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The Thanksgiving Feast

Pumpkin Patch

The Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of each November. The holiday is used to give thanks (hence the name “Thanksgiving”) for the blessing of a new harvest and the past year’s bounty. Thanksgiving has been an official holiday in the United States since 1863, and because it celebrates the agricultural year, the largest part of the celebration is the Thanksgiving meal, sometimes referred to as a feast!

The typical Thanksgiving meal is eaten for lunch, dinner, or sometime between the two. Most families enjoy roasted turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, buttered rolls, and various vegetables such as carrots, squash, and asparagus. Stuffing is a filling made of vegetables, fruits, and bread that cooks inside the turkey. Gravy is the sauce made from juices that run from the turkey while it’s cooking. Last but not least, dessert is a fanfare all on its own, with pumpkin pie as the most popular dish.

Of course, not everyone eats the typical Thanksgiving dinner with turkey. There are alternatives like the vegetarian’s “Tofurkey” (a combo of tofu and turkey, since it’s imitation turkey made of tofu). Many others enjoy a large sliced ham or roasted chicken instead of turkey.

Useful Expressions
*Harvest: gathering crops for food
*Bounty: [bάʊnṭi] wealth or goodness given to you
*Agricultural: related to agriculture or farming
*Feast: large celebratory meal
*Last but not least: the final thing listed but not the least important thing in the list
=> 「大事な事を一つ言い残したが」

Words and Phrases
*bless 祝福する、感謝する
*hence それゆえに
*roast (オーブンなどで)焼く
*stuff 詰める => stuffing (料理の鳥に詰める)詰め物
*squash [skwάʃ] (主に米)カボチャ、トウナス
*asparagus [əspˈærəgəs] アスパラガス
*gravy 肉汁、グレービーソース
*fanfare [fˈænfeɚ] ファンファーレ、(派手な)誇示

感謝祭は毎年11月の第4木曜日にアメリカで祝う祭日です。その祭日は、新たな収穫と前年の豊作という神の恵みに対して感謝の気持ちを伝える (そのため「感謝祭」と呼ばれている) ことが習わしになっています。感謝祭は1863年からアメリカ合衆国の正式な祭日となり、それは農耕に関する1年を祝うものであるため、お祝いの目玉は感謝祭のごちそうで、ときに祝宴と表現されます!

典型的な感謝祭のごちそうは昼食か夕食として、またはその間に食べることもあります。多くの家庭では詰め物をしたローストターキー、グレービーソースのかかったマッシュポテト、クランベリーソース、バターロール、さらにニンジン、カボチャ、アスパラガスなどの様々な野菜を楽しみます。詰め物は、野菜、果物、パンでできた具で、七面鳥 (ターキー) の中に詰めて調理します。グレービーソースは、調理中に七面鳥から流れる肉汁から作られたソースです。大事なことを忘れていましたが、デザートのパンプキンパイが最も人気のある一品として祝宴の締めを飾ります。

もちろん、すべての人が七面鳥を使った典型的な感謝祭ディナーを食べるわけではありません。ベジタリアン向けの「Tofurkey」(豆腐と七面鳥を合わせた造語。豆腐から作った偽の七面鳥を使うため。) といった別の選択肢が存在します。それ以外にも、七面鳥の代わりに大きくスライスしたハムやローストチキンを楽しむ人たちもいます。

How Leaves Change Color


How Leaves Change Color

We all enjoy seeing bright green leaves change to yellow and orange and brilliant reds and golds. But why do leaves change color? We rarely think of why, but of course, there is a reason.

Leaf colors come from pigments. Pigments are natural colors created by leaf cells. There are three types of pigments: chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. Chlorophyll is a green pigment which allows plants to convert sunlight into food and energy. Plants that are healthy and get enough sun, then, tend to have bright green stems and leaves. Carotenoids are yellow and orange pigments in plants like carrots and corn. Anthocyanins are red in pigment and can be found in plants like cherries and strawberries.

Leaves change colors when days become shorter and nights become longer. Because of this, trees and bushes are given less sunlight and use less chlorophyll. As trees stop making chlorophyll, carotenoids in leaves show through in yellows and oranges. As trees attempt to recover nutrients from falling leaves, they release anthocyanins, coloring them at last a bright and beautiful red.

Evergreen trees are the exception to the rule. Pines, spruces, cedars and firs do not lose their leaves, or needles, in winter, and they remain green in color. A wax coating protects them and they do not freeze like other trees’ leaves.

