But, hey, at least we get to eat different food, right? That way, the congestive heart failure we suffer a week later will actually mean something, something we can truly be thankful for. Here are the best and worst foods you can stuff down your gullet before you go into cardiac arrest this year.
Yes, we know it's tradition and all, but still, we can't for the life of us determine why turkey is the bird of choice on Thanksgiving. It's dry, hard to cook and so big that you end up with huge piles of leftovers that force you to eat cold turkey sandwiches for weeks. The only thing we can figure is that because people eat so much chicken over the course of the year that turkey is simply an alternative to it. But, you know what? There's a reason why people eat more chicken and why one Colonel Sanders gave his life drowning in eleven herbs and spices so we could eat it. Because it's delicious. And we're way more thankful for that than for some old traditional bird that Pilgrims ate because they didn't have anything else and were dying of cholera. So let's hear it for chicken. And not for turkey, which only gets one out of five belt-buckle hats.
STUFFING AND DRESSING
For the most part, when we're presented with a food item, it behooves us to know what's in it. For instance, scrapple. You'd better damn well know what scrapple is before you eat it. (It's mostly genitals or something.) However, stuffing and dressing are the exception to that rule. We don't know what's in it. We don't want to know. All we know is that it's pretty good and that if we had any idea of how it was made we'd probably not like it so much anymore. There's probably gizzards in there or something, but, hey, it's pretty good, so we'll leave it at that. It gets four out of five belt-buckle hats no matter what's in it or what you call it.
This is another one of those things people only eat at Thanksgiving, and again, we're pretty sure it's only because of the tradition of the holiday. Frankly, why anyone would voluntarily eat a congealed fruit gelatin that comes out of a can and looks like the stuff that was drained from a goiter is beyond us. Honestly, cranberry sauce isn't even the best fruit-related stuff that comes out of a jar or a can, but hey, I guess we can't all eat spoonfuls of Tang at Thanksgiving. No belt-buckle hats for cranberry sauce. Not even a one-feather headdress.
Fun fact that isn't actually fun: The things that are sold as yams in the United States aren't actually yams at all. They're sweet potatoes. So the next time a Southerner gets into a fight with you over what something is called (like whether a toboggan is a hat or a sled or whether the things in your mouth are teeth or breathing holes or if it's okay to sleep with your cousin), just trust them on this one. As for “yams” themselves, we guess they're okay. What we're saying is they've never hurt us personally. Which is more than we can say for cranberry sauce, which killed our paternal grandmother. Three belt-buckle hats for whatever they are.
CORN ON THE COB
There is absolutely nothing bad about corn on the cob, from how it gets stuck in your teeth down to those little corn-on-the-cob-shaped holders that you stick into the corn so you don't burn your hands. It's just damn near perfect. Sometimes, we just like to walk down the street eating corn on the cob and laughing at people at restaurants attempting to eat corn niblets with a fork and dumping it all over their laps like schmucks. “Hahahaha!” we say! “You fools! You don't understand, nay, cannot understand the greatness of the cob!” And as such, corn on the cob gets a megalomaniacal 5 out of 5 belt-buckle hats.
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Much like most aspects of Valentine's Day or the Brazilian tradition of giving a poor child a giant chocolate Jesus on Easter, this is one of those holiday traditions that was invented by a corporation a few decades ago and seems to have somehow weaseled its way in to the standard practices of the holiday. By no means something the Pilgrims ate, green bean casserole was concocted by the folks at Campbell's soup in the mid-1950s. Interestingly enough, however, it was originally invented to help shield homes from nuclear fallout and was only discovered to be edible when it fell into the mouth of a man constructing a bomb shelter. He died not long after that because he swallowed some asbestos too, but that was quickly removed from the recipe and the rest is fake history. Half a hat, we suppose.
It's fucking awesome. We're not sure there's much more we can say. Pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, cherry, it's all good. Maybe not rhubarb. We're not sure how to feel about rhubarb. But rhubarb is fun to say, so we'll let it slide. Rhubarb. Rhooooobarb. Reu-barb. Six hats, goddammit. Yeah, we know that's more than the scale allows. We don't care. It's pie. Try and stop us.
Not so much a food as a Thanksgiving staple, family awkwardness is quite possibly the most enduring tradition of the holiday. When Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday, he said, “On this Thanksgiving day, we proclaim that you must talk to your relatives and pretend to enjoy it.” So whether it's trying to avoid broaching the topic of the recent elections, listening to your uncle talk about every detail of his recent knee surgery or simply the pointing out of things going on television (“Oh look, it's the Garfield balloon.” “Yeah. They had one last year, too.”), things are bound to be more than cringe-inducingly uncomfortable. At least they (or you) will be dead soon. No hats, but certainly several therapy bills are in order.
Check out more of Matt's stuff at his very own CRACKED blog.