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Uma Thurman recently reminded us what a badass she truly is when she was asked about Harvey Weinstein and the rampant sexual assault allegations in the entertainment industry and beyond over the last few months. Thurman responded with a chillingly, devastatingly measured anger that conceivably could have melted the skin off Weinstein’s body if he’d been standing near her in that moment. “I’ve been waiting to feel less angry,” she said at the time. “And when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.”
While her moment to tell her own story may not have arrived quite yet, she took to Instagram today to wish (almost) everyone a happy Thanksgiving. And with an image of her iconic The Bride character from the Kill Bill movies, her words today were cutting enough that no sword was required.
I am grateful today, to be alive, for all those I love, and for all those who have the courage to stand up for others.
I said I was angry recently, and I have a few reasons, #metoo, in case you couldn’t tell by the look on my face.
I feel it’s important to take your time, be fair, be exact, so… Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! (Except you Harvey, and all your wicked conspirators – I’m glad it’s going slowly – you don’t deserve a bullet) -stay tuned
Need to chill your wine before dinner? Just hold it up to the screen on Uma Thurman’s Instagram. Because that was wonderfully ice cold. Consider us all thankful for Uma today.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has settled on a host for the 75th Annual Golden Globes and they’re sticking in the realm of late night for their MC. Yes, award show season is nearly upon us and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Late Night‘s Seth Meyers has been tapped to host the ” Diamond Jubilee edition” of the Golden Globes, taking the reins from 2017’s host Jimmy Fallon who had more teeth to his appearance than you remember. (Right now, Ricky Gervais is probably muttering one-liners into a pillow or placing them in a folder marked “next year.”) Meyers comes in with ample hosting experience beyond his current Late Night gig and former Weekend Update anchor bonafides. The 43-year-old comedian has hosted the ESPYs, the Emmys and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that appeared to spark Donald Trump eventually running for president out of spite.
“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is excited to have Seth Meyers host the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards”, said HFPA President Meher Tatna in a statement trumpeting the news. “With his natural comedic wit and innate ability to charm audiences, Seth will help us carry on the celebratory tradition of recognizing the best in television and film at the Party of the Year.”
The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony will take place on January 7, 2018. The nominations for those shiny (and sometimes controversial) prizes will be revealed December 11. Here’s hoping Monster Trucks doesn’t get snubbed.
The sexual misconduct allegations against Senator Al Franken have sparked plenty of discussion about what should happen next with the congressman and how it compares to allegations against GOP candidate Roy Moore. For some, like Franken’s female co-stars and co-workers at Saturday Night Live, they are quick to point out their own personal experiences with Franken and how he’s not a predator in their eyes. But then others have zero tolerance for what he did, noting how it all is part of the same cultural issue and a change is needed.
All of this came before Franken was accused by two more women of inappropriately touching them in two separate incidents in 2007 and 2008. According to a report in HuffPost, two anonymous women shared their alleged encounters with Franken, one alleging that the senator grabbed her butt at a June 2007 event at the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus and the other a similar, but more serious allegation during a Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis.
The 2007 incident is similar to the second allegation against Franken in 2010 after he had become a senator. According to HuffPost, the accuser is staying anonymous to avoid harassment online:
“My mother loves Al Franken. She listened to Air America [on which Franken had a radio show] every day,” the first woman said. ”I saw him and asked if we could take a photo together for my mother, and we stood next to each other … and down his hand went.”
HuffPost spoke to two sources close to the first woman who corroborated her account.
One fellow choir member, Sarah, remembers not only being there for the groping incident but hearing another choir member say that Franken wouldn’t stop looking at her chest.
The second accusation follows a similar path, but includes Franken allegedly propositioning the anonymous woman to “go to the bathroom together”:
“My immediate reaction was disgust,” the second woman said. “But my secondary reaction was disappointment. I was excited to be there and to meet him. And so to have that happen really deflated me. It felt like: ‘Is this really the person who is going to be in a position of power to represent our community?’”
