For a while we lived right off of Broadway in Midtown Manhattan, close enough so that on Thanksgiving morning you could hang your head out of a window and glimpse an intersection's worth of the Macy's parade balloons as they'd glide by. An intersection isn't quite enough to get the full length of Snoopy, but having a 50-foot inflated dog outside your window would give you one of those uniquely New York moments, when you get to compare what's on TV with what is real. It's not unlike watching a Broadway play in all its magic only to then see the actors, scrubbed of their make-up, coming out of the stage door and heading home.
Every Thanksgiving I think of a young woman from Odessa, Texas who several years ago made her first visit to New York City. She was a baton twirler with one of the high school bands that come here every year to march in the parade. It was her first time away from home and her first time out of Texas. "Can you believe that people here actually celebrate Thanksgiving?" she marveled, as if we all would kill the day in a bar or movie theatre. "And do you know there are children who live here, too?" She clearly had formed her image of New York life from having seen too many episodes of Law & Order.
Of course, we know better. To begin with, there are three million kitchens in New York City and today many of them have turkeys roasting in the oven. Our menus may be ethnic, vegan, pot luck, or an over-achieving tour de force, but many of us will be gathering with people we love to give thanks and, as E.B. White once wrote of New Yorkers, to belong "to something unique, cosmopolitan, mighty and unparalleled."
Today, if you are cooking, I raise my glass to you. Regardless where you may live or how you spend this day -- in the kitchen or at the table -- thank you for spending time with me and The City Cook, for reading my words every week, and for sharing in this great and satisfying adventure of cooking at home.