According to some religion or another, we all know that gluttony is a sin, but we also know that aside from the whole “oh, boy am I so thankful for _______” aspect of the holiday, gluttony is the impetus of Thanksgiving.
Truly, gluttony is the least of your worries when you’re seductively winking at your sister-in-law across the table, ridiculing your Uncle Gary’s crippling drug habit, going on incoherent, racist rants and passing out on the couch during the football games. (And pissing your pants. Don’t forget that.)
That’s why I suggest that, if you’re gonna do it, do it right. Stuff yourself with what matters most and leave the fruit salad for your elderly aunt and her soft, brittle teeth.
Here’s my list, in order of Who-Gives-a-Shit to Must-Have.
Not to be confused with yams (which suck, too), sweet potatoes taste like a carrot that contracted gangrene and is slowly rotting from the inside-out. So you cover it with cinnamon and a bunch of other masking agents and you push them as healthy, but really, you should just offer glazed carrots and shut the fuck up.
9) Cranberry Sauce
It’s sweet! It’s tart! It’s like eating a spoonful of brains from the scooped out head of dead monkey! Texturally, it’s all wrong. Taste-wise, it distracts the palate. I don’t care if it’s the solid, gelatinous mass from a can or carefully prepared using real cranberries, it’s simply no good. When I think of “sweet” and “tart,” I think of a track-mark covered prostitute from Wichita; that kind of thing has no place on my plate.
8) Glazed Carrots
Glazed carrots are okay, but they need to be cooked properly. All too often, someone undercooks the glazed carrots and you’re left with little shards of sweet Oompa Loompa penis. Nobody needs that on this, a day when we’re all supposed to be giving thanks.
7) Any Kind of Salad
Seriously? Why do this to yourself?
I’m sure it has a name, but I’ve never heard it. It’s good, though, despite being a little bit bland. I mean, it’s rice and broccoli and cheese. Not exactly reinventing the wheel, but a palatable side, nevertheless. It’s not ubiquitous, though, which detracts from its ranking. If I end up at your grandmother’s house (which would be way weird, by the way) and it’s NOT there, I wouldn’t be surprised… but if I later realized I didn’t have any, I might shed a solitary tear.
I’m not a huge sweets guy, but you’ve gotta have pumpkin pie. Period. Pecan pie is okay in a pinch—PROVIDED that you also have pumpkin pie. I’ve got no qualms with apple pie—SO LONG AS you also have a pumpkin pie. It’s simple, really: if you have desserts at your gathering—and most people feel the need to—then you MUST have pumpkin pie. It’s Thanksgiving, not Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Dessert-Day.
Any kind of roll, really. A nice roll does to the meal what a good rug does to a room: it really ties the whole thing together. They can be brown or white, pillowy-soft or hard on the outside. It doesn’t matter. It’s hard to screw up the roll, which is part of what makes it so great. And hey—live a little, why don’t you? Take a little bit of turkey, put it inside the roll—INSTANT DELICIOUS TURKEY SANDWICH. You’re welcome.
The thing is, turkey is nobody’s favorite meat. It’s just not. It’s good, but not great. Chicken is a far superior bird, but we‘re inundated with chicken. Turkey is a once—MAYBE twice—a year food, so of course it’s in the top three. Part of it is the pageantry associated with the production; the month to unthaw, the wrangling of the cold, clammy carcass, the cruel cavity search, the bondage and brining and basting, the hours and hours of cooking… but it’s mostly just that turkey is pretty decent. It tastes good. Plus, you get sandwiches and soup for days, which is pretty outstanding, too.
2) Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy
Oh, man… now I’m getting heated. Mashed potatoes are clumps of starchy goodness bestowed upon mortals by The God of Deliciousness. They’re silky, yet smooth; rich and creamy, yet subtle. It’s butter and salt and cream and maybe some garlic AND I WILL STRIKE YOU, BITCHMOM, IF YOU DON’T LET ME AT THE MASHED POTATOES. Smother them in delightful turkey-gravy and make sweet, sweet mouth-love to a towering mound of potato-y goodness. The only downside to mashed potatoes—and I feel like a heretic for even suggesting there’s anything close to a downside—is that not all m’d potatoes are created equal. It is possible to make an inferior version, often lowering their quality from “transcendent” to merely “very good.” You’ve been warned.
Stuffing goes in the bird and dressing goes on the side, but I call it all stuffing, and probably, you do too. No matter what you call it, though, it’s a veritable fact that Thanksgiving is a colossal waste of time without stale bread cubes cooked with copious amounts of butter and boner-inducing herbs. Stuffing is like what Jesus would eat if he were still around to eat Thanksgiving. It’s simple and delicious and really, the hearts of a thousand poets couldn’t quite capture how passionately I feel about a nice stuffing. In fact, if you come over to my house for a Thanksgiving feast, and you disparage stuffing, I will kill a hobo, provide convincing evidence that YOU killed the hobo, then call the cops and report that you’ve murdered someone. Yes, it may seem a bit extreme, but I am that serious about stuffing.
And there you have it. All you need to have an outstanding Thanksgiving dinner.
I hope you all spend the holiday with friends and family, and I hope that you feel the same way I do about stuffing or, you know, the whole hobo thing.
Happy Thanksgiving, KCC!