PAST EVENT The Essence of Hospitality and a Recipe for Thanksgiving

Food is hot right now.  Everybody is talking about food,  in kitchens, restaurants, blogs, over the dinner table—especially as Thanksgiving approaches.  A recipe’s public life provides GPS-like  instructions on how to prepare the food, its secret life provides hospitality–guidelines for nourishing family and friendships; tradition and imagination, culture and community. Thanksgiving, which many consider the best holiday of the year, is a family holiday, stretched to embrace relationships extended by marriages and births, friends, newcomers, strangers.

The United States is the only country in the world with a national holiday centered on a national meal, the Thanksgiving dinner. Therefore, this talk—with audience participation–will treat the entire Thanksgiving menu as a single recipe, the Great American Thanksgiving Gestalt, stuffed with comfort foods: dressing, potatoes—mashed, sweet; green bean casserole; cranberry sauce; other sides; and pie—your choice.  As writer Nora Ephron says of Thanksgiving dinner: Don’t mess with it. What most people make for Thanksgiving dinner is what their mothers made, and you stray from this at your peril.

Lynn Z. Bloom’s experience as a professional author and a passionate home cook informs her current book Recipe.  Her first book—of 25– was a biography of Doctor Benjamin Spock, author of Baby and Child Care, America’s major child-rearing manual in the 1940s-70s.  His advice, “If you don’t write clearly, someone could die,” was Dr. Bloom’s mantra as Distinguished Professor and Aetna Chair of Writing at the University of Connecticut for 28 years.  She has taught in locations ranging from University of New Mexico and the College of William and Mary to Martha’s Vineyard, Florence Italy, and New Zealand.  She has written extensively on ethics, travel, and food.  Bon appetit!