“Get. That. Healthy. Shit. Out. Of. My. Goddamn. House.”
~Americans That Appreciate Thanksgiving
America, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which means that all of us will be spending some quality time with our families, eating gobs of unhealthy food and washing it down with copious amounts of wine and waiting for that one family member to get a little too tipsy and start talking about “the things wrong with society” with a slightly racist tinge. Or, if you don’t have a family member who does that, you’re probably that family member, so wait until your fifth glass of wine to talk about how Kim Kardashian was naked in Paper magazine, and how that makes you feel.
Of course, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. It’s a day that basically is dedicated to making a bunch of delicious food, drinking with family, and watching football without having to leave the house. It lacks the gift-giving pressure of Christmas, and the inevitable failure to meet expectations of New Year’s Eve. Sure, a lot of food has to be made, but that tends to be more of a communal experience than anything else, while your dad gets half-jokingly ribbed for spending all of his time drinking beer on the damn couch watching the Dallas game.
The point being, we love Thanksgiving, and we love that people say it’s the one day a year where they really can “let themselves go” when they mean to say it’s like the 150th day this year that they’ve said “fuck it” and decided to really “let themselves go.” That’s a beautiful thing.
And then you get websites that say stupid, bullheaded things like “9 Thankgiving Dishes Made Healthier.” No. We do not want our Thanksgiving to be healthier, Mother Nature Network. We do not want that one bit. Stop it. We said stop.
Wherein AFFotD Decries the Fiendish Practices of the Mother Nature Network, Who Have Actively Tried to Ruin Thanksgiving by Making it Healthier, While We Offer Methods to Make Thanksgiving Even More Un-Healthy to Spite These Malcontents
When we saw this article that suggests ways to make Thanksgiving healthier, our first response was to go to Whole Foods, purchase a gross of tofu (we don’t really know what kind of a container or whatever tofu comes in. We literally just walked in and said “give us a gross of tofu, you hippies” and when they said something like, “tofu doesn’t come in a…” we just started shouting) and set it on fire while chugging a bottle of Maker’s Mark and tearing off our shirts, screaming. Our second response was to gather our belongings from the ashes of our recently burnt-to-the-ground office, and think long and hard about the pointlessness of a healthy Thanksgiving dinner. That’s even worse than those assholes who eat carrots for dessert because “they’re sweeter than people give them credit for” and God, just shut up Gladys, you’re the fucking worst.
Thanksgiving is the one time of the year that people are supposed to sit down and say, “Well, I guess I should go to the gym tomorrow” as we all laugh because, ha, remember that time you got a gym membership, man you got roped into a yearly contract and that commitment lasted you all of, what, three weeks? And even then it was just because Gladys (God, fucking Gladys) was all like, “Hey, you should join me at my spin class, the instructor is really great, anyway I recently started making my own tea and taking it to work instead of drinking the Lipton’s we have here, because I find that…” and God no one fucking cares Gladys we hate you Gladys GOD.
Get that smug look off your fucking face, Gladys, no, shut up, shut the hell up. God. You’re the fucking worst, Gladys.
Anyway, we’re going to show you the list from this Mother Nature Network article about healthy Thanksgiving food, and one by one, we’re going to tell you why that’s a stupid thing to do to your food, and how you can make it unhealthier to show the Gladyses of the world a thing or two. Ugh. Gladys.
Now, this is the one menu suggestion we’re not going to start foaming at the mouth over. Turkey is, you know, fine. But, considering that it’s the main dish of Thanksgiving, it’s amazing how much it’s overshadowed by just about every single side dish that’s being served alongside it with the possible exception of Brussels sprouts which, like, even when you cook them with bacon, they’re still Brussels sprouts, there’s a reason why that’s one of the default vegetables we make “forcing your kids to eat their greens” jokes about. Ugh.
But otherwise, when have you ever had a truly transcendent piece of turkey? It’s, you know, fine. There’s not a crazy amount of flavor inherently in turkey, and the highest praise Thanksgiving turkey tends to get is, “oh, it’s so moist!” Like, “congratulations, you didn’t bake all the moisture out of this giant bird that you had to bake for roughly three and a half days to make it salmonella-free.” Now, some people might say, “But at least you get flavor in the dark meat, this white-meat only bullshit is some malarkey!” and to you we’d say, hey, nice use of “malarkey” there, but also, we can see the benefits of both. Some people actually prefer white meat, some prefer dark meat, it’s all good to us.
That being said, there are ways to make turkey taste better than nature intended, which generally is like “put some butter under the skin” and “don’t serve your family a skinless turkey tenderloin that you baked with olive oil and reduced-sodium broth, because if you do that, your family will leave you, the Mother Nature Network wants your family to abandon you, do not let them do it, serve the whole turkey, stewing in its juices, laden with butter, like a goddamn American adult.”