Franken responded to the allegations in a statement to HuffPost saying, “It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events.” He also denied the 2008 allegation:
“I can categorically say that I did not proposition anyone to join me in any bathroom”
Both women claim they didn’t speak out until now and wouldn’t include their names due to fears it would affect their professional and personal lives to speak out.
Thanksgiving is time for friends and family to come together and eat a whole lot of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and any number of random sides based on where you live. But, with all that filling food, you’re going to need something to wash it down. There’s nothing wrong with staples like wine and beer. But, after (or instead of) you imbibe a glass of Merlot or a pint of Guinness, you’re going to want to reach for something with a little more pizazz.
If you really want to impress your friends and family, you’ll make one of these delicious, festive cocktails. Now that’s something to be thankful for!
From Dan Rook at Everly Bar in Hollywood
From Stephan Mendez of The Esquire Tavern in San Antonio, Texas
From Añejo in Hell’s Kitchen and Tribeca
2oz Espolon Anejo
0.25oz Lime Juice
1.5oz Sweet Potato Purée
4 dashes Hellfire Bitters
Mexican Cinnamon Garnish
From The Parlour Bar at El Cortez Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas
¼ cup thinly sliced red apples
¼ cup orange quartered
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. apple brandy
Angry Orchard Hard Cider
Preparation: In a pint glass combine red apples, orange, lemon juice and brandy. Top with Angry Orchard Hard Cider
Pumpkin Pie Punch
1/2 gallon cold apple cider
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
12 ounces cream soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup Everclear
apple slices for garnish
cool whip or whipped cream for garnish
Preparation: In a large pitcher, stir together the cider and pumpkin. Use a large whisk and stir until fully combined. If you’d like it to be extra smooth, you can pour through a cheesecloth or small wire mesh strainer, but we didn’t find that necessary. Stir in the cream soda, pumpkin pie spice, and Everclear. Add apple slices into pitcher and keep in fridge until ready to serve. Serve cold topped with whipped cream or cool whip.
Fall All over
Created by Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador Fred Parent
1 ½ parts Hendrick’s Gin
¾ parts Cloudy (unfiltered) Apple Juice
¾ parts Fresh Lemon Juice
Preparation: Shaken and poured into a long glass and finished with ginger beer.
Garnish: Grated nutmeg and long red apple slice
2 oz. Cointreau
.50 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
3 slices of a tart Apple
7 leaves of fresh rosemary
4 oz. Club Soda or Seltzer
Muddle the apple and rosemary in a Highball glass. Add Cointreau and lime juice with ice and top with club soda. Stir briefly and garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of apple.
Matcha Hot Chocolate
1 1/2 oz Baileys Original
1 1/2 tsp matcha powder
1/2 cup hot soy milk
1 oz white chocolate chips
In a saucepan, combine Baileys Original, match powder, hot soy milk, and white chocolate chips.
Pour into a copper mug. Top with whipped cream and a tall skewer of pink mochi balls painted with glittery luster dust
Warm Apple Cidre
From Stella Artois Cidre
6 bottles of Stella Artois Cidre
10 grams Ginger
2 pieces Star Anise
1 tsp. Unsalted Butter
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Orange (to zest)
Mix Stella Artois Cidre in sauce pot along with other ingredients, except butter. Bring to a boil, then lower flame and reduce down to approximately 1 cup. Strain and discard solids, whisk in butter. Pour hot Stella Artois Cidre mixture into a mug. Top with whipped cream and vanilla extract. Garnish with cinnamon stick and orange zest.
1.5 parts DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky .75 parts Lemon juice
.75 parts Honey syrup
3 slices fresh ginger
Candied ginger garnish
Preparation: Using a wooden muddler, muddle the fresh ginger in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until it is well mashed. Add the blended Scotch, lemon juice, and honey syrup, and fill shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled (about 20 seconds). Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass (you may wish to double strain through a fine tea strainer to remove the small flecks of ginger), and spray the Islay Scotch over the top.
