Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Torture Foods

Everyone has their favorites for Thanksgiving. If yours shows up on this list, well, don't bring it to my house.

1. Anything involving jello, especially jello and vegetables. This includes jellow and grated carrots. It also includes that bizarre jello, fruit and marshmellow concoction popularly known as 'ambrosia.' Yeah, maybe in Hell, it's ambrosia, but if I had to eat this stuff to stay immortal, I choose old age and death.

2. Green beans of any variety drenched in cream of mushroom soup and topped with something crunchy, whether it be bread crumbs, french fried onions, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish(t), or what have you.

3. Anything involving breadcrumbs, for that matter.

4. I've said it before and I'll say it again, lasagne is not a holiday food. Serve it with salad on Superbowl Sunday, not next to my turkey.

5. Frozen vegetables, any kind.

6. Canned vegetables, ditto.

7. Homemade whole wheat rolls - the kind that taste and feel exactly like rock.

8. Orange cranberry relish. I don't care if you've been saying that you like it for years, you're lying and that stuff is nasty.

9. Bad gravy. This could include watery gravy, greasy gravy or tasteless gravy, as well as just about anything out of a box, bag or packet.

10. Tofurky. Even the name is bad.

There are many more things that belong on this list, but I've just made myself queasy, and I just can't stand any more right now.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown - Time to Talk Strategy

Before you sit down with family for Thanksgiving, it's really best to come up with your personal strategy. This will allow you to make an impression on rarely seen relatives and avoid the dreaded fate of being known as 'who is that?' in all of your family photos. There are several schools of thought about how to approach the Thanksgiving Holiday. Here are just a few:

1. Stuff yourself continually as a lead in to the big day, thus stretching your stomach and allowing you to reach new heights of gluttony.

2. Starve yourself before the big day, and then eat until you have to unbutton your pants, claiming a need to 'catch up on your nutrition.'

3. Promise yourself that you will eat in moderation, then lose it in the face of all those luscious, luscious carbs and pig out until your stomach is so full you wish you were dead.

4. Eat, sneak into the bathroom and throw up while the football game is on, eat some more, amaze your family with your ability to eat so much and stay so thin, go home and take a horse laxative, and spend your Friday off alternately "purging" and laying on the bathroom floor in agony.

5. Go to the family dinner, make a big deal about how you are a vegan and don't eat processed foods, take a few tiny bits of vegetables and make a big martyr of yourself, and then sneak one of the turkey legs home in the sleeve of your jacket to gnaw on alone in hypocritical self-loathing.

6. Proclaim yourself a revolutionary, lecture your parents guests about how this holiday represents violence against Native Americans, then sneak into the backyard to do a bowl with your druggie cousin. Come back into the house and eat all the mashed potatoes, 'cause you are hungry and only the white food isn't poisoned.

7. Eat 'just a taste' of everything, and then spend the rest of the evening getting more tastes, preferably from other peoples' plates, which serves the simultaneous functions of reducing the caloric value of the food and annoying everyone within reach of your fork.

8. Drink Thanksgiving dinner and then be overly friendly and happy to your dinner companions who happen to be actually dining.

9. Drink Thanksgiving dinner and then be obnoxious and abusive to your dinner companions who happen to be actually dining.

10. Start with a huge plate. Go back for another huge plate. Pass out on the couch watching football, rousing occasionally to protest whenever someone else tries to change the channel.

11. Overeat. Feel guilty. Insist that everyone else in the house accompany you on a walk to 'see the Christmas lights.' Shuffle along until you are no longer miserably stuffed. Go back to the house and make a plate of leftovers 'for later.' Go home and eat it all immediately.

12. Make huge plates for your children of all the things you like and they don't. Insist that they 'just try a couple of bites', and then eat the rest of their food. Complain to your spouse that you never get a chance to enjoy your meal because you are always helping the kids.

13. Make a plate, but put just a few things on it, and then spend the evening pushing them around with a fork and smiling smugly at all the gluttons. Wait until they leave and then stand in front of the fridge eating leftovers directly out of the Tupperware bowls.

14. Arrive late with six extra people who are complete strangers. Do not introduce or explain them. Make them plates, find places to sit, preferably not at the table if that is where others are eating. Ignore any attempts to engage you or your friends. Leave promptly when you finish, without saying thank you.

15. Eat just enough and then be cheerful and engaging to your miserably stuffed relatives, mentioning occasionally that they would really be more comfortable and happier with themselves if they didn't overeat so much. Try to work in a reference to cellulite. Try not to get killed.

16. Show up for dinner bloody and act suspicious. Insist that if the cops show up and start asking, no one should mention that you are present. Arrive and leave by the back door.

17. Show up at least two hours late with something that isn't what you said you'd bring and that was obviously purchased at a deli and then re-packaged in Tupperware. Insist that everyone try whatever you brought.

18. Argue long and hard insisting that Thanksgiving be at your house. When everyone gets there, complain bitterly about how much work it is to host a holiday and how no one appreciates the work you do to make the event nice. Insist that you never wanted to host it in the first place. Collapse in horror at any stains on the carpet.

19. Agree to host reluctantly. Buy a ticket to Italy departing on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, preferably late in the evening. Send an email ten minutes before your plane leaves saying that you won't be able to host after all, because you'll be in Italy. Leave. Don't ever come back.

20. Assure everyone repeatedly that THIS year you will be on time to Thanksgiving dinner. Don't go at all. Call everyone on Friday and ask what time you should be there for dinner. Act horrified when they say it was yesterday, and then ask if they saved you any leftovers.

This is not by any means an exhaustive list. I have not, for instance mentioned very many of the myriad ways to make your guests uncomfortable if you are hosting (like jumping up as soon as anyone has finished a plate and wrenching it out of their hands for 'just a quick wash' while glaring at anyone who's not helping in the kitchen. Or referring to the men of the family as 'the boys' and the women as 'the girls' collectively. I haven't even begun to cover the fun you can have with the food ( like spitting out half of every bite you take, only eating foods of one color, or mixing up all the food on your plate to a grey paste before eating it), and don't even get me started on the conflicts. But then conflict is as much a tradition as turkey and mashed potatoes, isn't it?

Make your plan for Thanksgiving dinner. It's important.

Tomorrow: Bad food ideas you can torture your guests by insisting on serving.