Also, did we have a picture of a turkey wrapped in bacon? Sure, do that too. Bacon turkey, boom, you’re welcome.
Oh, hell no! No that’s…Gladys, did you write this fucking article? Come clean, Gladys, you sneaky fucking monster. Did you do this Gladys? Easily the best thing about making turkey, besides the weird satisfaction you get in shoving the stuffing up its ass and…wait or is that just us? Forget we said anything. But no, when you bake turkey, and are left with glorious pan fat drippings, and you turn that into this unhealthy magical concoctions that you can slather on everything on your plate, and you’re left with what home tastes like. Are you trying to take away home, Mother Nature Network?
It is literally irresponsible to post the sentence “old school gravy made with greasy pan drippings and mucho salt has got to go” on the internet because we’re pretty sure it just activated the kill switch of some vegan special agent, and everyone else reading it just felt the world get a little less bright. When you host Thanksgiving and don’t make gravy, you will be asked, “Hey, where’s the gravy? Can I get some gravy?” no less than three times from everyone at your table. It’ll be like, “where’s the gravy? Can I get some gravy? What do you mean there’s no gravy? Is this a joke? Where’s the gravy? What do you mean there’s chicken broth, what are you talking about? Where’s the gravy? No, I do not want your zingy mango salsa you freak, I can’t believe this is happening to me, this must be a kind of nightmare, where is the gravy dammit did Gladys put you up to this? I told you you need to stop listening to fucking Gladys she’s the worst!”
There will be no jovial family conversations. Just the forlorn cry of an entire table, demanding the gravy they deserve. Instead, why don’t you just make some gravy. Put some heavy cream in there with the drippings and flour to make it even unhealthier if you want. Use the bacon grease from your bacon turkey. Throw darts at that picture of Gladys you have on your dart board. But, for the love of God, just make sure there is gravy.
There is a lot for us to hate about this entry. First of all, stuffing is probably our favorite Thanksgiving dish. When it’s done right, it’s amazing, heavy, and manages to elevate the general flavor of the turkey it was baked in to new heights. When done poorly, you have to spend the whole day listening to the person who made the stuffing go, “mew mew mew, I used vegetable broth instead of butter because it’s healthy mew mew mew whole grain bread is healthier than white bread mew mew mew I cooked it outside of the turkey so it’s vegetarian friendly mew mew mew I’ve been doing a lot of crying ever since my husband left mew mew.” That’s a worst case stuffing situation to such a degree that we wouldn’t fault you for refusing to call Mother Nature Network’s suggestion “stuffing” and instead just calling it “soggy sadness.”
The thing is, they’re halfway to an okay start for a good stuffing. Bread is at least still the staple (and cornbread could actually work!) as well as celery and mushrooms, all totally fine things to have in a stuffing. But to cut out butter entirely to replace with a low-sodium veggie broth just seems cruel. If you’re going to put broth in your stuffing, at least use chicken broth so you can tell yourself “well, I’m putting chicken broth inside a turkey, this is about as close to a turducken as I can get.” But otherwise, if you really want to amp up the deliciousness and unhealthiness of your stuffing, go nuts with some butter, put some chicken stock in there too just for shits and giggles, and, hell, why not add some white wine and pancetta? And then take all that and shove it right up inside that turkey, just as God intended. If you have a vegetarian friend coming over for dinner, you can make a side “not-baked-in-a-turkey-and-ugh-fine-no-chicken-broth-God-Gladys-is-the-worst” stuffing outside of the turkey, but really you should just re-evaluate the process in which you make friends if you’re having to deal with non-meat eaters. But otherwise, don’t you dare skimp on your stuffing. Stuffing is the best. Don’t cut corners with the best.
You shut your damn mouth. Marshmallows are amazing. This, no. Stop it.
Everyone, don’t listen to these people, they’re crazy. Put marshmallows and brown sugar on your sweet potatoes. Don’t let anyone tell you to do differently. No.
The recipe for a mashed potato dish without butter and cream basically involves mashing a root vegetable into an unyielding paste while laughing, “No one will want to eat you now, ha ha haa!” Like, hey, if you want to put garlic powder and dill in your mashed potatoes, go for it, but if you’re going to try to put “starchy potato boiling water” as a substitute for “cream and butter and things that people actually like” don’t pretend like no one’s going to notice the difference. They will notice the difference. They might be polite about it, but you’ll spot little clues that they’re not as good as the mashed potatoes you made last year using actual ingredients other than “water and potatoes.” There will definitely be fewer utterances of, “Oh my God, these mashed potatoes are so good” and a few more utterances of, “Um, huh, so is this a new recipe or?” and at the end of the meal you’ll look around and see every plate is empty save for a big old wad of mashed potatoes that went practically untouched and now you’re left with all these leftover mashed potatoes, when they used to be the first thing that would run out, and when you tried to throw them away the garbage can actually spit it back at you and said, “Um, hey, thanks, but, you know, I’m just feeling full right now.”
