A “model dinner” is a “fake” version of some celebratory dinner, such as being at a time other than when it would normally be celebrated. Or at least this is how I will define it. Last night, I got to attend a “model Thanksgiving dinner.”
The building that I live in, Engelhart, has fairly regular social functions, but has been attempting to do more this year. They chose to put together a Thanksgiving feast last night, albeit two weeks early. Therefore, in retrospect I called it a “model Thanksgiving dinner.”
Many of the Engelhartians are international students and may have never experienced an American Thanksgiving dinner. It included questions for small talk, as well as staples for a Thanksgiving dinner. There was turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and more. Actually, cornbread was on the menu, which was new to me!
I am glad that they did it–though it wasn’t around family, it did give me the opportunity to mingle with new acquaintances. If you are not around family or established friends, I firmly believe that most strangers are just friends that we have not yet met. Though I will likely not live in Engelhart next year (I expect to graduate in June!), I hope that they continue this as an annual tradition.
That lattermost observation regarding the food is one fun thing about these–everyone has different traditions. Matzo ball soup had never been part of my Thanksgiving dinner… until five years ago when it was a part of Aunt Soni’s Thanksgiving menu. It makes perfect sense as a starter for a celebratory meal, and actually is a good segue into my first experience with a model dinner.
In my volunteering with JCFS (Jewish Child and Family Services), each year they put together a Model Seder a few weeks before Passover begins. It goes through the order of the Passover seder, but is more interactive and doesn’t actually recall the Exodus. The food tasted good at it, and I feel it is a good way to introduce the traditions to those Jewish people that have no strong tradition in Passover seders, and also since, as I mentioned before, there are so many different customs. Everyone is different!
What other “model dinners” have you experienced? How does it compare to the real thing? Does it whet your appetite? Ruin it? Or give you gratitude for having it twice?
Today is the three-hundred and twentieth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes forty-five weeks and five days.