Poor Thanksgiving. What have we done to you?
It started out as such a straightforward idea, beautiful in its simplicity: A bunch of hungry settlers, inviting the new neighbors over for a feast.
Then we had to resort to the true American way: If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.
First, we made shopping on the day after Thanksgiving into a competition sport. And it sort of made sense. We were cooped up with our relatives all day Thursday, which would drive anyone to want to shop, and Friday was the day when we officially noticed Christmas bearing down on us like lake-effect snow on Buffalo.
Then the shopping got so big, a few stores started opening at midnight on Thanksgiving. Now people expect employees to work all day Thursday, so we can spend the holiday eating in food courts and fighting over the last PlayStation 4.
Next year, why don’t we just have trick-or-treaters hand out Black Friday advertisements and skip the turkey all together?
Actually, skipping the turkey would be better than what’s happening to it. Last week, I got a pitch for a turkey brined in cranberry-flavored Red Bull. A doctor had come up with the recipe so you wouldn’t get sleepy after eating turkey.
Still, even cranberry-flavored Red Bull is nothing compared to the next news development. Just when I thought we had reached the lowest point in holiday-food mania, I got a pitch from the Krystal company for a turkey stuffed with Krystal hamburgers. According to Krystal, they have never shared the “secret” recipe with a clamoring world.
In case you are suspicious, the press release assures us that this is a community service:
“We wanted to share our recipe so that our guests would have a way to incorporate their favorite Krystal flavors into their family celebrations,” said Stan Dorsey, Vice President of Research and Development for the Krystal Company. “Krystal stuffing is a way to start a great new holiday tradition with all generations of Krystal Lovers.”
Of course, you do have to buy a 24-pack of Krystal burgers to make it. You only need 20 of them to stuff the turkey, though, so you’ll have four you can eat yourself. If you’re in a hurry to reach the mall food court, a fast-food stuffing is the way to go.
Finally, there’s the big controversy over The New York Times chart that gave a Thanksgiving recipe for each of the 50 states. North Carolina got sweet potato cornbread, which are three words I actually had never seen together.
Our cornbread was no big deal compared to Minnesota. In what is being called Grape Gate, the Times assigned a grape salad to the state known for its wild rice.
The funny thing is, I’ve had that grape salad: It’s served at Chicken Salad Chicks, which is based in Alabama. Matching an Alabama dish with Minnesota must have been The Times’ way of bringing the nation closer together.
On Thursday, I’m planning to stay home, cook and feel nostalgic for the days when the worst thing we did on Thanksgiving was serve cranberry sauce from a can.