Day 320: The Truth About Thanksgiving

I wanted to take a swing at all the cherished delicacies we eat for Thanksgiving before my family comes so none of them take it personally.

Turkey
Want some fresh turkey with nothing on it? Just stuff your mouth with Carr’s Water Crackers. Do turkeys ever drink water? It’s no wonder their skin sags so much, they’re dangerously dehydrated. That annoying gobbling sound is their  muscles rubbing together. Meat should never be flakey. Oh, and I know the dark meat is juicier. Too bad it tastes like rotting lamb. Turkey exists as food because someone was starving and couldn’t find a chicken.

Gravy
Gravy is amazing, but we only need it because turkey is gross. Early Thanksgivings were fraught with choking deaths and someone – probably a physician – screamed, “We need lube on that bird!” I imagine the first gravies were also probably responsible for a few bacterial-based deaths. It’s 2011 and gravy is still mysteriously gross and delicious at the same time. Don’t agree that it’s gross? Think about drinking a pint glass full of cold gravy. We on the same page now? Gravy is blood, fat, and flour (I think), and maybe some veins or something. I don’t really know. Dog food is sometimes advertised as having “delicious gravy.” I don’t like that at all. That said, I will be inhaling it tomorrow.

Mashed Potatoes
In a better world, buttery mashed potatoes covered in gravy would have the nutritional value of broccoli. If I was totally honest and didn’t care what anyone thought, I would just fill my plate with mashed potatoes and eat them huddled in a corner like a goblin. I even enjoy making them because it’s hilarious to mash together  3 potatoes with 12 sticks of butter, 4 cartons of sour cream and a gallon of whole milk.  If you make them right, mashed potatoes should kill anyone who’s lactose intolerant. I may be a little extreme but, personally, I think quality mashed potatoes have to be eaten with a spoon.

Stuffing
Like gravy, stuffing was invented to distract us from how awful turkey is. I like most stuffing even though I have no idea what it is. It’s a mound of soggy croutons, right? Basically, we take a bunch of toast and jam it up a turkey’s ass and cook it. Somehow, I’m totally cool with that. Even if I stop and ponder it for a long time, I’m still down. There’s no other situation where that would be OK.”Hold up guys. Don’t roast that goat yet. We should jam a baguette up its butt first.” There’s some brain washing going on here, and I think the government’s behind it. Tomorrow be sure to check your stuffing for microchips.

Cranberry Sauce
Stop pretending you like cranberry sauce. It tastes like a Sour Patch Kid before they found out how to make them good.

Pumpkin Pie
Really? Why not have some squash milkshakes with that? Is it some gypsy tradition not to let the pumpkin go to waste after Halloween? Pumpkin pie is a whipped cream delivery system. People – and I hesitate to call them that – who eat pumpkin pie without whipped cream will also probably eat your pets. A small tear rolls down my face as I sit here thinking about how much better Thanksgiving could be if it used a valid pie.

Yams
Oh for Christ’s sake. Yams are complete bullshit. It’s some kind of affirmative action nonsense that allows them to share a plate with real potatoes. There isn’t nearly enough difference in taste, color or texture between yams and pumpkin to allow for them both. One tasteless orange stringy thing is already too much for this kid. If you try to serve yams without melted marshmallows on top, expect to be contacted by my lawyer.

So what’s my solution? Here’s a Thanksgiving dinner that isn’t based on mythical traditions cemented by a bunch of British guys with syphilitic brains:

Beef Brisket. If you don’t like that, you probably have a giant tumor pressing against your brain’s pleasure center.
Mashed potatoes
Gravy
Donut Stuffing: Because we have brisket, there’s no need to cook  water-logged melba toast inside a turkey carcass. Just mix up some donuts, bro.
Mashed cheeries: I know you want something red on your plate. I get it. Cherries are edible cranberries.
Chocolate chip cookies: It’s impossible to disagree with that.

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Kim says:

Have you not tried the deep-fried turkey?? Juicy as heck and if prepped right, absolutely delicious and not "greasy" at all!!! Best part is a 12lb bird is done in like a half hour. Lots of people coming??? No problem, just do two birds, you get double the dark meat and drumsticks… win, win!!

annie says:

I feel exactly the same way about my mashed potatoes. I won't even share them with my kids.

Katie Carr says:

And I am vegetarian . . . still cooked a real turkey for my family but I lived on the mashed potatoes (sans gravy because they were that good) and corn and green beans. It was wonderful. Oh and lots of good, heavy beer. Because if you can't be food stoned on tryptophan – might as well be looped on something!

Erin says:

Pecan Pie, preferably with a Whisky cream sauce. That is a better Thanksgiving pie. My 5 year-old daughter who goes to a Montessori school and thus is quite politically and historically correct, wanted us to have eels for Thanksgiving…

JGNo3 says:

What a shame! Turkey should never be thought of as an awful food! Oven bags do help a lot. Put your fave veggies, fresh, in the bottom of the bag, dump yer turkey atop it, add the liquid it asks for and seal it up! I've never made a dry turkey with it. Another secret is to allow it to cool for 5-15 minutes before you carve it. Cutting fresh meat out of the oven forces all of the juices to run out of it, rather than soak into the meat! Also, DO NOT STUFF YOUR TURKEYS PEOPLE! This is where most food poisoning on thanksgiving comes from! Also, you should never cook your turkey at low temps for 8+ hours….think about it people. Food has to come to an acceptable temperature quickly and held at it to make it safe to eat! If you stuff a turkey and bake it forever at 200 degrees, for ever, the stuffing never comes to temp and is a breeding ground for E.Coli. Chances are, your turkey never got hot enough to kill all the bacteria having THEIR thanksgiving on the golden, delicious skin of your turkey. Make stove top 'stuffing' or, bake the stuffing in a different dish, well away from your turkey! PLEASE! Stop the thanksgiving day killings due to stuffing! It's not worth it!

