Of Turkey and Saucy Customs

I know, Thanksgiving is a family holiday. But… there are those of us not at large family gatherings this year. And I want to offer a hug to those of us who are doing that on purpose, because sometimes, the best thing you can do with certain families is stay far, far away from them.

I don’t do turkey for Thanksgiving, though I salute those who do. I do spaghetti.

Yes, there are reasons. The names will be omitted to protect the guilty, and innocent bystanders.

Picture having a young male relative, living on his own with his second girlfriend and proud of it, absolutely convinced that he has better taste than all his relatives and should demonstrate same by pulling off the turkey dinner to end all turkey dinners. He will invite them all, and show them all, and all shall bow before his crispy fowl, beans of green, and mashed potatoes garlanded with gravy!

Except he forgot that cardinal rule of testing windshields at high velocity: THAW BIRD FIRST.


Picture yourself being the one stuck by other adults into corralling the younger crowd of relatives, all of whom arrived around 10-11 AM – as in, before lunch – and all of whom get progressively and quite reasonably more ill-tempered as the day goes on, and on, and eventually it’s 7 PM and no food is arriving.

I will mercifully blot out the grisly details. Let’s just say that the kids behaved with more reason and decorum than the adults, the grudges spawned still echo to this day, and leave it at that.

So for a day of thanks, I make spaghetti. It’s simple, I can cut up and freeze or otherwise store most of the ingredients in advance, and I know if I’ve got reasonable amounts of tomatoes, spices, and ground meat on hand, I can have it ready in 2.5 hours or less. Simple, tasty, no massive arguments.

(Also after Thanksgiving turkey is often on sale, and we need all the budget help we can get.)

Here’s to a good meal in peace!


14 thoughts on “Of Turkey and Saucy Customs

  1. Turkey never works properly on our part. Always dry and/or bland. Don’t much like ham, either- it’s great as a seasoning, toss chunks of it into a pot of beans, green beans, fry bits in with potatoes, so on. But on it’s own? Too much of a salt bomb for me.

    Our family tends to do things like a roast of some sort. Smoked duck is really good, if you remember to slit the skin so excess fat can run off (it’s greasy otherwise), and if you have a drip pan under it, the drippings are really good to cook with. Makes for good risotto or rice.

    We’ve done corned beef with potatoes and cabbage for Easter before- I thought it was one of the best Easter meals we had!

    My more traditional grandmother was utterly incensed that we would dare do such a thing. Funnily enough, she never did come to another Easter at our place after that (or any holiday, now that I think of it), and tried insisting that we come over instead. To show us the proper makings of a holiday dinner, I assume, since we very obviously must have forgotten how to do it properly.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My dad is an absolute wizard when it comes to cooking the turkey. It’s always so juicy and delicious.

    We have a family tradition of having a private Thanksgiving Dinner the Sunday following the holiday. (We originally started it so that my maternal grandpa could have a Thanksgiving Dinner with us. Now, we invite family members that we didn’t spend the holiday with.)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. My mom makes a great turkey but I dont like that particular poltury so our usual meal for the day is chicken parmesan with various side dishes.

    Hope everyone has a good day🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I am half Polish (via both Grandmothers) and a quarter Serbian (via one Grandfather) by descent.

    IOW a typical American Mutt. 🙂

    Anyway turkey is good, but the real holiday go to in my family is lamb. Expensive at times, but a good leg? Very nice, and not all that difficult to roast.

    Heck, at least your story didn’t have someone try to deep fry the turkey, and then involve a visit from the fire department.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. For me, I like ham, cranberry sauce(Strained can ONLY), and stuffing. Lots of Stuffing. I also like chocolate mousse, but haven’t been able to recreate a recipe from 1992. EVERYONE except Gram and me was groaning, stuffed to food coma full. Living room was filled to the brim, both couches filled, the big chair, even the carpeted floor had someone.

    Liked by 1 person

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