Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all that I have: two healthy, growing boys who routinely rack up obscene grocery bills; a low-paying job I enjoy that takes up every waking minute and then some; and a mountain of student loan debt I will die owing. I’m not out to jinx myself at this age by parading a lack of gratitude for what I know are gifts.
Thanksgiving sucks. And not in the “Bah Humbug! I hate holidays!” kind of way. I like holidays. Well, some of them. Okay, mostly just my birthday because it’s all about me, and I’m at least that self-absorbed.
Oh, and before you say, “But Foxxy, your birthday isn’t a holiday,” you couldn’t be more wrong. Most years, my birthday falls on Martin Luther King Day, so it IS, in fact, a holiday. (I did contemplate saying that MLK Day falls on MY birthday, but I already get enough hate mail.) And don’t talk to me about how the actual date of the MLK Day holiday changes from year to year because I’m old enough to decide when the hell I want to celebrate my birthday, and the third Monday in January is good enough for me.
So why does Thanksgiving, of all of the holidays that don’t mean much to me, suck?
Look, I’ve never been good with authority, and following directions is as difficult to teach my sons as it is for me to do. (Oh Karma, someday I’m going to need to know the exact volume of urine you’ve accidentally peed from laughing.) And because I’m not good with authority, it chafes me to no end to be told that there is one, and only one, thing I’m supposed to eat on a particular holiday.
Turkey. No other holiday I can remember requires a specific main course. Yes, of course, there are ‘traditional’ dishes associated with certain major holidays. But no one will blink if you don’t spend eight to twelve hot, boring, and potentially dangerous hours of your life preparing that particular dish. Except on Thanksgiving. Woe be to the host who doesn’t have some gawdawful, misbegotten turkey on the menu for Thanksgiving!
Even my vegan cousins expect to see a turkey on the table, even if it’s only so they can say, “Oh, no thank you, we don’t eat meat, remember? Meat is murder.” Now that’s a tradition. And if you were wondering, as a carnivore, preparing a meal that my true vegan cousins can also eat is an annual joy. Putting cheese on the broccoli so my eats-only-nuggets youngest son will consider putting some on his plate means that my cousins turn a special shade of green to match the broccoli. (Lacto-ovo vegetarians are the least vegan on the scale, as they will still eat good things like eggs and cheese. They’re not true vegans, like my cousins. And now you’ve learned something.)
And if having to prepare a particular main course on a particular holiday isn’t enough, the pomp and circumstance required for cooking a Command Performance Turkey is almost more than I can bear. First, you must have the annual discussion of how to prepare the damn thing: roast, smoke, deep fry, or blowtorch. Then, you’re required to do MATH. On a holiday. Just to figure out how big of a bird you have to manhandle. How many people are coming? How many pounds per person? Subtract the pounds for the vegan cousins. Multiply the number of pounds by hours to cook. Tell everyone to arrive at 3 p.m., and then spend two hours apologizing because the damn thing was still frozen when you put it in the oven twelve hours ago. Even though you did the additional thawing math according to the package directions. (Spoiler alert: In order to avoid pulling out giblets coated in a thick casing of ice, you need to start thawing your frozen turkey on Halloween.)
This year, like every year, I had to buy another giant mop bucket to brine the turkey because this year, like every year, around June I decided that my actual mop bucket was gross and needed to be replaced. And because I am lazy, there was a handy-dandy turkey brine mop bucket just sitting there, waiting to be used as an actual mop bucket.
Oh, and have I mentioned? I. Don’t. Like. Turkey. I do not like it here or there. I do not like it anywhere. I do not like it in a house. I do not like it with a mouse. I. Don’t. Like. Turkey.
By now, I’ve probably lost some friends reading this who love to eat turkey, but it’s one of the hard facts of life for me. I would rather have a nice, juicy ribeye and call it a day. No Command Performance Turkeys for me, please, and that’s why Thanksgiving sucks.