Thanksgiving is almost here, and you know what that means: It’s time to start planning your big day! The holiday is a celebration of American heritage, and what could possibly be more American than arguing about politics with your racist uncle in front of an absolutely absurd amount of food? Of course, Turkey Day has its drawbacks, too: the stress involved; the crazy cooking projects you’ll have to pull off; and the endless, endless dishes, to name a few. But never fear: As a senior, I’ve probably lived through more Thanksgivings than almost all of you, and I’m here to help!
First of all: Locate that turkey! The main problem with the turkey as the centerpiece of your table is that, to put it in technical cooking terms, nobody likes it. Oh, sure, people are happy to chow down on a breast or a thigh every now and then, but have you ever heard anyone voice the same enthusiasm for turkey as, say, steak or bacon? But just because Americans don’t like something very much doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to fight over it. Despite the enormous glut of turkeys that floods the market every November, somebody always ends up not being able to track one down. You don’t want this to be you, so simply purchase a frozen turkey well in advance, preferably during the Obama administration. Better safe than sorry!
Secondly: Get cooking! Those of you who know me will know that I am a lifelong vegetarian, but never fear: I’ve seen all of three (3) Thanksgiving-themed episodes of “Good Eats,” and am fully prepared to dispense avian advice to all and sundry. My main Turkey Tip is simple as can be. When it comes time to cook your bird, simply dress it, brine it, drain it, roast it and then take the meat and place it in an industrial wood chipper. The result will be flaky, with a good balance of light and dark pieces, and, as a bonus, no one will ask you to cook one of those goddamn birds EVER AGAIN.
Thirdly: Make your side dishes! After three paragraphs of blathering, we’ve finally reached the section of the article where I could dispense advice pulled from anywhere other than straight out of where the sun don’t shine, but I will note that could is the operative word here. In any case, the best accompaniment to your big ol’ dead bird is a healthy helping of everyone’s favorite: cranberry sauce. Some people like to add orange, rum, spices and all kinds of other flavorings to their sauces; I then like to place said sauces directly in the garbage can when no one is looking. Thanksgiving is about eating food fit for children, and I will not have my taste buds challenged on a day of the year otherwise entirely devoted to dealing with family.
But turkey and cranberry sauce alone do not a meal make. Technically, if you’ve been following my instructions to the letter, you’re probably further away from making a meal than you were when you started, but in any case, it’s time to move on to stuffing. This is also referred to as “dressing,” and you can choose to call it as such as long as you are comfortable with the knowledge that I am judging you harshly from over 6,500 miles away. Some people (probably the same people who make the toxic orange cranberry sauce) like to cook their stuffing inside the turkey, which is a solid strategy inasmuch as a sudden, violent case of food poisoning makes for a perfect excuse to clear out of Grandma’s dining room. If you would prefer not to be hospitalized on a federal holiday, however, you should instead opt for cooking the stuffing separately, preferably for at least six hours at 500 degrees. After all, what’s a holiday without a merrily crackling fire?
So there you have it: a recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving. Of course, even following this foolproof plan, problems could still crop up along the way. In that case, don’t worry: Simply channel Ina Garten by laughing cheerily and opening up a big bottle of French wine. After all, if you don’t have to cook alcohol, you can’t possibly burn it! Right? Even you couldn’t manage that, right? Right? In any case, happy Turkey Day, and if you’ve been reading this safe and secure in the knowledge that you personally do not celebrate Thanksgiving, don’t feel so superior. I’ll ruin your holidays next!