But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a celebration just yet.
“Revel in the fact that you, the cook, have a day off and can cook exactly what you want to eat,” said Melissa Clark, columnist for the Times Food section. “Give yourself permission to cook whatever food you want – some of my friends eat Sichuan dumplings and pumpkin pie.”
If you realize, Tara Parker-Pope, the founding editor of Well, has some advice.
Consider the most vulnerable. “Is anyone at high risk?” Said Tara. “It could be an elderly person, an immunocompromised person, a person undergoing treatment for cancer, or a person who is very obese or has diabetes.” Consider their needs first.
Stay small. Keep your guest list as small as possible. You have to know where everyone has been because one person who has been exposed can put everyone at risk. “Friendship doesn’t bubble, behavior does bubble,” Tara said.
Take it outside. If you live in a warmer climate, or even if you don’t, move the meal to the yard. If you eat inside, keep windows open and turn on exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
Hide yourself. Wear a mask as much as possible. Tara said she would be a role model. “When I saw the meal start to switch to conversation afterwards – which is the best part of the meal – I would pull out my mask and put it on,” she says.
Tara told us that she canceled her own Thanksgiving plans and only dined with her daughter.
“I know these are tough choices for people,” Tara said. “I say to people, ‘Sacrificing this vacation will give you many, many more vacations with the people you love. Don’t take these last vacations with them. ”
A warning about testing. “If you start using tests to justify your gathering of 10 or 20 people, you are making a big mistake, ”Tara warned. Testing can lower your risk and can be helpful for students returning home or for people caring for an older parent, she said, but a negative test is unreliable in 100% and does not replace other precautions, such as wearing a mask and social distancing.
A tool to understand your risk. How Safe is a Thanksgiving Dinner in Des Moines? Or Boise? Or Atlanta? Georgia Tech researchers have created a risk assessment tool that can estimate the likelihood that someone infected with the virus will show up to dinner in your county. Get together with 25 people in New York, for example, and there’s a 21% chance that at least one person will be positive. In Stutsman County, ND, there is a 99 percent chance.
We asked families to share how they are adapting their Thanksgiving traditions this year. Their words, written for length and clarity, show that even in a year full of pain and hardship, Americans are determined to find a way to give thanks.
(Dr Fauci, for his part, told us he was very grateful for his wife, Christine Grady, chair of the bioethics department at the National Institutes of Health: “She is sort of like a solid foothold in the direction of steadfast and extraordinarily good judgment … whenever I feel like I’m struggling in the universe of people who want to kill me, who want to fire me, who want to behead me, it’s always nice to come home with someone who is really a very rational person. “)
Our family is circulating a list of food listings and we will deliver favorite dishes to those who request them. We ended up laughing at the almost complete disagreement over the best foods. It turns out that some have pretended to like traditional foods that very few people actually enjoy, and those who like the traditional are absolutely not interested in all of the added recipes that I have introduced over the years.
– Kathryn L. Nelson, Minneapolis
Instead of getting together as a family, we plan to order different components of the meal from restaurants in the area. They need support. Additional food will be packaged and shared with a few we know in difficulty.
– Mary Godlewski, Chicago
My parents, who are 78 and 81, live in Canada. I haven’t seen them for a year. To keep everyone safe, I won’t be coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Because I can’t be there, I had a life-size cardboard cutout made and sent it to my parents. Although it’s ridiculous and slightly silly, I know it brings a smile to my mom’s face.
– Christine Campbell, Los Angeles
I will be at work, in our intensive care unit, where we will once again be short of staff due to the increasing numbers. I’ll be having Thanksgiving with my working family hoping we get a chance to eat.
– Nicole Germano, South Portland, Maine
We are moving our Thanksgiving outside and earlier in the day with a party of less than 10 people. Build a bonfire and abandon the traditional meal in favor of soups and appetizers that can be held in the hand. No one is mad that we don’t have a turkey – maybe this part of the change will stay!
– Annie Wanner, Minneapolis
For the past few years, my boyfriend and I have cooked a big Thanksgiving meal together. We live separately in our own apartments. We are healthy but older, 67 and 72, so we are cautious and practice social distancing. For this Thanksgiving, we are planning to take a nice walk and share a little snack at my house (windows open) or in the park. We will watch a movie together, but from a distance, in our own homes. Our goal is to stay healthy and alive during this holiday, with the hope that we can have a real Thanksgiving together in 2021.
– Karen Kawaguchi, Bronx, NY
I am a student living in the United States away from the rest of my family. If I came home for Thanksgiving, I would have to end the rest of the semester from Chicago, rather than the Boston campus, where I am now. So I’m going to spend the break in my dorm, eat some turkey in the dining room on my own.
– Tyler O’Brien, Boston
We took advantage of an unusually hot day in November for Connecticut and spent early Thanksgiving outdoors! We invited our parents and siblings and had an outdoor potluck style Thanksgiving dinner. It was fantastic!
– Teri Schatz, Woodbridge, Conn.
Jump. No risk, no harm, no one gets sick, no one dies, no one cries. Better apart than under. I respect and love my family enough to stay apart so that we can enjoy many years of celebration.
– Paul Marber, New York, New York State
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Ian Prasad Philbrick contributed to today’s newsletter.
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