I am baking pies this morning — and I know many other people who will be cooking something special over the course of the day, for the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow. Then, a much bigger cooking effort will be underway starting tomorrow morning. People who never use their kitchens on any other day of the year will be cooking for hours. These two days are probably the biggest two-day period of cooking of the year (and then, of course, the following day is the biggest day for leftovers). There are plenty of food-related holidays in the United States, as elsewhere, but the belated harvest festival of Thanksgiving is the one where the do-it-yourself tradition seems to have held on the longest.
It is easy to overlook the value of all this holiday DIY. A single cook can create, in half a day, several hundred dollars worth of food, based on the price you would pay for similar hot food in a commercial establishment. Economic statistics don’t include DIY in any form, but if they did, they would show a surge of activity every Thanskgiving. And for people like me who might grumble at times at the effort we’re putting in, it is easier to accept the effort that a holiday like Thanksgiving takes if you recognize the value of what you’re creating.