If you haven’t seen Get Out by this point, Thanksgiving should be your entrance into Jordan Peele‘s house of horrors. It’ll be very helpful before the film ends up getting attention during awards season. Allison Williams stopped by The Tonight Show and ended up talking about her role in the film quite a bit, revealing that it was one of her previous roles that earned her a spot as the seemingly perfect Rose.
No, it wasn’t her time on Girls that sealed the deal in Peele’s eyes. Instead, he thought her performance as Peter Pan on NBC’s live musical broadcast a few years ago made her perfect for the role:
“Jordan cast me because of Peter Pan. He was like, ‘If she could fly on live television for three hours with Christopher Walken walking around beneath her, she’ll do anything…She’s got this innocence, she played Peter Pan, We need someone who immediately the audience trusts because the movie just gets going and you have to be on her side’”
As she tells Jimmy Fallon, he was dead on with his thinking and she really takes a turn in the film from the nice sweet girlfriend to a calculating predator by the end of the film. Just be happy that it wasn’t the wirework itself that convinced Peele to cast her in the film. You’d be taken right out of the story is she went flying out of her bedroom window to close out the movie like some sort of banshee.
(Via The Tonight Show)
Thanksgiving is here, and you know what that means. Everyone and their brother considers themselves a master chef, seeking to cook the fabled holiday fowl to crispy, delicious perfection. Lately, it is fairly unanimous that the most delicious turkey is the deep fried turkey — because deep frying anything tends to turn the tastiness up to eleven. It’s not even that unhealthy for you (thanks, peanut oil!), at least on the deep fried scale of clogged arteries. However, things can take a nasty turn if you don’t fry it properly, leading to fiery explosions, painful burns, property damage, and seriously ruined holidays.
While dealing with copious amounts of boiling oil is always a cause for caution, the key is to properly thaw your bird. When you just toss a frozen turkey into the oil, all of the water sinks to the bottom of the pot, evaporates, and causes your turkey and your eyebrows to be eviscerated in a dangerous fireball. Don’t take my word for it (Or the Shat’s). Check out some of these horrifying turkey fails and remember to be safe this Thanksgiving.
Calling the fire department was the absolute right call there (and in any instance like this). Look at that deck. You don’t want to explode a deck that nice.
Turkey frying pro tip: always wear shoes.
Sure, this is a controlled test with actual fireman, but seriously. This could be in your backyard. Please note the moment when the ENTIRE SCREEN WAS FILLED WITH FIRE!
This should be common sense, but if the vat of oil is already on fire, ABANDON SHIP.
It’s almost impressive how totally chill the camera guy is when faced with a towering inferno of grease and bird parts.
Now Watch: How Thanksgiving Brings Food to Another Level
The accusations against Harvey Weinstein have of course led to a torrent of other stories about celebrities being accused of sexual assault and/or harassment. Before that all came to light, though, it was reported earlier this year that former That 70’s Show star Danny Masterson is being investigated by the LAPD for “violently raping” four women, as the department put it.
One of these women is Chrissie Carnell Bixler, who’s married to At The Drive-In frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Now, Bixler-Zavala is speaking out against Masterson and the Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a member. In an impassioned series of tweets, the singer wrote that he and his wife are being harassed by the church, that the only apology his wife got was “a letter from him that would make your skin crawl,” and that the allegations against Masterson are referenced in At The Drive-In’s music:
“My wife is one of Danny Masterson’s rape victims. Of course Danny, being the scumbag he is, outed her by name a while ago with the help of his ding bat publicist Jenni Weinman. The Church of Scientology has been harassing us since last year when she pressed charges.
Our phones and computers have been tapped and the Church has been outsourcing private investigators and various thugs to follow and try and intimidate my family under the policy known as fair game. If anything happens to my wife while I’m gone on tour then you’ll know why.
