Excerpt from A Guide To Food No One Eats Ever

Now, we may be a little chubby, but don't feel slump / We guarantee ya' one thing; we can surely come

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So, that was quite a Thanksgiving, huh? If you’ve got any modicum of decency, you didn’t deal with family at all and that either made it remarkably sad or the best thanksgiving of all time. I personally spent time with the small group of people on my block who we’ve been quarantining with. It was really, really nice. As I’m an older guy now and I’ve got kids, I find hanging out with my parents (or any of the kids’ grandparents) to also be really nice and I missed seeing the elders a lot this year, but I can’t deny that a Thanksgiving where you just walk across the street, hang out with your buds and go home to sleep in your own bed is also, in the words of the ancient ones, pretty fucking dope.

 For those of you still on the edges of your seats from last week, I have two updates:

  1. I was NOT able to acquire the Popeye’s turkey

  2. My naysaying neighbor’s turkey was, in fact, really, really good

I don’t know how thankful I was for anything besides my wee little quarantine family, as that’s kind of all that I’ve been around for the past year, and everything else HAS kinda stunk, but I felt like the whole event was pretty good. The general forced chillness that’s been foisted on the sane part of the nation kinda seemed to wash over everyone around me. There was less stress, there was no arguing, and there was a lot of pie and cheesecake and shit. 

And folks, that’s the kinda holiday I’m looking for: No worries and good food. There have been a lot of bullshit rundowns on what’s up with Thanksgiving meals, mostly under the guise of “how to cook thanksgiving dinner” but thankfully you’re here with me and this is the most REAL and UNFLINCHING guide to Thanksgiving that has ever existed. Now that it’s been a week (sorry!) I think we’re ready to survey this holiday properly, SO:

Tighten the buckles on your hats and shoes because we’re starting off strong with:

Drinks!

Did the puritans drink? Oh, that’s right! They did! They had like a zillion gallons of beer on the mayflower or something. If you’re anything like me, you enjoy a snifter of brandy here and there during the holidays, and, unless you’re somehow married to a recovering alcoholic or someone who’s either got terrible parents or a fuckup cousin or something, you’re gonna be getting boozed up on Thanksgiving. This is a good thing.

There’s a reason that thanksgiving is where everyone places the made up racist-uncle-having-a-tirade-about-the-blacks or whatever. There’s a reason that thanksgiving is the holiday where people talk about their moms and grandmothers wondering why they’re still single. That reason is this: everyone is hammered. It’s a day where overindulging is the whole point of the day. I watched my wife cook some stuffing for this thanksgiving (more on this later) and the very first thing I thought was “welp, that, by itself, is literally enough food to feed about 12 people.” This was one of about 8 dishes, all of which were enough to be the only food of the night. 

So think about that in terms of drinking. You’re either drinking a lot because you’re trying not to engage your weird xenophobic family (most years, but obviously not this one), or you’re so happy to be around everyone again (again, most years) or you’re just an opportunistic drunk or you’re sitting next to a drunk or you’re just losing track of all consumption governors or whatever due to inexperience, or you’re old as shit and you’re showing the kids that you can still hang or whatever your thing is, the point is you’re drunk on thanksgiving. 

In the before times, the night before and night of Thanksgiving were the best nights of the whole year to do shows, because everyone is home and shitfaced and doesn’t have any real sort of social network left in their hometown but they’re drunk and ready to get away from their parents AND they’re back where they went to high school and what if Shannon is at the show, just by chance. Boy you really blew it with her at that party at Rico’s senior year, man. Maybe you’ll get another shot tonight at the Turds show. And so forth. But that’s not happening this year. No Shannon. No turds, no (almost certainly) regrettable sex in your childhood bunkbed.

Anyway, drinking: thanksgiving mainstay. To wit: 

We had several interesting drinks, including whiskey and beer, but the one that stood out to me was a prosecco with just a little cranberry juice in it (to be festive) which, while I’m sure it was delicious, looked like urine with blood in it. It took every ounce of strength I had not to say this aloud to the ladies consuming it that night and (wipes brow) finally, I’m free of that burden. I could only think “bladder cancer” when looking at those drinks, but I am POSITIVE that it was delicious. It got stellar reviews. Still, blood pee. 

