There was an episode on Nip/Tuck (yes I like that show, don’t judge) where a beautiful model struts into a plastic surgery center asking for plastic surgery.
(Picture credit from Entertainment Wallpapers)
She’s stunning. She’s tall and skinny with curves at the right places. Her hair is shiny and her teeth is brilliant-white. There’s nothing wrong with her, at least physically.
But she wanted facial reconstruction. Not to make herself prettier—but to make herself look plainer. Her problem was that she was just too beautiful. Women hated her, men lusted after her beauty but not her. Her jaw-dropping beauty was making her miserable.
Of course, the plastic surgeons said no to her request. She had the looks to die for. Women were paying tens of thousands just to look a fraction like her. She was being ridiculous.
But then one of the plastic surgeons (main character Christian Troy) felt an itch in his pants. Just like the hundreds of other guys, he wanted her. Oh wait, not her her—he wanted her sex. Which just proved her point on why she needed that facial reconstruction.
Christian befriended her, persuaded her that she didn’t really need drastic surgery to look plain. He knocked on her door with a tub of KFC fried chicken. Just gain a few pounds, he told her. Nobody will wanna tap a fat ass.
The model told him fried chicken is too unhealthy. She only eats salads and carrot fries. But she reluctantly took a bite, and an hour later they had finished the whole tub of fried chicken. The light bulb finally flicked in her stupid head: “I don’t need to pay $300,000 for facial reconstruction! I just need to eat more burgers and fried chicken!” (Oh my Lord, what an idiot).
Christian and the model jumped into her convertible and cruised down the streets to a drive-through of a fast food chain. “Let’s eat my beauty away!” she cried. “I just need to gain till I’m 100 lbs and I’ll be ugly! Nobody will treat me like flesh!” (—> obviously, I’m being sarcastic.)
And then a couple of guys whistled at her, staring her down lecherously.
The model got pissed. She was going through the pains of eating hamburgers, and nothing has changed! So out of an impassioned rage, she hit the accelerator, and purposely crashed into a brick wall.
The result was that she got what she wanted. She suffered permanent cuts and scars on her face. She was no longer beautiful. Nobody stared at her as she walked in the streets. Nobody whistled, no men paid for her drink at the bar, women no longer stared at her enviously. She was plain. She was invisible. And she wanted her beauty back.
Once again, the model returned to the plastic surgery center. But this time, she just wanted her old looks back. But by then, it was too late. No amount of extensive surgery could get her back to looking the way she did.
Why am I telling you this? Well, first of all, this episode aggravated me. I’m one of those “Plain Jane” girls wishing I could look half as beautiful as that model. Even though the model’s “woes” made me roll my eyes and cluck my tongue, it also definitely made me think.
The grass is always greener on the other side. The model’s problem wasn’t that she was “too beautiful.” It was that she just didn’t know how to give thanks for what she was given. You don’t realize how much you’ve got until it’s taken away from you. As silly as this model is, she’s also pitiful. She learned to appreciate what she has too late.
And since it’s Thanksgiving and I’ve been struggling with a few silly self-esteem issues myself, I thought it was a worthy story to share. This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for everything—including what we think we “don’t have.”
And every Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder to all of us how much we have to give thanks for, isn’t it? Even if we don’t have everything we think we want, we have what we need. For me at least, even if I’m not the richest, most beautiful and the kindest person, I look around and I feel incredibly blessed by the people surrounding me, and the things that I enjoy on a daily basis.
This Thanksgiving, I was invited to my friend Tracy’s home (Tracy is the lovely girl above) for an all-out Thanksgiving feast. Though I suppose the words “Thanksgiving feast” already implies all-out stuffing of face.
When I arrived Tracy’s mom was just finishing cooking the food. Here she is stirring the gravy:
We had lots of booze:
Tracy’s dad had made this wonderful spiked cider: apple cider warmed with a little shot of Jack Daniels.
We had a little appetizer of baked brie dip with flax seed crackers:
Hot brie speckled with herbs? Yes please.
The dining room was decked out elegantly, sort of with a Christmasy theme. In fact, Christmas music was already playing in the background.
It was just the kind of intimate Thanksgiving dinner I always dreamed of having.
Time to carve the turkey!
A juxtaposition of a vegetarian (Tracy) carving the turkey. But for special occasions like Thanksgiving, Tracy gives up her vegetarianism for tradition.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for Thanksgiving, I don’t usually eat turkey. It’s just not my protein of choice. And I don’t believe people who say they eat turkey but don’t like pork or beef. I refuse to believe that bulls–t.