All my wife ever wanted was an apology from Danny Masterson for raping her. All she got was a letter from him that would make your skin crawl. Can you imagine how the other three victims feel? Allegations my ass we are stuffed to rafters in evidence. My wife pressed charges against Danny Masterson a year ago after learning of the other victims that he and the Church of Scientology had silenced. Twitter, TMZ, LAPD are all bought and paid for.
Last year around November I got a cease and desist letter from Marty ‘The Renfield of Hollywood’ Singer because my tweets were too suggestive. I never named Danny once. Marty use to rep Cosby. Need I say more? I predict Danny Masterson will pull a Polanski and flee.
You might wanna go back and re-read my ‘nonsensical’ lyrics off our last ATDI record.”
At The Drive-In released In•ter a•li•a, their fourth album and first in 17 years, in May. Metal Sucks notes that the lyrics of “Incurably Innocent” seem to be targeted at Masterson and the Church of Scientology, since the words reference Franklin Avenue, where the church’s first Celebrity Centre International is located in Hollywood:
“He keeps a-hiding your photograph
Of the moment that you needed to emasculate his
Photograph but you locked up in the trance of a memory
Photograph of the moment that you needed to emasculate his
Photograph but you locked up in the trance of a memory
Marching to the coffins on Franklin Avenue
Preyed on the anguish, you better run
Always dragging a finger across his throat
Man is the fixer to sage the ghosts
And the faith that awarded his every move.”
Bixler said recently that she “was sick” when she heard that Netflix has chosen to continue its relationship with Masterson and his show The Ranch, and that the decision made her “feel unimportant”:
“I was sick when I read Netflix’s statement on continuing with The Ranch and continuing their working relationship with a man who has violently raped and abused so many women. Four months after the story broke, and the LAPD confirmed a criminal investigation, Netflix ordered another season of The Ranch.
For me, what Netflix has done, feels like a continuation of how the Church of Scientology made me feel when I reported my rape to them, as well as how Danny Masterson made me feel when I would beg him for an apology, an explanation, anything. I was made to feel unimportant. I was made to feel like I didn’t matter. Like what Danny Masterson did to me didn’t matter. My body doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t belong to me. The trauma and emotional pain doesn’t matter, because I just don’t matter.”
The Huffington Post reported earlier this month that despite “overwhelming” evidence, the charges against Masterson “have not been approved for filing.” Netflix responded to the publication, “We are aware of the allegations and the subsequent investigation, and will respond if developments occur.”
Find Bixler-Zavala’s tweets below.
If you tuned in to watch LaVar Ball’s CNN interview with Chris Cuomo earlier in the week, you were treated to a piece of television gold. Cuomo was expecting to get into the details of what happened in China, the outspoken father’s feelings toward President Trump, and the apparent war of words that was brewing on Twitter. What Cuomo got was a sea of absurdity with Captain Ball steering the ship directly into Big Baller harbor with a big smile on his face. If that sounds like a ridiculous description, it fits the interview.
As Seth Meyers points out, it is difficult to cut the interview down to just one or two key moments. The entire thing is a frenzy from start to finish, with Ball making the most of his national platform for his own gain without actually addressing any of his comments about President Trump. That didn’t stop the president from responding to it on Twitter because at the end of the day, they are both really just the same person — at least that’s what Seth Meyers thinks.
For Cuomo, he admits that he is wound very tight and was caught off guard by Ball’s tone throughout the chat. But he quickly realized things were not typical of a CNN interview once Ball responded to him with nonsense while keeping a straight face.
The CNN host does want to have LaVar Ball back on CNN for another interview, saying he felt he had a nice bond with the boastful father figure.
(Via Late Night)
The pilgrims’ voyage on the Mayflower was a disaster. The self-proclaimed religious refugees hired a bad crew and had little-to-no luck on their way to Virginia. High winds and choppy seas, low supplies, months-long delays, and damage to the boat’s main beams all led to a terrible Atlantic crossing for the 130-odd people on board. By November 11th, they couldn’t take any more and anchored in Cape Cod — far north of their intended destination, the Virginia Colony.
