I willingly profess Thanksgiving to be my favorite holiday. It has no pretense. It has no hype. And every year it reminds me to be thankful for what I have.

After speaking with some of you out there, I found that the actual Thanksgiving meal may have some awkward moments seeing family and friends that you possibly only see once or twice a year, maybe by choice, maybe due to geography.

As a Public Service, this week’s Wedwand, will provide some valuable tidbits to help you through your Thanksgiving celebration dinner.

Given the current state of affairs, and to keep the peace, it is advisable to avoid such topics as religion, politics and how the heck the Cubs could sweep the Mets during the regular seasons then get swept themselves in their most vital playoff series. If that topic comes up, just remember to say, “Wait until next year” like you have been saying for the last 107 years.

So, you’re at the dinner table and there’s this awkward silence. This is when you say, “Uncle Dean, please pass the green bean casserole. Uncle Dean, when you’re done drinking the wine directly from the bottle, would you pass the green bean casserole?

No, not like a football pass, just sort of hand it off to Aunt June and she’ll get it over here.”

As you spoon the casserole to your dish, start softly singing, “Happy birthday to you…” then casually interject, “Did you know this green bean casserole recipe is 60 years old today?”

The table of guests will stop stunned and look at you unbelievingly.

You continue to impress and say, “Yep, 60 years ago, in 1955, Dorcas Reilly of the Campbell Soup Company led a team of cooks charged with coming up with a recipe that was quick and easy with ingredients that people had on hand. The result is what I have just scooped on my plate.”

Some may actually applaud. Some may silently sit and admire your acumen. Uncle Dean may call for a toast and hoist the wine bottle to his lips.

It is absolutely true that this side dish staple of Thanksgiving was indeed invented 60 years ago as described above.

But if you want to have some fun with Uncle Dean, pull him aside after dinner and whisper, “I totally made that up. The holiday’s favorite side dish was invented quite by accident when the Durkee tribe was out picking green beans with the Pilgrim Campbell family and fell asleep before the original Thanksgiving in 1620 and their combination harvest baked in the sun resulting in the green bean casserole.”

One more pearl to break the ice at the dinner table. This time you lead in with, “Please pass the cranberries.”

Now cranberries will come in many forms at Thanksgiving dinners. Sometimes, it is an elaborately prepared whole berry dish. Other times they are served the traditional way as at the original Thanksgiving Feast of 1620, straight from a can with the can ridges visible.

Either way, as the cranberries are making their way over you say, “Did you know cranberries are grown on a marshy, sandy soil called a Bog? The night before harvest, the Bog is flooded with up to a foot and a half of water. The next day a water reel shake the berries loose and the cranberries float to the top and are harvested.”

Over the chorus of ooo’s and ah’s from the dinner table you continue, “The cranberry, the concord grape and blueberry are the only three fruits that have their origin in North America. The Pequot tribe originally called them “ibiimi”, meaning bitter berry. That’s why Uncle Dean seems to be muttering ibimi ibimi ibimi. He means pass the cranberries.

Early German and Dutch settlers called them ‘crane berries’ since when they flower, they appear like the head of a crane. Ergo, cranberry as we know them today.”

The table erupts into applause and scattered smiles and everyone’s now happy at dinner.

So there’s a few helpful hints to help through awkward dinner table silence on Thanksgiving Day.

Enjoy the day, say “thanks” once or a hundred times or so cause it’s the day to do it. Signing off with the Wedwand Thanksgiving Anthem:

Thanks to you for reading!!!

Cover photo is a Google Image search for Green Bean Casserole. My how many variations.

Shameless plug on posts from 2013 and 2014 Thanksgiving Posts if you care to read: