I learned a lot about myself and my business while I was home in Minnesota for Thanksgiving. Now that I’m back in Chicago and asked everyone how their holiday was, the overwhelming response was ‘UGH, I ate sooo much!’ I felt the exact same way (and have since abandoned my scale in the back alley). We all seemed to enjoy a similar meal and put away more than our fair share of pumpkin pie. There is no doubt there are great expectations around a traditional Thanksgiving feast. I couldn’t help but wonder, how does a ‘traditional meal’ show up if one has no tradition to fall back on?
Leading up to Thanksgiving, The Chopping Block had a class almost every day centered around Thanksgiving. For example, ‘How to Smoke your Turkey,’ ‘Thanksgiving Crash Course,’ ‘How to Carve your Turkey.’ ‘Thanksgiving Workshop,’ and ‘How to Deep Fry your Turkey.’ Clearly, we are committed to Thanksgiving success. What I didn’t realize prior to going home was that the only thing ‘traditional’ about my family’s Thanksgiving meal was the beautiful bird my mom has mastered, sans recipe. I have pulled from Chopping Block recipes since I began with the company to fill in the blanks in my holiday meals, and for the first time wondered where I would be without that support?
Personally, I’m not great at reading directions, following instructions, or watching You Tube videos to learn how to do things. Call it what you want, but I like a chef to guide me through a meal so I know what I’m doing and why. It’s how I learn best, and how I have the confidence to know I’m going to turn out a great meal at home since I’ve already been through the practice round with direction, advice, and supervision. As long as I hang on to my recipe packet I am good to go, and have had many successes since I took on cooking in this manner.
I learn something new about the business every day, and what I realized this holiday was that The Chopping Block IS tradition for a lot of people, and what we do here is why a traditional Thanksgiving Feast can still be celebrated even if the family cookbook got deep fried instead of the turkey! Interestingly, this year I noticed a large portion of the students attending the Thanksgiving classes were hosting the holiday for the first time, and committed to making it a familiar experience for all. I would love to hear how that went for everyone. It reminded me of why our business is so much more than a two and a half hour class and gourmet retail wonderland. It is our way of bringing people together over food to celebrate family, togetherness, and tradition – whether old, new, borrowed, or deep-fried.