Useful Expressions
Rarely: not often
Pigment: natural color (顔料、色素)
Tends to do something: habitually or typically does something
Attempt: try (more formal)
Show through: appear through something else (such as glass)
Release: let out (more formal)
Evergreen: trees which do not lose their leaves in wintertime

Words & Phrases
chlorophyll [ˈklɔɹ.ə.fɪl] 葉緑素
carotenoids カロチノイド
anthocyanins アントシアニン
nutrient [n(j)úːtriənt] 栄養物
exception 例外
spruce [sprúːs] トウヒ (マツ科)
cedar [síːdɚ] ヒマラヤスギ
fir [fˈɚː] モミ





Autumnal Colors

Blue Ridge Mountains in Autumn

Autumnal Colors

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a route famous for its gorgeous, glorious fall colors. It is so popular that offers a “Fall Colors Tracker,” notifying potential visitors of days with the best fall foliage displays. Numerous tourists enjoy driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway simply for the changing flora as autumn sweeps by.

The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches from North Carolina to Virginia over a distance of 469 miles. Because the Parkway’s elevation can vary from a low of 650 feet above sea level to 6,000 feet near Mt. Pisgah, finding the perfect spot depends on a wide range of circumstances. You need the weather to be right, for sleet and snow to not ruin leaves, for rain to energize the leaves just enough, and for balmy weather to slowly change to cool weather just in time. You also need to be at the right altitude for the most brilliant colors—not too high, not too low.

This may sound frustrating or like I’m overanalyzing, but one of the greatest joys of the Blue Ridge Parkway is driving along it with no destination in mind, simply enjoying whatever views you stumble across. There are numerous places to pull over and enjoy the scenery, so bring a camera and your hiking boots!

Useful Expressions
*Autumnal: referring to the autumn / fall season
*Foliage: plant leaves
*Flora: plants of a particular region
*Sweep by: pass by in time, occur (casual)
*Stretch: span the length of something
*Sleet: a mixture of ice and rain
*Altitude: height (formal)
*With no destination in mind: with no concern as to where one is going, to enjoy the journey

Words & Phrases
*gorgeous 豪華な
*glorious 見事な
*elevation 高さ、海抜
*energize 活気づける
*balmy さわやかな
*stumble across 偶然出会う
*pull over 車を脇に寄せる

ブルーリッジ・パークウェイは、華麗な輝くように美しい紅葉で名高い道路です。とても人気があるので、 では 「紅葉表示板」 を用意して、そこに行ってみようと考えている人々に、紅葉の一番の見ごろとなる日を知らせています。多くの観光客が、足早に過ぎゆく秋の木々のうつろいを楽しみたいとの思いだけに駆られて、ブルーリッジ・パークウェイを車で走り抜けるのです。



Health Benefits of Pumpkin


Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Fall has come. Also known as autumn, this season is marked by cooler weather, light breezes, and the shedding of trees’ leaves. Trees once bright and green in spring become withered and gray as they lose their leaves in gorgeous color bursts of browns, reds, oranges, and yellows. When it gets too cool outside, there’s nothing like a nice bowl of soup to warm you back up. One of my favorite soups for the fall season is pumpkin soup. Whereas most Americans chow down on pumpkin pie, I find that pumpkin soup is even more delicious. Like pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup can be sweet, with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Others prefer to make it savory with spices like cumin and black pepper. Personally, I prefer a savory pumpkin soup complete with roasted pumpkin seeds on top and swirls of sautéed carrots and kale. Pumpkin soup is a hidden culinary gem, and it’s good for you too!

Although many stick to pumpkin pie or carving their pumpkins into Halloween jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin has many health benefits as well. For one, pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A which keeps your eyesight sharp. Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, have been shown to lower bad cholesterol. Perhaps most amazing, pumpkins contain an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which could possibly work to prevent cancer in humans. Sure pumpkin soup is tasty, but these are some great reasons to go make it! Let’s cook.

Useful Expressions
*Color burst: impressive image of vivid colors
*Warm you back up: to warm you again, meaning you were warm inside, went outside and became cold, and now need to become warm again– Pumpkin soup will warm you back up!
*Savory: salty or spicy rather than sweet
*Sautéed: lightly fried in oil
*Hidden gem: something that is outstanding and amazing but not popular or well-known
*Jack-o-lantern: carved pumpkin during Halloween with a candle inside
*Antioxidant: substance that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in humans
*Go make it: to go to the grocery store or kitchen to make pumpkin. It is a casual way of saying “Let’s make pumpkin soup now,” similar to “Let’s go!”

