get those Szechuan peppercorns. The “tongue-numb” ones. They’re not hot, they don’t hurt; they’re just weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, given all your allergies and sensitivities, I wouldn’t try Szechuan peppercorns until your system settles down a bit. But they are cool. If you see a dish called “Mala beef” or similar, it will have Szechuan pepper if it’s a more authentic place, and not much of anything if it’s not.

      The trick is that a lot of Chinese restaurants have owners or staff from the province where Mala beef is popular, and they use those peppercorns a lot. (Now that Szechuan peppercorns are legal in the US, which they didn’t use to be. For agricultural reasons.)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the turkey spaghetti idea, btw.

    You know what is cool for a festive meal? Medieval banquet cuisine! Things that look like other things! Unless you were in the SCA, you probably never had any of that stuff, and it adds some nice formality.

    I have to admit, my favorite thing this year was the picture of somebody who cut and sculpted piecrust lattice strips into the shape of a giant kraken curling mostly around, but slightly over, the pie. What a great idea for Halloween!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Almond flour piecrust is a thing. People who don’t do milk solids can use ghee (clarified butter) instead of regular butter. But I think it would be more like a cookie texture than a stretchy piecrust, although the butter is more responsible for stretchiness than gluten would be.

        I guess almond flour with olive oil would be more like a flatbread or pizza crust.

        Liked by 1 person

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