Coming up this week is Thanksgiving, one of the most treasured of American holidays. And as much as I understand the fragility of traditions – I learned this the hard way after I was beaten with an oak switch after my “Down with Arbor Day” parade – but I have to ask: are we STILL pretending to like Thanksgiving food?
I feel obliged to point out that I understand why people love Thanksgiving so much. I love it as well. You get a couple days off work, you spend a few hours with your family without the stress of gift-giving, football gives you an excuse to not actually speak to said family, and it’s the only day of the year where nursing a colossal hangover with several naps is not only accepted, but expected. Oh, and there’s that whole ‘giving thanks’ thing, for the hokey members of our society.
The other great thing – possibly the greatest thing – about Thanksgiving is the built-in license to eat yourself into pants-unzipping discomfort with zero guilt.
I love this aspect of the day. I just wish it could be achieved with actual good food for once.
That’s right, I said it: Thanksgiving food sucks a fat one. Disagree with me? I’m sorry, but I have a hard time believing you. You are simply having trouble separating the happy-fun-family-time with the crappy food on your plate. Which is understandable, but a mistake nonetheless.
But once you do segregate the food from the tradition, I think you’ll agree with me. Because if you liked the offerings so much, you’d eat them more than once a year. You don’t roast a turkey in February. You don’t eat stuffing in June. You don’t make mashed potatoes in October. No one does.
There is a simple explanation for not liking this food: because it has no taste. None whatsoever. Turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing: bland, bland, bland, bland. This comes standard with all foods that have been around longer than the Mayflower.
When this holiday meal was conceived, hundreds of years ago, our ancestors didn’t have any better options. This meal wasn’t the best of the best; it was just what was available. They didn’t know and appreciate the flavors of food, not like we do today. For chrissake, they drank out of unclean goblets. They didn’t even have George Foremans! Or sporks!
This was before honeycrisp apples, ranch dressing, rotisserie chicken, Skittles, etc. You think our predecessors would have devised this meal with the myriad food options we have today? Two words: ‘Fuck’ and ‘no.’ So I ask: why are we continuing with this charade?
We should be proud of progression. We should hold our heads up high at our food-related innovations. We should embrace the present.
We should stop eating the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
People, I hereby suggest 2009 as the year to buck the tradition. Suggest an alternative meal for Nana and PopPop’s house this Thursday. You can’t do any worse. Enchiladas, lasagna, stir fry, Chinese takeout, what have you. Something with flavor for once. Fresh vegetables. Fruits. Greens. Sauce that didn’t originate inside the same animal on which you are gnawing. Doesn’t that sound nice?
It’s time to rise up against this tyranny of a crappy holiday dinner that was devised by our tastebud-devoid ancestors. Let us create new traditions. The turkey revolution is long overdue.