I have a confession to make: I do not care for Thanksgiving food.
Green bean casserole? Why? There’s never enough French onions. Cranberry sauce? Pass. Mashed potatoes? Meh. And turkey? Don’t even get me started on turkey.
My Thanksgiving game plan has always revolved around rolls and mac and cheese. No matter where I am on Thanksgiving or who is cooking, I can consistently rely on these two dishes to never disappoint. And I have spent Thanksgiving at many places.
Perhaps it’s because I’m not a big fan of the food, but Thanksgiving isn’t at all important to me. As pre-ghost visit Ebenezer Scrooge is to Christmas, so am I to Thanksgiving. Because of this, I never go out of my way to travel home to Houston to consistently spend Thanksgiving with my folks. In college, I stayed in Oklahoma and spent my Thanksgivings working at Starbucks grinding coffee and passing out gift cards to people. It wasn’t a bad way to spend the day — later I’d go back to my apartment and hang out with my friends whose homes were also more than four hours away. We spent one particularly memorable year watching every Thanksgiving episode of “Friends” and we each brought our own homemade Thanksgiving dish to share. It was the quintessential “Friendsgiving.”
After graduation, I’ve found myself somewhat adopted by my boyfriend’s family, and we spend Thanksgiving at their place in Southmayd. We usually break out board games, but only after gorging ourselves on food. I participate in this tradition as well, even though, I as stated, I don’t care for Thanksgiving food. I always have to go back for seconds because that’s how Thanksgiving is.
But I must insist. Why do we Americans choose to celebrate a day of giving thanks and appreciating what we have with such mediocre food? As Americans, shouldn’t we celebrate such an American holiday with, I don’t know, pizza? Hamburgers?
Is it too much to hope for tacos?
I know I’m not alone in this stance. One of my Facebook friends who also shares my opinion on Thanksgiving food shared some (edited) words from the author Kristen Iversen. I’m using this space to re-share them, but I’ll also post the same disclaimer he did: If you love turkey — if you love to cook and bake and put out all the stops for this holiday focusing around this bird — we can still be friends. I’ll even offer you some leftover turkey.
Turkey is not a good-tasting bird. Forget turkey for not even tasting as good as bland chicken, which is a pretty low bar to begin with. Forget turkey for not tasting anywhere near as good as duck, with its tender breast meat which stays succulent thanks to being able to baste in its own delicious fat. And I’m not even going to talk about how good duck leg confit is, because then I’ll just start getting mad at how mediocre the turkey leg confit was that I made one Thanksgiving in a last ditch effort to redeem it by making turkey finally taste OK, and then after all that time prepping and cooking, guess what that turkey tasted like: just OK.
“Forget turkey because the way that people try to make it taste better is by stuffing it with a duck and a chicken and that is basically a crime against poultry because then you’re ruining a perfectly great duck and perfectly good chicken with a layer of turkey. Forget turkey.
“Forget turkey because not only does most of its water-bloated 16 pounds (the average weight of a Thanksgiving bird) have the taste and texture of a cotton swab, but also the rest of it — the good part, the dark meat — has way too high a tendon-to-edible meat ratio to be worth what a pain it is to carve properly. Forget turkey legs, particularly those monstrosities served at Disney World that are literally the most disgusting thing to eat in, if not America, at least Disneyworld, which has plenty of other questionable food items. Forget turkey because forget America and its industrial farm systems which have bred these birds to be so breast-heavy and dark meat-deprived that an already mediocre meat becomes plain awful. But also: forget heritage turkeys which are prohibitively expensive and still not all that good. I’d rather have a Thanksgiving brisket. Why can’t I have a Thanksgiving brisket?”
Or, as in my case, Thanksgiving tacos?
Miranda Wilcox is the managing editor of the Anna-Melissa Tribune, the Prosper Press and the Van Alstyne Leader. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.