The commercials this time of year are all the same: Happy families gathered around a happy Thanksgiving dinner, while the aproned mom happily puts the final touches on something in the kitchen. Even the turkey looks like it’s smiling. The scene is so perfectly American, Norman Rockwell couldn’t have painted it better.
What we don’t see: The loudly bickering siblings, the drunk and inappropriate step-uncle, cousins kicking each other under the table, surly teens announcing how the whole thing is an insult to Native Americans, father beating a hasty retreat to the football game on TV. Poor mom! After all that food preparation, the whole Thanksgiving meal lasted 40 minutes and everyone scattered, leaving her with an enormous pile of greasy pots and pans. At least, she thinks, I have a year until I need to do this again.
Well, what if you never need to do it again? I mean, ever? Follow some simple recipe tips and ideas, and you will never worry about being the Thanksgiving dinner host family again.
The best (worst) recipes for Thanksgiving dinner
- PETA’s Vegetarian Nut Roast is described as “tenderer (sic) than a roasted turkey…please anyone at your Thanksgiving or other holiday meal.” Oh, really? Anyone? Let’s just say, the ingredients are primariy cashews, bread, and bread cubes. Pleased yet? Shape it like a turkey before serving, for an even steeper anticipation to disappointment curve. I guess PETA’s anti-cruelty pledge doesn’t extend to hungry humans waiting for their Thanksgiving turkey. Extra points if you can figure out how to make the kitchen smell like a roasting turkey, while actually being devoid of one.
- Not to beat up too much on the meat-free people, but their recipes really can kill that festive holiday mood. This Four Bean Stew (including every child’s favorite, lima beans), in lieu of steamy butternut squash or pumpkin soup, practically guarantees that family members will need “alone time” to deal with post-meal gastrointestinal noises. Useful tip: Double up on the garlic cloves, for added pungent emanations.
- Dessert is tricky. After all, many people are willing to excuse a horrible dinner, and even someday recall it as the Best Meal Ever, if they love the last course. I was tempted to suggest flan as the ultimate worst Thanksgiving meal dessert, since I hate the stuff (it’s not the taste, it’s the texture. And the taste.) But it occurred to me that flan must not be a universally disliked dessert, or Spain would stop cranking it out. Therefore, I’ll have to go with Turd Cookies. They may not taste too bad, but how can you be sure? Take a look at them; they look exactly like dog poo. Imagine serving these cookies on your finest china: Faces fall, coats are grabbed, doors are slammed. Thank you, Turd Cookie Inventor, for the perfect idea regarding how not to worry about being the Thanksgiving Dinner host family next year, or anytime in the foreseeable future.
If all else fails, one last idea is to wake up Grandpa and ask him to recount for everyone how much Things Were Better in the Old Days. That way, at least Grandpa will have a good time. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!