The land they arrived at had recently been ravaged by an imported disease that killed off 95-percent of the local population. The desperate English settlers robbed graves and food stores to sustain themselves. They stayed on their ship through that first winter and severe cold temperatures and constant hunger took its toll. By the time spring rolled around only 53 of the original passengers were left alive.
By March of 1621 the English disembarked and began living in the empty houses of the decimated local village. It wasn’t a great start.
The English luck turned around when they met a Patuxet man named Squanto — who’d already experienced a lifetime’s worth of war, slavery, and worldwide adventure. Squanto and what was left of the Wampanoag bonded with the English. They traded supplies for food and taught the English the best ways to fish the bay and farm the land. By the time harvest season rolled around in autumn, things were looking up for everyone. The Wampanoag had people to work with after their European disease-fueled apocalypse, and the English pilgrims had a real settlement.
Sometime around the end of September, the pilgrims decided they were in good enough shape to host a harvest festival with their newly bonded friends and saviors. Harvest festivals, or Thanksgivings, were common practice already amongst the Spanish, French, and Virginia colonists, so the Plymouth event wasn’t anything new. It took the self-mythologizing American spirit to make it worthy of a holiday.
The 50 remaining English and about 90 Wampanoag gathered for a three day feast, to celebrate the bounty of their collective labor. The meal included wildfowl, shellfish, cod, corn, squash and pumpkin, and five whole deer. The Wampanoag and English had toiled side by side throughout the year, and this was the fruit of that union. They gathered around bonfires, hearths, and tables to celebrate what they’d accomplished together as a diversified unit of people fighting to survive in an uncertain world.
The first ten years of my life I lived in a hippy town at the end of the road off the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. My identity was never really anything I thought about. I was a boy who watched Transformers and G.I. Joe, just like the neighbors. I went fishing with my dad in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and hunting with my family in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains. Being Indian was never anything I thought about more than to wonder whether I’d ever grow my hair long, like all the warriors I saw in the history books.
Then my dad got a promotion to run a new grocery store in another town in Washington. In 1989, we moved from a very blue county to a very red county in the southern reaches of the state. We traded the Straits of Juan de Fuca for the muddy banks of the Columbia river and a town that had farmer’s markets and art festivals for a town that didn’t even have a library (outside of the public school). My first week of school was when I first became an “Indian.” Some older white kids encircled me and then body slammed me into the grass while doing a “war dance” around me. Then they all took turns spitting on me before walking away.
My infraction? Refusing to do the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the day. I made the mistake of telling them as an Indian that we don’t do that.
Over the next three years, I’d try and hide the bruises and bloody lips I’d get on the playground, while groups of white kids gathered around, beat me, and yelled racial epithets. “Dirty Indian.” “Prairie Nigger.” “Salmon Fucker.” The school administration’s solution was usually to put me in detention or Saturday school. The message was clear: I was the problem. Eventually, I gave in. I started fighting kids, throwing the first punch. I figured “if they’re going to blame me for everything, I might as well land a few shots.”
When I wasn’t brawling I retreated into myself. I’d been playing the piano since I was 5 years old. So I dove deeper into that art. I also started cooking. I’d often watch The Great Chefs on PBS after school, and one day I tried to recreate a recipe I saw on some particularly inspiring episode. It was a bit of disaster, but I was hooked. Cooking and piano became my dual forms of therapy. I could lose myself in the notes of Rachmaninoff and the flavors of a well made bolognese.
Eventually, things came to a head. A group of boys had been ambushing me after gym class and the principal’s solution was to suggest that we box in the basement of the high school gym. When my parents realized that I had no choice but to keep fighting or spend my life running, they pulled me out of school. I spent the last few years of my education being home schooled (not the religious kind), playing piano, and cooking every single day.
