"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Putting the Angst in Thanksgiving

If you’re still trying to decide what to serve for Thanksgiving this year, here are a few favorites from my recipe file. They are guaranteed to please -- and you should remember, in this context, the word “guarantee” has no basis in fact or implies any legally enforceable standard for satisfaction. What are you going to do if you don’t like them, or end up in the emergency room as a consequence of ingesting – sue me? I’ll see you and your ambulance-chasing huckster attorney in court, sucker. Enjoy!

Turkey ceviche. Have your butcher remove the skin and bone from a 4 - 5-pound turkey breast. Using the same knife you almost sliced your finger off with last Thanksgiving, dice the raw turkey into quarter-inch cubes. “Cook" the diced turkey by placing in a glass or other non-reactive bowl and marinating in 1 cup of freshly-squeezed lime juice; refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove and add finely chopped tomatoes, red onion, celery, green bell pepper, parsley and cilantro and gently combine all ingredients while drizzling with ½-cup EVOO. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a dash of Maalox®.

Chocolate cake stuffing. Using your favorite boxed cake mix, prepare two 9” layers. Sauté chopped onion and celery in butter, then mix in one layer of the cake, crumbled. Add 1 tablespoon each of poultry seasoning and rainbow jimmies. Stuff the bird with the mixture and bake until you realize hours too late that the built-in thermometer has malfunctioned, leaving the turkey completely dried out and beyond salvaging. Save the day by bringing out the second cake layer to serve to your disappointed guests. OPTIONAL: Drizzle gravy over top of cake before slicing.

Sauced cranberries. Open a can of prepared cranberry sauce while sipping chilled vodka, straight up, since that’s the extent of your culinary abilities. Have a bandage ready when you inevitably cut your finger on the sharp edge while removing the lid. Sloppily dump contents of can into an antique crystal serving dish, possibly chipping it. Toss onto the table, which will likely break the antique at its base, and then immediately return to the sanctuary of the living room to sullenly keep at it with the vodka until everyone leaves.

Green bean casserole. Par-boil two pounds of trimmed beans, drain and immediately immerse in ice water to preserve their color. Arrange evenly in a shallow pan and pour the prepared contents of one box of lime Jell-O® over the beans. Place dish in the refrigerator until the gelatin sets. Once the mixture has solidified, remove from refrigerator and top with french fried onions. Bring to room temperature on the kitchen counter and then forget to serve with the rest of the meal.

Sweet potato casserole. Boil 11 pounds of peeled and diced sweet potatoes for one hour, or until all traces of color are removed. Drain and mash using a mallet or garden weasel. Stir in the contents of one bag of granulated sugar. (NOTE: For those who require this dish to be sugar-free, you are shit out of luck.) Pour the resulting mush into a Bundt pan that has been lined with mini-marshmallows. (Another NOTE: If you are obtaining the mini-marshmallows by sifting through packets of powdered hot chocolate mix, be sure to rinse all traces of the cocoa from the mini-marshmallows so as not to disrupt the delicate balance of flavors this dish requires.) Bake at 400 degrees for two hours and then invert the Bundt pan. When the casserole refuses to release from the pan, swear uncontrollably for ten to fifteen minutes and then get on with the rest of your life.

Roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts with bacon. Thinly slice one head of cauliflower florets and 1-1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, lightly season with salt and pepper and then sauté in safflower oil until tender. Separately, pan fry two packages of bacon until crispy and nicely browned. Throw away the sautéed vegetables and serve the delicious bacon to your appreciative family.

Mac and chinos. Prepare a box of macaroni and cheese according to the package directions and serve while insisting everyone wear matching outfits during dinner.

Glazed carrots. Trim two pounds baby carrots, removing tops and tips before peeling, which will result in approximately three ounces of remaining vegetable. Using a small brush, apply several layers of shellac to each carrot stick. Place in a colorful serving bowl and advise these are not to be eaten.

Spiral sliced ham. Combine one cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup prepared mustard and two tablespoons cider vinegar. Mix thoroughly in a bowl and then drizzle over a 12-pound boneless, skinless cured ham. (What it has been cured of is not important.) Bake in a 350 degree oven for two hours. TO SPIRAL SLICE BEFORE SERVING: Insert the tines of a large serving fork into the center of the ham and secure the handle in the chuck of a 1/2" drill. As you operate the drill, have another family member (preferably your wife's least-favorite uncle) firmly press a sharpened carving knife against the surface of the spinning ham. Involve any children present in the meal preparation by having them chase after the flying pieces of meat and place onto a china platter.

Pumpkin pie. Really? You make your pies from scratch? What a complete waste of time. Just buy whatever brand is on sale, prepare according to the package directions, chip away the burnt edge of the crust and obscure the processed flavor by spritzing half a can of whipped cream on it.

Remember that everything tastes better when it’s made with love, which is why so many family dinners are fondly recalled as being inedible.

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