The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

true meaning of thanksgiving

Food is the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Heck, even the Pilgrims knew it, which is why they hooked the Indians up with some food.

I know this is a bold and contradictory statement to what history and Hallmark tells us. Yet, if most of us can agree that the first encounter between the Pilgrims and Indians didn’t go down as our revisionist history books would like us to believe, why is it so hard to believe the true meaning of Thanksgiving is food?

true meaning of thansgivingDon’t get me wrong; I’m not totally insensitive to those who will argue the true meaning behind Thanksgiving is to be thankful. However, I come from the mentality of why do you need a day to show your gratitude? Why can’t you display your gratitude all year? (I should note that I feel the same way about Valentine’s Day.)

I would argue back to #TeamGratitude that I am always grateful on Thanksgiving. I am just hella grateful for some good food and I know I am not alone in this gratitude!

Growing up, Thanksgiving was one of two times a year that I saw my family (typically 50 people) and had two of my favorite meals. Each year we gathered at my aunt’s house. As soon as you walked into the door, you were greeted by a dining room table spilling over with greens, turkey, ham, candied yams and homemade rolls in the center of the room.  Even if you were blind, you didn’t need the visual because you could smell the food as soon as you got close to the true meaning of thansgivingporch.

The first thing I do when I walk into the door on Thanksgiving is to make eye contact with our family’s version of mac and cheese and my cousin Andie’s lemon cake. These are two of my favorite dishes and are central to my Thanksgiving.

If you looked at my cousin’s lemon cake, you’d think it was nothing special. Yet, that cake is the crown jewel of our family meals. It is so good that many will cut a piece before dinner and hide it just to make sure they get a piece before it’s gone.

I’ve tried learning how to make my cousin’s lemon cake, but I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong. The way my cousin’s taste, you’d think she drowned a perfectly baked cake in buttery lemon water. It is just that moist and taste so good.

true meaning of thansgivingThen there is our family’s version of mac and cheese. The mac and cheese is like the queen bee of our meals. If she is not there, best believe there will be a riot in the house.  It’s also the main reason I never could eat (or understand the love of) boxed mac and cheese. And the reason other’s version of mac and cheese will always seem suspect.

I’m sure my family’s love for food is probably the muse for my ‘Food is the true meaning of Thanksgiving’ theory. Every great theory needs a muse. And though I am extremely grateful for gatherings with my family, I remain always #TeamFood when it comes to Thanksgiving.

Which team are you #TeamFood or #TeamGratitude?

Want the recipe for my family’s version of mac and cheese? Subscribe to the Rogue Style Maven List!

An eclectic, world traveling sista from San Francisco expressing 'Rogue-Thoughts' on food, travel, music, fashion and living an authentic life unapologetically.


  • Reply November 25, 2015


    Get your cousin to spill the beanz! I want that recipe. Feature it here! #teamfood

    • Reply November 26, 2015

      Danielle D. Washington

      So you want the recipe to the cake too??? Let’s see if I can sweet talk it out of her.

Leave a Reply