Our Thanksgiving op-eds have been coated in butter and dunked in a barrel of boiling oil. Now our house is on fire. But nothing, nothing will convince us otherwise. So pass the alcoholic gravy — here are our deep-fried holiday takes.
Every year, once a year, Americans dedicate an entire day to eating food. This is good, even sacred. That is to say that conceptually, I’m pro-Thanksgiving. Still, it’s time to change the menu.
Think about this for a second: We have one day, where for hours, even days, we prepare a bevvy of dishes to serve our most gluttonous, hedonistic selves. We spend time reading recipes, flooding grocery stores and toiling in the kitchen, and the best shit we could come up with is eating the flesh of a godforsaken bird that can’t even fly?
Well, I say, no more.
I have never in my 30 years of life met a single human being who genuinely enjoys the taste of turkey. That doesn’t mean I’ve never had good turkey, because I have. I’ve even had some great turkey. But here’s the problem: A great turkey doesn’t taste like turkey.
Think about that for a second: The pièce de résistance of a day dedicated to feasting and without which no Thanksgiving table is complete, is a food for which the barometer of quality is how little it tastes like itself. If you’re sitting there grumbling about tradition and history, well, here’s another tradition: Not eating food that tastes like shit.
But let’s move on, because I’m not just merely anti-turkey, I’m anti all Thanksgiving food. Stuffing or dressing, whichever way you want to refer to this piss-colored brick of foam, it also deserves to die. Again, why are we eating cut-up pieces of stale loaf battered with onion and celery when something as pure and delicious as garlic bread exists? I get that stuffing is still a starch, and most every starch is a valuable player in the culinary pantheon, but soggy croutons? Really?
Next, we move on to the MVP of thanksgiving: Mashed potatoes. I have nothing against mashed potatoes, but when the most coveted dish on a day dedicated to feasting your heart out is boiled and mashed taters, there’s a word for that in English — tragic.
But maybe you’re not particularly keen on any of the above. Instead, you’re here upholding this monolith of colonial culture just for the canned cranberry sauce. That’s cool, even admirable. But also… fuck off? That stuff, particularly when it comes out of a can and sliced in half-inch discs, looks an awful lot like gelatinized cockroaches. Why are we eating this?
Of course, everyone’s Thanksgiving is different. Hopefully yours at least includes some gooey macaroni and cheese, with which I take no issue. Maybe you’ve even got a green bean casserole, which is worth poking at with a fork to make sure it’s dead. My own, at least, comes with a myriad of Persian options, and every year I become increasingly more grateful for the immigrant Thanksgiving experience.
But I just can’t help but notice the silent suffering that’s soon to take place — the reaching for seconds and thirds of what was little more than mediocre mash the first time around. You fill your plate again and again until you’re so full you feel less like a human and more like a receptacle for waste. When it’s all over, though, you can’t remember much of what you ate — you assure yourself just by having eaten a lot that it must have been good. But it was not good — it was glut and lies. It’s time to put an end to this mess.
And please spare me the argument about how it’s nice that on one day of the year every American more or less eats the same brand of food. Because my qualm isn’t with the faux-unity of this holy day of gastrointestinal havoc, but with the fact that the food we’re being herded to eat is so violently average that the highlight of the entire experience is reimagining the food in its leftover state.
I only have one more query for you to consider if, in your heart, you still believe that the traditional Thanksgiving menu is glorious just the way it is: If it’s so damn mouth-wateringly good, why do you eat it once a year?