An Unfoodie Thanksgiving by Deb Tish

My name is Tish Cohen and I am an Unfoodie. I am completely devoid of culinary instincts and can practically guarantee that no one in Canada messed up yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner worse than I did. Should you, too, be an Unfoodie wishing to muck up a family occasion of your very own, read on. 

 To really blow it big time, it’s best to ignore your Foodie sister’s plea for a farm-fresh turkey and buy a shrink-wrapped frozen bird instead—because it looks less bloody that way—and plop it into a kitchen sink full of cold water to thaw overnight. Please note that the bird must have extra sharp poultry knuckles that pierce the plastic wrap, leaving a jagged hole. (This and only this is what prevents you from allowing your husband to thaw it in the pool instead of the sink.)

Next, because throwing a dinner for 14 is cinchy for an Unfoodie, try to squeeze in a power walk the morning of the big day—leaving yourself very little time to get the turkey in the oven for 11:30 sharp. Stomp blissfully through fallen chestnuts, along littered streets, and across freshly fertilized lawns. Next, run through the house in your dirty sneakers and take a moment to ponder what you may have tracked inside. Think about your five-year-old nephew, who will likely be lying on the floor begging for someone to drag him by his feet so he can pretend he’s on a luge.

Even though the time is creeping towards 11:45, quickly mop the floor. Ignore every natural impulse to then abandon the mop and turn your attention to the bird. Otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity to drop the filthy mop head into the sink full of turkey-with-a-gaping-hole-in-one-toe.

Once you’ve watched the mop head fall into the water, it is important to freeze in horror and contemplate the consequences of 14 people eating turkey marinating in traces of fertilizer pellets from the bottom of your shoe. Realize you’ve wasted precious time and plunge your hands into the possibly salmonella- and probably pesticide-infested sink water and fish out the bird.

Decide that your thoughts are bordering on psychotic. Fertilizer is NOT in the water and even if it is, no one eats the toe of a turkey anyway and, besides that, the stores are all closed. Strip off the shrink wrap, scrub the turkey in thick drifts of salt, then lean up against the spreading pool of raw turkey juice on the counter and soak your clothes. Swear. Run upstairs. Change clothes. Come back down, wrestle turkey into the pan and lean into turkey juice again. Swear louder. Run upstairs. Change clothes.

Get turkey into oven a full hour late. Not a huge problem, except your husband will have to miss the entire meal because dinner time just bumped into the first period of his hockey game.

Clean up before family arrives. Drop your son’s never-been-emptied electric pencil sharpener onto the kitchen floor where it explodes all over the slip-covered chairs. Swear more. Try to vacuum shavings off chairs. Not possible. Strip off slip-covers and throw them out the back door, leaving exposed the nasty black high-gloss kitchen chairs you’ve despised since the day you inherited them. Family arrives. You’re completely spent. Your sister opens the oven door and peers inside. Sniffs at the turkey and turns to look at you. She looks impressed. “Is it farm fresh?”

Nod like hell and pour yourself a drink. Pour everyone else a drink, thus subscribing to the #1 rule of Unfoodie entertaining…a gin-soaked guest is a happy guest.

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12 thoughts on “An Unfoodie Thanksgiving by Deb Tish

  1. Oh, Tish, I nearly peed my pants! 😀 Fabulous!

    See, now this is exactly why I have completely given up on holiday dinners. Holiday dinners are what The Registry Resort is for. The Registry will take your order and have your full dinner, including side dishes, breakfast rolls and artisan bread, and approximately eleventy-hundred desserts, waiting for you curbside at 10:00 said holiday morning.

    I HIGHLY recommend it.

  2. LOL. This would be a lot funnier if it weren’t for the fact that I have to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year. Do you suppose I could cook the turkey IN the gin? Maybe a gin mister — that way they could breathe it in as they walk through the door. (Do you suppose gin mist might cause blindness?) Who am I kidding, all I have to do is fumble a little while my mom is watching and she’ll take over. Ha.

    I hope she doesn’t read this.

    Thanks for the laugh, Tish. I plan to use “no one eats the toe of a turkey,” as my cooking mantra. That should throw everyone off just enough.

  3. Tish, I got so much pleasure from your miscalculations and horror! All these years, Drea has been trying to tell me that Canadian Thanksgiving is much less of an orgy and ordeal than American Thanksgiving. I think she’s been misleading me.

    Kristy, the Registry Resort sounds like CHEATING! I bet they don’t even overcook/undercook/forget anything!

  4. OMG, you guys make me laugh! Kristy – Jennifer’s right, YOU’RE A CHEATER!! (do you have their number?)

    Robin – a gin mister? Please tell me you’re working on the invention. I’ll take 10%.

    Jennifer – Did I forget to mention the orgy?

  5. Did you forget to drink your tea??

    I plan to apply the gin mister to both myself AND the turkey this year when I cook for my 12.

  6. Too funny. Let’s make a deal when we all get together to have some type of big deb do- I’ll do the cooking. You do the drink pouring. : )

  7. We can totally do this kind of Thanksgiving – the cooking, the cleaning and the drinks are already taken care of! Not to mention the entertainment. Life is so hectic these days that our flatware and china have has been reduced to plastic and paper. BE sure to add four more settings for next year!

  8. Evocative story. A cautionary tale for those who think that wrangling a turkey is easy business. I agree, the blood on organic turkeys is a tad off-putting and perhaps suggests that they still have a little bit o life in em. Last weekend my own bloody turkey was in the downstairs fridge, soaking in a vat of brine when I was seized with the unreasonable and perhaps psychotic notion that he might be feeling a bit…disgruntled. I locked the door to the basement before I went to bed, with visions of turkey climbing out of his bath (it’s always a he), opening the fridge door and toe-heeling his way up three flights of stairs to find me. My imagination does not usually move in this direction. Probably shouldn’t have jokingly told this story to my mother and boyfriend who are now quite worried. Presumably, turkey was dead already, but I only felt safe when he’d been in the oven for three hours.

    P.S.: Brining really does make a difference even though it’s a messy piece of work.

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