Home / Politics / California Today: Some Opt to Pass on Thanksgiving Politics – New York Times
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California Today: Some Opt to Pass on Thanksgiving Politics – New York Times

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Tater and Tot, the official turkeys that will be pardoned at the White House on Wednesday, at their hotel room in Washington. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

Good morning.

Please note: California Today is taking a break on Thursday and Friday for the holiday. We’ll be back on Monday.

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For Thanksgiving this year, many Americans are anticipating turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie — and postelection combat with relatives.

Every election provokes some level of stress among voters, but mental health professionals say that the polarization of this year’s presidential race appeared to have amplified the tension.

“It was a very significant stressor for people this year,” said Dr. Vaile Wright, director of research and special projects at the American Psychological Association.

On Tuesday, we asked readers to tell us whether they expected their Thanksgiving gatherings to provide a stage for potential blowups as seldom-seen relatives congregate for the first time since Election Day.

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Several people wrote to say they planned to adhere to a no-political-talk rule. Others said they were taking a more extreme approach — avoiding Thanksgiving get-togethers altogether.

For those disappointed by the presidential outcome, much of the anxiety stemmed from concerns that relatives who supported Donald J. Trump might gloat about his victory.

Vince Garcia, 48, said he heard rumblings that two relatives were planning to wear Trump gear at their Thanksgiving gathering. “Quite honestly I’m not looking forward to it at all,” he wrote in an email.

Martin Johnson, a retired engineer in San Clemente, said he and his wife worried that sparks could fly during their gathering of 18 family members. About half are loyal Democrats, he said, and half dedicated Trump supporters.

If things get out of hand, Mr. Johnson, 66, said he planned to tell his guests: “Just put all that stuff in a shoe box and put it on a shelf. Let’s just not get into that topic.”

Dr. Wright said avoiding politics was sometimes the right approach.

If the election outcome is weighing heavily on your mind, Thanksgiving can be a time to talk about it, she said. But if reconnecting with family is what’s most important, it could be wise to just postpone the political talk for another time.

Kathy Winter, 61, a reader in San Diego, wrote in with a reminder that Thanksgiving is intended to be a moment to count blessings and connect with family.

But, she added, “If we are all mature adults, we should be able to talk politics.”

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California Online

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Lettuce fields in the Salinas Valley. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The Salinas Valley, known as the salad bowl of the nation, is struggling with a crisis of poverty and malnutrition among its farmworkers. [The New York Times]

• California’s largest state workers union said it would strike in December over a contract dispute. [Sacramento Bee]

Michelle Rhee, Sacramento’s first lady and the former head of the Washington, D.C., schools, appeared to take herself out of the running to become education secretary in the Trump administration. [Sacramento Bee]

• Two weeks after Election Day, Proposition 66 was finally called. The measure, intended to speed up death row appeals, passed. [Los Angeles Times]

• Also called was Proposition 53, which would have given voters more say over megaprojects. It failed. [The Associated Press]

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Visitors at Hong Kong Disneyland in April. Its 77-foot castle has lost some of its luster since a much taller one opened at a sister park in Shanghai. Credit Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

Disney has big plans for its Hong Kong resort: a $ 1.4 billion upgrade. [The New York Times]

• Facebook is said to have created a censorship tool in an effort to get back into China. [The New York Times]

• A memorial service for a slain sheriff’s deputy in Stanislaus County was filled with laughter and tears. [Modesto Bee]

• Defying expectations, the Oakland Raiders are now 8-2 after beating the Texans in Mexico City. [The New York Times]

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Assessing the damage in Santa Rosa after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Credit Jack London/Courtesy of California State Parks, 2015

• Most people know Jack London as a prolific writer. Few know him as a photographer. [The New York Times]

• Our nation is diverse. How does that play out in what we eat at Thanksgiving? [The New York Times]

And Finally …

Still in need of a quick Thanksgiving recipe?

We asked Cortney Burns, a chef at Bar Tartine in San Francisco, to suggest a dish that takes advantage of the fall season.

She offered this one from a book she wrote with Nicolaus Balla, “Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes,” winner of a 2015 James Beard award:

Potato and Green Bean Soup

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Credit Chad Robertson

This is a soup to make in late summer, or autumn when the days get shorter and the green beans grow big and tough. It is ideal for those end-of-season beans, which are much better cooked well past the bright green and crisp stage that culinary professionals prize. In this soup, the beans are cooked grandmother-style, until they are quite tender and develop a deep, earthy flavor.

The butter that floats on the surface of this soup is essential to the soup’s texture and flavor. We recommend you use cultured butter, which has a subtle tang. You can make it yourself or buy it.

Serves 4 to 6

1 tbsp. filtered grapeseed oil or good cooking oil

1 sweet white onion, cut into 1⁄4-in/6-mm dice

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups/720 ML vegetable or poultry broth

12 oz/335 g russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄4-in/6-mm dice

1 lb/455 g green beans, trimmed and cut into 3⁄4-in/2-cm pieces

3 cups/720 ML buttermilk

1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup/240 ML sour cream

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. butter, melted

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Chopped fresh dill for garnish

Chopped fresh chives for garnish

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat until a drop of water flicked on the surface sizzles gently on contact. Add the grapeseed oil, then immediately add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes and green beans and simmer until the potatoes are tender enough to be easily pierced with a skewer, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a blender, combine 2 cups/475 ML of the broth and vegetables and the buttermilk and purée until smooth. Add the purée back to the saucepan, add the salt and 1⁄2 tsp. pepper, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until heated through, about five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3⁄4 cup/180 ML of the sour cream and the vinegar.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with melted butter, the remaining 1⁄4 cup/60 ML sour cream, the parsley, dill, chives, and plenty of pepper. Leftover soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.

The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Davis. Follow him on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and attended U.C. Berkeley.

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