This particular turkey (from Honeybaked Ham) was actually really tasty though. Not dry at all, but tender and juicy throughout. I loved watching Tracy’s mom pick out all the dark meat pieces.
The spread! I’ll do a very quick run-through of all the wonderful dishes we had.
Honey-roasted ham by Honeybaked Ham:
Oh god ham is just so good. I don’t get enough ham! Thank god for the holidays.
The necessary green bean casserole made by Tracy’s mom:
Lovely. To be honest, I only eat green bean casserole for the fried onion topping, but the green beans in this dish stayed surprisingly fresh and crisp.
And another Thanksgiving requisite was the sweet potato-marshmallow casserole!
Another confession: I usually just eat the toasted marshmallows with just a tiny bit of sweet potato as “icing” for the warm, crispy, gooey marshmallow fluffs.
Tracy’s parents had also invited another family over, a Jewish and Italian couple and their college-bound son. They are so warm and lovely, and a loveable, funny bunch. The other funny thing is that they are hard-core Democrats while Tracy’s family is hard-core Republican, but tonight, everyone laid aside their political views and just made fun of everything. Well, except maybe football:
Marie (the Italian mom) made two dishes. The first was her own unique recipe of a sausage “stuffing”:
It was sort of like an egg bake chockfull of sausage crumbles. I know, right? How can that combination NOT be good? And it was—super yummy!
The other dish Marie made was corn bread stuffing (!!!!):
I thought I would flip out when I heard that the stuffing was made with corn bread. I LOVE CORN BREAD!! LOVE LOVE LOVE! xD
Look at everyone digging into the spread.
I love this part. Because I have the camera, I’m always the last one in line, but I just love capturing the moment when everyone starts dishing their favorite foods onto their plate, and helping one another in the process.
You really get a glimpse of what a person likes from a “buffet” spread like this. You can almost see their brains churning, trying to pace themselves and wondering which dish is most “worth it.”
And then we sat down, and we each shared what we’re most thankful for.
You know what I noticed, is that when someone gets serious about what they’re thankful for, it’s never an object. It’s not fame, or money, or a new car. It’s almost always someone. Just reveals what’s truly valuable, doesn’t it?
After second and third helpings, we were ready for dessert. But first, we had to prepare the drinks. Tracy made some mulled wine:
With red wine, port, cinnamon, and fresh orange slices. I’ve never had wine warm before. It really heightened all the flavors.
Okay, okay time for the sweet endings!! I didn’t go empty-handed; I spent all day baking three desserts—all of which were superfreakastic, if I say so myself.
I made a sweet potato-walnut-coconut-rum tart:
Kind of a inspired blend from the traditional pumpkin and pecan pie which Tracy’s mom loves.
It’s composed of a handmade sweet tart dough, with a base layer of spiced sweet potato mash, studded with walnuts, and smothered with a rum-coconut syrup topping.
Seriously epic. I got the recipe from Closet Cooking, one of my favorite food blogs, but tweaked it a bit by using rum, walnuts and adding tons of unsweetened coconut. I also used corn syrup and dark brown sugar and just used less of each than the recipe asked.
I also made S’mores Granola Bars because the last time I made it, Tracy said it was “crack.”
I’ve never had crack but it sure is addictive! I love chewy food so this just hit the spot.
The final dessert I made was almost ruined by being in the oven too long. I premade it and brought it over to bake in the oven, but the temperature was off or something, so it almost burnt before we smelled it and rushed the dish out of the oven.
It’s an apple pie cake by Dorie Greenspan that I’ve made lots of times with great success. Seriously, any recipe by Dorie is gold. I trust every of her recipe with all my gut.
Too bad about the oven temp, but it was still delicious!! It’s basically sort of like an apple pie casserole, with a double-layer of pie/cake-like crust stuffed with tons of apples and dried cranberries.
Tracy’s friends Emily and Josh hopped in just at the right time with their own dessert as well. Emily made a beautiful lattice-top apple pie:
Neat job with the lattice! I’ve never tried latticing my pie tops because I’m lazy and clumsy with my hands.
And that concludes the most wonderful Thanksgiving ever. But then…I say that every year. It’s just such a blessing to be able to say that each year.
Thank you to Tracy and her family, and family friends Lane and Marie and their son Evan, and Tracy’s friends Emily and Josh for a night of feasting, laughing and living.
Conclusion of the Day: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!