By Jessica Gregory
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time for love, family, and friendships. Unfortunately, and ESPECIALLY with the recent election, tensions are bound to be high at the dinner table.
Election results aside, Thanksgiving is a breeding ground for invalidation of all kinds. One of the biggest examples of this surrounds food and the act of eating.
People always have something to say about food. That is within their right. However, this Thanksgiving I ask you to please oh please pass the gravy but do not pass judgment on what/how much others eat.
Counting Calories and “Too Much”
No one should count many calories their friend/neighbor/parent/sibling/whoever is eating on Thanksgiving. I cannot stress this enough. My relationship with food is PERSONAL. Your relationship with food is PERSONAL. As someone who is a self-proclaimed foodie and views eating as a social experience, I get double-nervous when someone questions why I’m eating ‘x’ amount of food. It’s happened so much that I feel legitimately guilty when I’m the last person eating at a table (even if I’m not eating “more”) or when I want dessert.
It’s more productive to comment on how good the food is and how thankful we are to be with one another than how much food we’re eating. In fact, try not to do it to yourself either! You don’t have to feel guilty for enjoying Thanksgiving and cider is not your guilty pleasure. It’s just a pleasure.
YES: You’re eating [X flavor] pie? Good choice!
YES: –says nothing and pays attention to own plate-
NO: That is a really big piece of pie…
NO: There are [who the hell cares] amount of calories in that pie!
This is the other side of the coin. Sometimes, someone will take nothing but a salad, or just the veggies, or a tiny little sliver of cobbler. This is not our concern either. You don’t know if something’s going on (and I mean anything, from depression to an eating disorder to sickness to literally just not being hungry). Them not eating as much as you think they should eat may not have anything to do with the quality of your macaroni and cheese.
The best thing you can do if you notice someone not eating is offer them something but, of course, avoid pushing it. If you think there’s something bigger going on, addressing it at the dinner table will only make that person uncomfortable. Address it later.
YES: Hey! Want some beans before I finish them off?
YES: Would you like some X [and if they say no, leave it]
NO: Why aren’t you eating? Don’t you like the food?
NO: You’re all skin and bones! Eat X!
In summary, if you want to eat a salad on Thanksgiving, fine. If you want to eat three plates full of turkey and stuffing, I’m all for it. But remember to be sensitive to yourself and others, because Thanksgiving is a time to exist and enjoy without worrying about the way you look or what is on your plate.
Jessica Gregory is a senior and Editor in Chief for Barnard Bite