Oh, and 'sweet potatoes' or 'yams' never get made in our home unless they are saturated with syrup, brown sugar and coated in marshmallows…..which, incidentally, makes an amazing glaze for day old turkey sandwiches or leftover holiday ham sandwiches…

Mashed potatoes? Yes, lots of butter and milk, but leave the sour cream out, please. Ever think of the name there? 'Sour Cream'? You let your cream sour and thicken…then you throw it into all of your food? GACK! (Same Idea as cottage cheese. You let your milk separate and curdle, then you drain it off and dig out a spoon? No….no, in my house, we call that 'holyfeckwheredidyoulearntokeephouse'?)

Pumpkin pie giving you the blues? Try a pumpkin roll instead. Yummy, gooey cream cheese filling with very little pumpkin flavor….perfect end to a fat feast.

We eat cranberry sauce though. It's amazing….but we also like dried cranberries, so, who'da thunk it?

BUT! If you're tired of traditional fare on desserts, pick up a package of sugar free pistachio pudding, 8 ounces of crushed pineapple, 16-20 ounces of plain or vanilla yogurt, cool whip(tub not can) and mini marshmallows. If you get Jell-o brand pistachio pudding, it will have the recipe on it. Mix it all together and call it 'Green Stuff', and all the kids will DEVOUR it. ;)

Liz says:

Cure for nasty turkey….Whiskey. One of my best friends and I spent the day before Thanksgiving (well that night) creating a drinking game out of a recipe I found. Shot for the turkey, shot for us…shot for the turkey, shot for us. The turkey was amazing the next day (cooked it at 200 all night and all the next morning completely sealed off with foil which we removed for an hour to brown before removing it from the oven)….but I'm telling you….the prep made the turkey what it was :D

Linnae says:

Oh, thank god! Another human on this planet who thinks pumpkin pie is disgusting!

Mel says:

We went to my father in laws for his feast the day after thanksgiving, one of the perks of my husband's parents being split up, we had 3 dinners. Dinner was pretty good, although he fancies himself a chef and there is no room on my plate for cranberry sauce with chunks of apple and cinnamon. I do really like cranberry sauce, but only if it makes an awesomely gross plopping noise when it falls onto the plate right from the can. Anyways, for dessert he mae pumkpin cake with cream cheese frosting and a pumpkin cheesecake. Who the hell would do that to a perfectly good cheesecake??? People have no taste…..ugghhhh…

Melanie says:

I made my first turkey this year and it turned out awesome. I just rubbed inside the skin with herb butter I had made, rubbed the outside with olive oil salt and pepper, and tented the breast until the last hour of cooking. I didn't put stuffing inside either. I cooked that separate and put a lemon, some garlic, some celery, and a carrot inside the cavity.

Jodi says:

Hy.Ster.i.Cal. Though, you're a heathen for not liking pumpkin pie.

Angela C says:

Affirmative action with the potatoes… awesome. :)

Liza says:

Turkey should never be dry. Not many people know the secret (I won't share it either) but…I've never had a dry turkey in my life. I refuse to eat those cooked by other people aside from my mom or myself.

Jason Good says:

What's the big secret there, Paula Dean?

CJ says:

One trick I have heard is to cook it upside down. =) Then the good stuff is in the juices.

Angela Carter says:

Oven bags are the secret (at least in my family). I learned of this trick from my in-laws. They've handled Thanksgiving for the last 7 years, and I've never once had dry turkey at their house (white or dark meat). Rubbing butter between the meat and skin also helps.

And I completely agree with you, Jason: Mashed potatoes done right SHOULD be eaten with a spoon! (And doesn't need gravy at all.)

JohnnyBoy says:

My turkeys are NEVER dry and I don't cook food in a bag. Plastic bags are for leftovers, not for the oven (ugh, too gross for words). Cook your bird in a bag and you'll get a steamed, not a roasted, turkey. Steam is for wrinkled shirts.

The only rule you need is don't over cook it. Same as chicken breasts. Jeez, you'd think this shit was hard or something.

Diane says:

The only turkey I eat, is ground and mixed with Rao's Arrabbiata Sauce, and then combined with pasta. If people only eat a roasted turkey, pumpkin pie and cranberries, once a year, what does that tell you.

Mashed potatoes and whipped cream are an all season meal.

CJ says:

I felt the same way about turkey, until I went to my in-laws. They make fried wild turkey that was injected with garlic butter. Amazing. His grandma also makes these garlic mashed taters that I could eat as a meal, and she always has cookies. Pretty sure that's why I married him.

Gabsmom says:

We've finally given up on turkey for this day…no one eats much of it, it's always dry, & my kids hate it. So, tomorrow, spicy chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice, beans & cranberry sauce & whipped cream (with the pumpkin pie to act as the base). We're a mixed race family so we each contribute our favorite thing.

shannon says:

our family does pot roast on thanksgiving and tacos on christmas

Caitlin says:

Excellent. I'll have you know that in the 3rd grade, I wrote and directed a commercial advocating pizza for thanksgiving instead of disgusting, disgusting, turkey. It involved children marching around a dining room table holding signs with crossed out turkeys. It didn't work.

Charlene Crafton says:

Can't. Stop. Laughing!! I agree with the above poster: You've outdone yourself here!

Leah D. says:

Oh god. Oh god. Oh my god. You have outdone yourself.

I just love you, man.