Opinion: The highlight of Thanksgiving

Published 9:47 am Monday, November 22, 2021

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

Thanksgiving: arguably the most overlooked holiday due to its unfortunate location in between Halloween and Christmas. It’s the main holiday where we sit around a table with family, say what we’re thankful for and eat food that literally makes no sense.

First of all, it’s time we all just speak the truth: turkey tastes like wet napkins and is way too high maintenance. The real stars are the side dishes. Everyone knows it. Nobody says they’re looking forward to the turkey every year: it’s the dishes we can literally make any day of the year, but we save them for Thanksgiving because we know they’re the superior beast.

I can make sweet potato pie all day every day, but do I? No, I save it for Thanksgiving. Same with green bean casserole. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, craves green bean casserole any other time of year than Thanksgiving. And there should be no argument about, “Oh my family has the best green bean casserole recipe,” because we all secretly use the exact same recipe that has been handed down since Campbell’s marketed their cream of mushroom soup 100 years ago. If anything, the real MVP of green bean casserole are the little French’s fried onions people sprinkle on top.

Shall we talk about the reigning supremacy of canned cranberry sauce? If people bring from-scratch cranberry sauce to your house, they don’t like you. From scratch doesn’t have the same tangy flavor, and bits of cranberry get stuck in your teeth. The canned version is perfectly shaped for cutting and is full of delicious cranberry flavor without the stringy bits that get stuck in your teeth.

I would also like to point out that besides bread pudding, Thanksgiving dressing/stuffing is the only time we as civilized human beings think to ourselves, “I really want some wet bread cake.” There’s also the question of who was the first person to see cornbread and chicken stock and think, “I should combine these things together and shove it in a dead bird.” These are the great culinary mysteries that are probably best left just that: a mystery.

It’s also odd to me how territorial people are about Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you but my family is very territorial about what each person brings to the table: my uncle insists on doing the dressing, my mother always does the Rice-A-Roni, and before my Nana passed away she did everything else (that’s now my job).

At the same time, if I had a Thanksgiving without my mom’s Rice-A-Roni or my Uncle’s dressing, it wouldn’t feel the same. Even though it’s from a box, my mom’s Rice-A-Roni is the best to me because she makes it.

I think that’s one of the things that’s so comforting about Thanksgiving food: sure, we can make it every day all year round as I have previously pointed out, but that wouldn’t make it special. Not everyone has a traditional Thanksgiving, whether it’s different menu choices or maybe you choose a Friendsgiving over family dinner. But having these weird foods be representative of this one day gives us a feeling of comfort. We come together to eat this wet napkin bird and bread cake to say I am grateful for what I have, and I think that’s pretty special.