As I grew older, I delved into the world and history of Indigenous Americans. My dad took me to pow wows all over the western USA. I felt a connection to a people who shared my violent and hate-filled history. I grew my hair long and braided it like a good Indian. My parents relocated to another blue county in Washington and life moved on. Until I grew my hair out around ’92.
Being a “long-haired Indian” attracted attention. Over the course of about one month, I was stopped by the local police at least ten times. Every time it was the same “Where ya goin’ boy?” “The reservation’s back that way, redskin!” The pat downs and ID checks became routine. I asked my dad about it. His response was always the same, “We’re Indians, that means we live in a police state. Don’t ever forget that. You have to just do what they say, keep your mouth shut. It’s not worth gambling your life.” My dad had spent two-years collectively in jails around America for what we call “walking down the street Indian.”
I cut my hair when I was 14. I was never stopped by the cops again.
I graduated high school when I was 16 and saw two paths in front of me. I was either going to the CIA in New York to study cuisine and become a chef, or I was going to a music school to become a concert pianist. The choice was hard. Food preparation had become a coping mechanism in my life. It was my therapist, my escape, and was slowly becoming part of my identity. Conversely, I could go onto any stage across Washington State and slay some Chopin and feel like I had a sense of worth that wasn’t attached to my race.
I chose a third way. After a year in music school, I bailed. I transferred to the American University in Washington, DC, and started pursuing a degree in Political Science. My goal was to become a FBI agent and work on Indian Reservations. I wanted to help my people. I was 17 and idealistic. The world I found on the quads of American University in the late ’90s was just as hate-filled and demeaning as what I’d grown up with. People would yell across a party for me to make them a canoe or ask where my wigwam was.
I needed new escapes and found alcohol, cocaine, mushrooms, weed, and sex. When those didn’t work, I decided to go back to what I knew best, and found a job working at a restaurant.
The Wampanoag and the English pilgrims of Plymouth carried on as allies and friends well into the 1630s. However, by that time the Puritans and the Dutch had arrived. The Puritans fundamentalist view of Christianity had no room for the Plymouth English (who were Anglicans separatists, but also down with Indian ways) or the Wampanoag (who they referred to as “godless savages”).
The Puritans and Dutch started flooding the colony in waves of migration, eventually pushing out the Plymouth Pilgrims for not being extremist enough. They soon started to expand beyond the Connecticut River, forcing the tatters of the various local indigenous populations into resource conflicts, all sides scrambling to hold onto the little they had left. The Pequot War would be the first major massacre and retaliation between white settlers and the indigenous population. It set the stage for every massacre and war to come over the course of American history to present day.
Between 1640 and 1675, the Puritans took land and slaughtered Indians. This was a stark contrast to the Plymouth Pilgrims — who literally paid for their land and sought cooperation with the locals. But, alas, the fundamentalist extremism of the Puritans and the capitalistic drive of the Dutch won out, and they pillaged and plundered what was now being called New England (even their fellow Pilgrims). There are very easy parallels one can draw between the Puritan extremist Christian who used terror and thievery to create a state in the New World and the tactics of other extremist groups like ISIS. They stole what they wanted and killed anyone who asked questions, including their own.
Make no mistake, it was these radicals who set the tone for the rest of America’s history, especially when it came to dealing with the indigenous population.
By the 1770s, the English descendants of the Puritans were ready to throw off the yoke of British taxation. A group of white land owning elitists gathered to form a new government in Philadelphia and declare their independent intentions. In their long fight towards independence they drafted a declaration — enshrining these words forever: “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
These words tainted the United States’ view of the indigenous peoples of the Americas indefinitely. It also serves as a reminder that the famous document exalting the notion that “all men are created equal,” doubled as a piece of racially-profiling propaganda.
The continued destruction of the Indian way of life so that white Europeans could expand ever westward continued during the Revolutionary War. While the eastern theater was concerned with fighting the British, the western theater was a more covert war, focused on the destruction of as many indigenous communities and people as possible.