Do not make your garbage can spit leftover mashed potatoes at you. Cook it with heavy cream and butter and salt and pepper and if you want to put cream cheese in there fuck it, go ahead, we only live once, we might as well be full for it.
Who eats latkes as a Thanksgiving staple? Is that a thing? Like, we get that they’re good, and they’re way better than fucking grated beets, zucchini, or celery root, but…do any of you guys consider this an actual Thanksgiving side dish? We’re not judging if you do, we’d just never heard of this.
And yes, the website lists this as number 8 when it should be number 6. It’s a typo that they didn’t spot and fix, which sort of says a lot about the amount of thought that went into their article. Anyway, latkes are good. You can have those. But that feels like saying “um, bacon is a Thanksgiving side dish!” in the sense that, it totally can be, but it’s not a common one, and no matter what if you’re offering a side dish of celery root you’re going to be immolated by your guests.
On one hand, this is totally a reasonable suggestion. They’re not asking you to put anything gross with your cranberries. Cranberries with apples and pears are all good, tasty things. But let’s not forget that the reason we douse cranberries in sugar is because those motherfuckers are tart. Like, not-pleasant-to-eat-on-their-own tart And let’s not forget that there’s something just classic and American about the canned glob of cranberry sauce that you slice into jiggling discs. It’s one of those foods that’s not “better” than a healthier alternative, but if you’re going to healthy route and not buying a can of cranberry sauce, well, sorry, you’re doing Thanksgiving wrong.
Oh, very cool, very very cool, we get to go back to righteous anger after a few relatively tame entries. But yeah, you get your motherfucking hands off our goddamn green bean casserole, Gladys. They start off by saying, cloyingly, “wait, aren’t green beans already healthy? Not the way we cook them for Thanksgiving!” Well that’s the fucking point, vegetables are trash, the only vegetables you should ever eat are the frightening were-veggie variety! You don’t have to eat green beans raw because you’re an adult and you’re allowed to have your dessert before your dinner if you so want, you paid to put that food on the damn table! Green bean casseroles are one of the best dishes you can have over Thanksgiving, and that’s precisely because it is covered in enough unhealthy non-vegetable gunk to make it palatable.
If we were ever told, “green bean casserole’s coming up” only to sit down to a bunch of green beans cooked with garlic and Greek yogurt, and we’re not being dramatic here, we’d probably start crying. “But…why?” we’ll say as we poke and prod at the sad soggy stalks and mildly acidic white paste they’re swimming in. “Wh…this isn’t cream of mushroom soup,” we’ll offer with a quiver in our voice as the first lackluster scent rises to our nostrils. “Where are the damn crispy onions? Where are they you fiend!” we’ll scream, shaking uncontrollably, forsaking our God in that one faith-shattering moment.
Well guess what, congratulations, you’ve ruined Thanksgiving. The family will never recover from 2014, the Thanksgiving where someone ruined green bean casserole because Mother Nature Network told them too. Those fucking monsters. Don’t stand for that. Make your green bean casserole, and fuck it, add some cheese and bacon to it, just to show those bastards you mean business.
You know what, the first few sentences of this sound reasonable, apart from the obnoxious hand-wringing of “ermagod, pie has so many calories, we don’t get how dessert works.” Using rice flour or whole wheat for a crust isn’t something that’ll ruin a meal for you, and oil instead of lard could be fine, but probably not (when in doubt, use lard, that’s what we always say). But then they had to go and tell you to put fucking tofu in your pumpkin pie filling. TOFU? That’s the gravest injustice of all! While we’re somewhat surprised and pleased that the tofurkey hasn’t been mentioned in this article yet (motherfucking tofurkey) we cannot stand this idea. Apart from sounding just awful, it defeats the entire purpose of pie. Pie is a luxury, and a Thanksgiving necessity! Skimping on the unhealthiness of pie is like hiring out a prostitute for three hours where you complain about your wife the whole time while remaining fully clothed. Skimping on the unhealthiness of pie is like renting a yacht but not paying for gas. Skimping on the unhealthiness of pie is like having a guys/ladies weekend in Vegas, and spending the whole time in church. It’s completely contrary to everything that dessert stands for.
Don’t put tofu in your pie. Don’t take marshmallows off your sweet potatoes. Don’t listen to Gladys (ugh, Gladys) or the Mother Nature Network or anyone telling you to “go easy” or “we think you’ve had enough beers, Uncle Johnny, don’t you remember what happened last year when you started that fire” or any of that nonsense. Embrace Thanksgiving, embrace the time with your family and, most importantly, embrace your ever expanding waistlines. Tomorrow’s the day where you’re well within your rights to get a little gluttonous. And don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.