Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Dirty Little Thanksgiving Secret

Here’s my secret – although people who know me might already guess this …..

[*whispering*] I don't particularly like Thanksgiving!!

Oh no, I hear the cry… why ever not?  You must like Thanksgiving, it’s an American Tradition, it's the best meal of the year!  Well, let me explain

While I love, love, love turkey, it’s a traditional Christmas dinner and something I look forward to all year. I appreciate many American’s don’t do the family thing at Christmas, but in England it’s a big deal. Turkey with all the trimmings – roast potatoes, chipolata sausages, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, broccoli, gravy and of course, Brussels sprouts – is the perfect Christmas dinner. So to have turkey a few weeks before Christmas takes all the thrill out of it. It’s kind of like opening all your presents before Christmas and then having no surprises on Christmas morning.

All the Trimmings
Ahh yes, all the trimmings, American style…

1. Sweet potato – what the heck is this stuff?  It’s sweet, it’s orange and it’s definitely not a potato. (okay, it might be, but I'm not an expert)  Not only that – it’s usually topped with marshmallows.  Ugh, sweet and savoury should never, ever go on the same plate;

I have no words
2. Mashed potatoes – nope, no lovely, crispy roast potatoes but mashed.  And mashed is kind of a subjective word because most likely there will be lumps and skin in there.  Reminds me of icky school mashed potatoes.  Sometimes, there’s even garlic or some other concoction of flavours added.  I'm a purist when it comes to mashed potatoes, no lumps, no skin, no flavours except potato - it probably has to do with having a former Irish mother-in-law.
Lumpy potato
      3.      Ambrosia Salad – okay, this is where things get really weird. Ambrosia is a so-called salad which in my opinion, it most definitely is not. Mandarin oranges, pineapple, coconut, mini marshmallows and whipped topping is not my idea of a salad. A pudding (dessert) maybe but never a main meal – and to top if off, you have to eat it on the same plate as your turkey! Holy crap that’s so wrong – see number 1 above.
Nope - Definitely a pudding
        4.      Green Bean Casserole – I will admit I really like this, but at the end of the day, it’s just a tin of runner beans mixed with a tin of mushroom or chicken soup and some crunchy onions. It is the best part of the meal, actually and I tend to eat more of this than anything.

My favourite part
5. Vegetables – oh wait, there are no vegetables really.  Sometimes there might be carrots, but then they’re covered in sugar and probably marshmallows too.

Pudding (“Dessert” if you’re America)

What no Christmas pudding or mince pies?  Of course not – it’s not Christmas, even though your're eating Turkey!

Pick your punishment preference:

Pumpkin pie – I’m sure pumpkins are not made for eating, otherwise why would the flavour have to be totally concealed in cinnamon or nutmeg.  Not to mention the texture is awful.

Apple Pie – oh yes, something I recognize.  Wait, it’s so over seasoned with cinnamon that it doesn’t even taste like apple pie.
Pecan Pie – I have no comment on this one.  I’ve tried a pecan once and it was awful.  I’m sure there are at least two or three spoons of cinnamon in there too.

Sweet Potato Pie – Wait, didn’t we just have this with our dinner?  And it looks suspiciously similar to pumpkin pie.

Ok, I will admit and you might have noticed I don’t like cinnamon and the problem in America, especially this time of year, is that it’s so overwhelming in everything.  I think I will stick with the Ambrosia salad as my pudding, thank you.  (Although it’s usually cleaned away by the time you get to desert).


So here’s the thing, it seems that no matter where you go, you have to do the whole “go around the table and give thanks thing.”  Everyone has to take turns saying what they are thankful for and of course, it’s a time you are in the spotlight (kind of) and all eyes are on you.  I’ve said things like “I’m thankful I didn’t have to do the cooking,” which I’m not entirely sure is what is expected.

Also, sometimes, there’s praying!  I know, I shouldn’t say bad things about praying, but it just makes me cringe and feel really uncomfortable.  There's also hand-holding sometimes.  And heaven forbid (yes, I said it) that I’m  actually asked to say the prayer!

So how do I get around this, being engaged to a wonderful Yank you say?

Well, sometimes I just have to suck it up and eat the turkey.  But, for the last couple of years, we’ve been to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving and it works out absolutely brilliantly.  We go to a buffet and he can get his Thanksgiving meal with all the trimming and I can have bloomin’ Chinese food if I feel like it, or Mexican, or Italian, or anything I want without ruining my Christmas.

Oh yes, and I forgot about the worst part - there are no presents!!!  You see, Christmas is so MUCH better.

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