In 1777, the Continental Congress appointed Thanksgiving holidays and prayers for the first time. They strove to enshrine that very first moment when the Plymouth Pilgrims and Wampanoag joined forces and fought together against the elements and world to survive together with a day of prayer — remember, still Puritans.
Two years later General Washington carried on that Puritan-defining quality and launched the Sullivan expedition with these orders:
The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.
I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.
But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.
The Iroquois were destroyed. At least 40 cities and towns were scorched to ash. The surviving members of the Six Tribes had to flee into Canada to survive the slaughter and looming ravages of winter. The Iroquois renamed George Washington Conotocarious — which literally translates to “devourer of towns.”
In 1789, the congress was in the midst of ratifying a constitution. On September 25th of that year Congressman Elias Boudinot from New Jersey petitioned the house and senate to have now-President Washington declare a national day of thanksgiving and prayer. On October 3rd, 1789, President Washington enshrined November 26th at the first official Thanksgiving Day. According to President Washington’s decree the holiday was “to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord.”
At the same time, September 25th, 1789, to be exact, the second amendment to the constitution was submitted. It’s hard to ponder the meaning of this amendment by today’s standards (God knows, we try). We’ve all grown up in a nation that goes from sea to shining sea with all those amber waves of grain in between. However, for the colonialist who had just beat one of the biggest kids on the international block, their entire focus was west. Manifest Destiny was their goal, and every single American needed a gun to fight those “merciless savages” who stood in the way of forward progress (echoes of fire hoses in Standing Rock). The right of all Americans to bear arms and form well-regulated militias was also about legally forming irregular armies and arming civilians, who could constitutionally slaughter any Indian they saw
As Thomas Jefferson put it, “Nothing will reduce those wretches so soon as pushing the war into the heart of their country. But I would not stop there. I would never cease pursuing them while one of them remained on this side of the Mississippi.”
I worked hard in that kitchen in Washington, DC. It was what I’d been told over and over again that America was supposed to be about. Everyone was on a level playing field. Guatemalan dishwashers worked alongside second generation Mexican line cooks, blue collar white sous chefs, Korean bussers, middle class white college student servers, and so on. Everyone was the same there. Food served as the great unifier and equalizer.
I eventually left America for good in 2003. I needed a fresh start and wanted to know what else the world had to offer; I was tired of living in a country with two histories. One that used mythology to build an identity, and one that saw those same heroes exposed as monsters. I bounced around Prague and Moscow. I went around the world several times. I became an adventurer and war zone traveler, looking for experiences that would ambush my system, the same way walking home from school had as a kid. I was broken and looking for anything that might glue me back together.
Over the years, I came back to cooking and started working as a chef. But it never quite felt right. I always saw food as a self-help tool, not an occupation. As my film and writing career started to develop, food once again became my escape. I look forward to the break in the day when I get to cook my family dinner. I can turn off my brain and focus on construction of something that will nourish and bring joy to whoever we’re eating with. Food, I have found, literally breaks down every barrier (from within and without). Cooking a great dish makes me feel good. It brings people together around a table. It feels real. And that’s why I love Thanksgiving.
I took me years to understand what the holiday was about. For most of my childhood and early adulthood, standing for the national anthem, or pledging allegiance, or celebrating any American government holiday was just not something we did. There was, and still is, too much pain and suffering associated with being an Indian in America to bend a knee to that flag and those heroes. But Thanksgiving is different. Thanksgiving was about two groups people who were near total annihilation, then came together. They thrived against all odds. Together.
All the devastation that came after is the guilt of another aggressor, an America who has always lived in a post-truth world from day one. An America where institutionalized racism and hate never had to be normalized because it has always been the norm.