The drink that DID manage to get wildly shit talked was egg nog. It’s my assertion that booze and dairy don’t mix well (although I’ve had those like $40 booze milkshakes and those ARE pretty good in the right moment) and that’s what egg nog is. Everyone on my wife’s side of the family swears by Evan Williams egg nog and buys up cases of it every year around halloween and, well, it’s gross shit, folks. I don’t know what to tell you. To use a metaphor that’s slightly extreme, but very appropriate in this case: you can tell Jeffery Dahmer that keeping severed human penises in the fridge is gross, but you can’t make him understand that it’s gross. Know what I’m sayin?

Turkey

Turkey is kind of the star of the show during thanksgiving, innit? I know I’m not saying anything profound at all here, but bear with me.

This is what it’s ALLLLL about, but legit, why? Turkey kinda sucks. It’s often dry. It’s a beast of a thing to cook and it’s full of really gross bits. If you don’t believe me, answer me this: How come we don’t ever cook turkey the other 364 days of the year? If you came over to your mate’s house and he was like, “yeah. Hope you’re hungry for dinner. The turkey will be ready in a second,” and he pulled out a full sized thanksgiving turkey…wouldn’t you be tempted to call the police? That’s some fucked up ass shit to do. 

The reason why is because turkey sucks. I refuse to do any research whatsoever on this but I suspect that there is some sort of weird ass roundabout political reason that we eat turkey on Thanksgiving. I know that Ben Franklin is rumored to have said that it should be our national bird instead of the eagle...a rumor that I’ve also heard is hotly disputed (okay, sidebar...by WHO? Dorks is who). My point is that there’s clearly some sort of force that’s been pushing turkey into the limelight since the days of the founding fathers.

Seriously, this can’t possibly be an important enough thing to give a shit about on one side or the other unless there’s some sort of truly bullshit ass Big Turkey corporate hands at play, but whatever. Even if that’s the case, the bird tastes like shit and is a huge drain on oven space one day a year and, like pumpkins, is propped up by the even more insidious Big Autumn. 

My mom lives in the middle of fucking nowhere. Every now and then I’m walking to the mailbox or something and you know who waddles out in front of me? A fucking wild turkey! They’re not as smooth as the whiskey would lead you to believe. In fact, they’re very satan-like. They’re black and red and very menacing. And if they start to fly...mercy goodness. They’re like a goddamned bowling ball with the wingspan of an evil blackened Pegasus. The first guy who saw one of those things and thought “yup. I’ll eat it” clearly hated himself and his family, and also was probably some kind of fucked up hick druid. 

In short, turkey sucks, unless my neighbor Jeff breaks down the carcass, Sous Vides it, makes it into rolls and then busts out his rotisserie, in which case it’s good. That said, even then, it’s only really good off the dark meat spool. 

Do YOU want to go through the trouble of meeting Jeff, becoming good enough friends with him to get invited to his Thanksgiving during a pandemic and seeing for yourself? No. You don’t. No one does. Just order the turkey from Popeyes (which I secretly bet is still superior, but whatever).

Final take: People who take a lot of turkey on thanksgiving are, to the last, thinking they’re fooling their body bc they’re just not looking to put on any weight, but you can only do this if you’re truly a person with great willpower, in which case eat whatever the fuck you want and don’t pretend what you want is turkey, fer fucksakes. Nobody actually wants turkey. It’s for the birds, as they say. Okay. Moving on. 

Gravy

Certain Italians call sauce gravy. I am an Italian. I am even a citizen. I’m not Italian enough to have a problem with this per se, but I also think it’s willfully subversive, in that it’s not called ‘sauce’ nor ‘gravy’ in Italian, meaning those mofos who be saying gravy are just being difficult on purpose and whoppity doo. Look what we have here: another asshole Italian acting like he invented the world. Get fucked, Greg (he goes by Guido, by the way). Tomato sauce is sauce and that’s all there fucking is to it. You call it what you want, but don’t pretend that I have to deal with this parochial nonsense semantic chip on your shoulder. It’s a local colloquialism. I’d never make you call my mom ‘mom’ for example. I understand you have a different word for the same idea. Don’t get all fugazi if I don’t humor you and use the wrong word like you do. You have to understand, it’s nothing personal, I just don’t want to sound like a complete fucking moron. 

Anyway, the other side of my family is deep Ozark hillbilly….[end transmission]

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