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This I Believe


It’s time for the annual truth-telling session of Thanksgiving food: It is largely bad.

1) Turkey is an atrocity. I love how every November we see a zillion articles that read “If you do this one trick that takes 8 days, you will create an edible meal.” Wow, compelling. I loved that brining was supposed to be the big thing that finally allowed us to conquer turkey, but now, nah. Probably the smartest solution if you are really determined to eat turkey is to deep-fry it, but there is the small downside of burning down your house. Somehow, making a bird marginally edible might not be worth homelessness. Now, I am normally opposed to American food atrocities, and lord knows there are so many of them, but when you are talking about turkey, why the hell not? What’s the downside?

Could it be worse than regular turkey? Not really.

The smart play is to have, oh I don’t know, literally anything else tomorrow. Alas, neither I nor most of you are in a position to make this choice, either because of family obligations (my in-laws are very traditional people on these sorts of things) or because you actually like turkey, to which I just have nothing to offer you.

2) Pumpkin pie is objectively the worst pie. I mean, I guess it’s not terrible. It’s pie after all. But why would you choose pumpkin pie over any other kind of pie. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the other traditional Thanksgiving pie–pecan–but only because I find it a bit too sweet for my tastes. But at least I recognize why it is appealing. What I don’t understand is why pureed pumpkin with spices is appealing. And don’t even get me started on how Americans decided this was a flavor that needed to go into coffee and beer, which at least is a wave that has crested. I blame Obama. Had we had a pumpkin beer phenomena while Trump was president, I really don’t know how I would survive. I’d honestly prefer mince meat pie to pumpkin, which I respect as an old-school pie with legs today, even if purveyors of the idea that pies should strictly be sweet find it disgusting. Personally, I am a bigger fan of fruit pies, but really, anything but pumpkin. Apple pie is not only American, it is awesome.

3) The other traditional Thanksgiving foods are–fine? Mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes. Nothing wrong there, but nothing special. I guess they serve as a conduit for gravy, but given that it is turkey gravy, there’s no value added. Sweet potatoes can be very good–but who the hell puts marshmallows and sugar on top of them? Why would you take a good root vegetable like that and turn it into a sugar bomb? Terrible. An atrocity. Cranberries serve the useful task of making turkey taste like something. Stuffing is pretty much pretty good, at least if it is homemade and not out of a box. If you are making homemade cornbread, then you are on the right track. Heated up rolls? Not so much. Green bean casserole? No. Too close to the Lutheran foods I grew up with. It provides nothing but nothing. Much better if you are going with some brussels sprouts, possibly with bacon, or, I don’t know, an actual salad? That’s fine, call me anti-American.

My contributions to tomorrow’s dinner? Roasted root vegetables with herbs and a great cheese plate (especially since I will probably be the only one to actually eat the paté I bought, providing me a special treat), plus a selection of fine beers from around the nation. If I had time, I’d make a really good mac and cheese too. Some have suggested this is a questionable Thanksgiving food, but that’s simply wrong. Not only is mac and cheese a wonderful invention with many possible ways of working with it that also appeals to children, but it is also simply delicious. I personally don’t prefer it with meat, but hey, to each their own on this.

Most importantly, remember that I am glowering at you from afar tomorrow as you make questionable Thanksgiving food choices. Unless you are being creative and inventive and avoiding turkey. Then you can know I am raising a beer to your fine decisions.

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