I’ve railed against the Eddie Bernays of the American capitalistic experience before. And it was these same marketing men who decided that the modern Thanksgiving meal would be a set menu of turkey, stuffing, yams, green beans, black olives, mashed potatoes and gravy, and so forth. Basically, this was to up sell those products during an early winter sales slump. The only real item in that menu that the Pilgrims and Wampanoag actually ate was maybe the turkey. Otherwise, it’s just all Don Draper-bullsh*t.
This year, as I wrestled with how far we’ve come and how far there is to go, I’ll be sorting my Thanksgiving menu by looking at what the Pilgrims and Wampanoag likely ate.
I’ve mapped out a four course menu. We’ll start with oysters lightly poached in black truffles and butter then topped with rum macerated blackberries, candied shiitake mushrooms, and chives. I love this dish, the oysters are ever so slightly poached with the black truffle giving them a briny and earthy note. The candied shiitakes add an edge of sweetness and earthiness to match the truffle in the butter. The blackberries (macerated with rum, star anise, cardamon, and allspice) give a jolt of tartness and acidity that cuts through the brine and umami; kind of like a fruity caviar.
Next, will come smoked duck breast and roasted beet tartare with dijon mustard, fennel, green onion, apple cider vinegar, and topped with a quail yolk and grilled bread. I imagine there was a lot of smoke at that first feast, so a nice piece of cold-smoked duck breast minced with a slow-roasted winter beet will bring those cured-earth flavors together. I’ll balance it with the sharpness of the fennel and dijon. The quail yolk mixed in gives a velvet texture to the whole affair.
After that, I’ll serve a corn pajeon filled with mussels, bay shrimp, scallops, ginger, and green onion — topped with red beet sprouts and a side of wild berry ketchup for dipping.
Pajeon aren’t new world, but assuredly there were corn pancakes at that first meal back in 1621. These ones are delightfully satisfying with the beet sprouts linking the last dish to this one ever so slightly. The medley of seafood reminds the diner that the fruit of the sea was crucial to those early Pilgrim’s survival, and corn was a cornerstone of every meal. The wild berry ketchup (closer to what ketchup was back then) brings an intense umami and tartness at the same time to balance the starch and brine of the pancake.
The main course will be a seared venison loin in a port and cranberry demi-glace, served with citrouille anna. The Wampanoag brought five whole deer for the feast, so venison is a must-have on any authentic Thanksgiving menu.
I grew up eating venison every year, so this one comes naturally. I seared off the loin in a skillet with sage, marjoram, and garlic cloves with plenty of butter. While it rests, I added in about a cup of good port and about a dozen halved cranberries to deglaze the skillet and make the demi-glace. The pumpkins are a made in the pommes anna style by layering pumpkin and clarified butter in a pan and slow-roasting it until it’s a buttery stack of deliciousness that adds a light starch to the protein and tart demi.
All of that will be washed down with a cinnamon-infused rum old fashioned, because holidays are for drinking. It’s not an exact menu that would have appeared at that Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. But it’s something that’s inspired by those people and the foods they had on their tables.
Too many of us are looking to this Thanksgiving with dread. The political process seems to have failed many of us who thought we were on a path towards a more progressive and inclusive America. I don’t know if that’s possible in a country where an entire group of people are subjugated to third-class citizenship status while being trapped in a bizarre form of corrupted communism. Do you really get to be shocked about how racist America is when the reservation-system seems so broken? When we’ve been given back portions of our land but can’t keep a pipeline from being built on it?
And yet… I have no intention of fighting with family or friends over politics this year. I’m just going to cook some good food and invite friends and family to my table. There will be people there from Iran, Israel, England, America, Holland, and Germany. We’ll talk about the events of the year, share what we are thankful for, and look forward to 2017. It’ll be a good group. And, let’s face it, if an Iranian and Israeli can get along at my table, you can probably get along at yours.
This year, more than ever, it’s time for all of us to take a page from the Pilgrims and Wampanoag and work together with those we don’t understand so that by next Thanksgiving we can all sit around a table together and celebrate our survival. Just as they did all the way back in 1621.