Words & Phrases
*breeze n.そよ風
*shed v.(葉を)落とす、(動物の毛が)生えかわる、(涙・血)流す
*wither v.(植物)しおれる、枯れる
*chow down v.(米口語)食べる
*nutmeg n.ナツメグ
*cumin n.クミンの実
*swirl n.渦巻き (本文ではかき混ぜる事を指す) v.渦を巻く
*kale n.ケール
*culinary adj.料理の
*gem n.宝石
*stick to v.(考えが)固執する、元の意味は、「突き刺す」
*eyesight n.視力


カボチャと言えば多くの人がパンプキンパイやハロウィーンでくり抜いて作る提灯ばかり思い浮かべますが、カボチャには健康を助ける多くの働きもあります。一つには、カボチャは多くのビタミンAを含んでいて、視力を衰えから守ります。他方、カボチャの種は悪玉コレステロールを下げる効果があることが分かっています。おそらくもっとも驚くべきなのは、カボチャにはベータカロチンという抗酸化剤が含まれていることで、これはおそらく多くの人のガンを予防する働きがあるでしょう。カボチャスープがとてもおいしいのは間違いありませんが、でも、ほかにも素晴らしい理由があって作るのです! さあ、カボチャスープを作りましょう。

Wining and Dining in Italy

Glasses of red and white wine, served with grapes and cheese

Wining and Dining in Italy

Italy is known for a wide variety of things. There are the beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean, the rolling hills of Umbria, and numerous churches and monuments to take your breath away. Most of all, perhaps, Italy is known for its food and drink. If you’re looking to wine and dine, Italy is the place to be. There’s spaghetti, ravioli, pizza, gelato, homemade breads and tiramisu, ricotta and pecorino cheeses, truffle oil, and countless other specialties. Maybe even more popular than the food is the wine.

Italy is famous for having the most delicious wines in the world, and it is also the largest producer (though France comes in a close second). This makes perfect sense—Italians have been making wine for over 2,800 years! Winemaking is considered an art, and wine-tasting is considered a very valid hobby. Some people, known as sommeliers, even work as professional wine tasters and recommenders.

Although the United States is only the fourth largest wine producer in the world, it’s the third largest consumer of wine. On average, Americans drink over 3 billion bottles per year! That’s a lot of vino. Compared to Italians, though, we hardly drink at all. For every bottle an American drinks, an Italian downs almost three!

Useful Expressions

Take your breath away: amaze you (so much you cannot breathe)
Ravioli: type of Italian stuffed pasta
Gelato: “ice cream” created in the Italian style
Tiramisu: coffee-flavored Italian dessert made with lady fingers and whipped mascarpone cheese
Sommelier: professional wine taster and recommender
Vino: “Wine” in Italian

Words & Phrases

*Mediterranean adj.地中海の
*rolling adj.土地がゆるやかに起伏している
=> rolling hills 緩やかに波打っている丘
*look to ~の方を向く、関心を向ける
*countless adj.数えきれないほどの
*valid adj.正当な、妥当な
*flavor n.味(風味)をつける
*lady fingers n.指形のカステラ風の菓子
*whip v.(卵など)かき混ぜて泡立たせる => 元の意味は、「むちで打つ」
*mascarpone n.イタリアのクリームチーズ
*down v.飲み干す





Trick-or-Treat! Halloween in the United States

Witch  children with pumpkin lantern. .

Trick-or-Treat! Halloween in the United States

Halloween is a sometimes scary, often lighthearted holiday celebrated by many Americans each October 31. Halloween festivities include carving pumpkins with silly or scary faces, visiting or running through haunted houses, trekking through corn mazes, competing in costume contests, attending spooky parties, and of course, trick-or-treating. Kids dress up each Halloween in costumes ranging from sweet and pretty like angels, pop stars, and elves to scary and strange like ghosts, devils, and werewolves. They hurry out as soon as the sun has set and night has fallen to trick-or-treat, meaning move from house-to-house asking for candy. A common slang saying is “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!” Children recite this rhyme, or simply say “Trick or treat!” when asking for candy from neighbors.

Halloween is celebrated by many but it is not observed as an official holiday. Kids still attend school, and adults still go to work. Still, after school and work, many enjoy decorating their houses with fake cobwebs, ghosts, string lights, witches and wizards, and tombstones and rats. Fake skeletons hang from trees and creepy music can be heard playing from many windows on the night of October 31.

Useful Expressions:

Festivity: a festive celebration or occasion

Haunted house: house decorated with scary objects and actors to entertain visitors

Corn maze: maze through corn designed for visitors to weave through, searching for the exit

Trick-or-treat: common saying and activity for children during Halloween

Words & Phrases
*festive adj.お祝いの => n. festivity 祝祭、お祝い騒ぎ
*carve v.彫る
*haunt v.(幽霊などが)出没する
*trek v.骨の折れる旅行をする
*maze n.迷路
*spooky n.お化けの出そうな => a spooky house お化け屋敷
*elf n.妖精 (複数形は、elves)
*werewolf n.おおかみ人間
*ask for v.求める
*cobweb n.くもの巣
*witch n.魔女
*weave v. 縫うように進む
*creepy adj.身の毛がよだつ