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A Missionary's Recipe for a Better Thanksgiving
November 2022

By Michael Smiel, US Office

I’m not a fan of turkey, not a raging fan anyways. I prefer the darker meat of the turkey, such as a leg, if I can get it. However, turkey isn’t the food I look forward to on Thanksgiving. I find myself looking forward to deviled eggs, stuffing, mac and cheese, and the variety of pies. You don’t have to have a turkey on Thanksgiving but some family members insist on it because of “tradition”, right? So, if you are stuck with turkey this is how to make it taste better: A missionary’s recipe for a better Thanksgiving. 

As a missionary, I’ve spent Thanksgivings in Texas, Minnesota, and Russia. I’ve also been to Turkey, I’m not sure what that adds to my point, but I’m adding it to the list anyway. I’ve tried nearly every edible part of the turkey. I’ve tried turkey fried, smoked, oven baked, and so on. I’ve smothered it in gravy, added extra salt, and paid $15 for a turkey leg at the local rodeo. I’ve raised turkeys. I’ve hunted turkeys. I’ve been chased by turkeys. I haven’t been president, so I can’t say I’ve pardoned a turkey. But I believe I have found what makes turkey taste better. 

When we lived in Russia, or anywhere that meant we were not with family for Thanksgiving, we always found ourselves at a table of friends. Those friends were teammates on a mission team, missionaries from other teams that lived nearby, or local friends and neighbors in our host country that we invited over. I can remember almost every Thanksgiving or holiday meal that I shared with people that way. I think that’s the secret to making turkey taste better. It’s not the six hours it might take you to cook an oversized bird or your family's secret spice mixture, but who you have sitting next to you when you finally get to try it that makes it memorable. 

So, if you read this in time on Thanksgiving, take a moment to think of someone who you can invite to join you at the table. If you don’t have a place to be, take courage and invite yourself over to someone’s place if you can (that’s what I did). It’s not rude if you bring a good pie and make for good company. If you are reading this and the opportunity to feast in community has past, look to prepare for Christmas and other future feasts! 

This Thanksgiving, remember to love your neighbors and voice your thankfulness to God and others. Remember to contact a missionary if know one and tell them how thankful you are for the work they do. Enjoy good food and even better company this year!

Oh, and you can forget the turkey.


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