Unplug tradition

“Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” -Anne Lamont

My dining room table serves many purposes. It is where large format drawings are laid out for review. It is the scene of many Lego dioramas staged by my children ranging from Friends to Ninjago to Minecraft. It is where I attempt to complete the daily newspaper Kenken and Sudoku puzzles. It is home to countless conversations, and often a dog, or two, can be found lounging below.

My dining room table is unfortunately not where I celebrate Thanksgiving.

As it happens with many modern American families, we are fortunate to have multiple obligations and opportunities to celebrate Thanksgiving. Family is not only the people we are related to, but those with whom we share deep friendship and collect along life’s journey. For me, the Thanksgiving holiday is less about familiar food and specific recipes. It is about coming together, as individuals, to share a collective time and space on a chilly Thursday in November. In coming together, we pause and often unplug–fancy turkey optional. Case in point, one of my most memorable Thanksgivings was getting Bob’s Big Boy $4.99 take-out Thanksgiving special outside of Detroit. It didn’t feature Aunt Ina’s green beans or my mother’s special fruit salad, but it had all of the makings of a special meal: family, being present with each other, and the ability to share a meal together.

Somerville Road Runners Birds

Somerville Road Runners Birds

So this year, some my Thanksgiving rituals will be familiar: I will be running the Somerville Road Runners Gobble Gobble Gobble 4-miler early in the morning. (Go Turkeys!) But I will be changing it up a little. I will be celebrating Thanksgiving at a new and unfamiliar table to share in a new experience just like so many others will this year. Unpluging tradition once and awhile is important. I could even argue it may be necessary to make sure we understand the significance of what we consider valuable.

So, now comes the time for me to share an #ArchiTalk recipe. This is something that I’ve learned over the years to make by heart. It’s for parties, for the office, and just for myself. While it is not traditional Thanksgiving fare, my son likes to also remind me that the first Thanksgiving included lots of things besides turkey. Hey, live a little… and enjoy.

Barefoot Contessa Guacamole


  • 4 Ripe Avocados
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (1 Lemon)
  • 8 Dashes of Tabasco or Hot Sauce (I never eat Mexican without it.)
  • 1/2 cup Red Onion diced small (1 Small Onion)
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced (This is important; no one wants to each a chuck of garlic.)
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt (I usually add more.)
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Medium Tomato, Seeded and Diced Small

Be prepared to use your hands. Avocados in the bowl. (Yes, take out the pits. Do I really need to say that?) Using a sharp knife cut, slice avocados until they are nicely diced. Add lemon juice, Tabasco, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add tomatoes. Mix again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Find some awesome tortilla chips and enjoy. I will.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

This post was written as part of Bob Borson’s #ArchiTalks series—a monthly series to encourage architects to write about a single topic. This bonus Thanksgiving holiday edition is “From an Architect’s Table.” Please see links below to check out the views of others:


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Emily is an Architect, Mother of 2, and Somerville, MA resident.

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