The week of Thanksgiving is a good time to pause and reflect. Such introspection helps us realize certain things.
For example, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, it is easy to realize who has used their vacation days judiciously throughout the year and who hasn’t. The office today was populated solely by schmoes like me who had used up most of their vacation days before today. On the plus side, it was very quiet, making it much easier to take a nap without being disturbed. On the minus side, there wasn’t enough ambient noise in the office to wake me up in time to go to lunch.
The quietude today enabled me to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving. The true meaning of Thanksgiving, for those of you who didn’t know, is to be the official start of the Christmas shopping season. If you go to any store on this, the Monday before Thanksgiving, looking for Thanksgiving decorations, prepare to be disappointed. Outside of a freezer full of turkeys and precarious stacks of canned cranberry sauce and Stovetop™ Stuffing, the only evidence of Thanksgiving you are likely to see are big “countdown to black Friday” signs. They might as well put up signs saying, “Thanksgiving Schmanksgiving! Prepare to give us your Christmas money!”
And just for the record, Biff loves Stovetop™ Stuffing! If I find out it’s on the menu, my eyes light up just like the kid in the commercial when he finds out his mom is making Stovetop™ Stuffing for dinner. But where me and the Kraft corporation part ways is the whole “Stovetop™ Stuffing instead of potatoes” campaign. I’m sorry, but if anyone tries to come between me and my potatoes, things are going to get unpleasant very quickly. And if you want to see Biff in a quandary, make me choose between Stovetop™ Stuffing and potatoes. You’ll see me as indecisive as the midwestern rube on the Let’s Make a Deal show dressed as a scarecrow, trying to choose between the hundred dollar bill that Monty Hall is holding and whatever’s behind the curtain that the lovely Carol Merril is standing in front of. Vegas has potatoes as the odds-on favorite, but never discount the lure of the curtain (or Stovetop™ Stuffing).
Where was I?
Oh yes … Thanksgiving.
Well, it’s nearly upon us. I will be enjoying my annual Thanksgiving – slash – family reunion in Alabama again this year. The table will be loaded to the point of collapse with fine, traditional Southern Thanksgiving foods. One of my favorites (in spite of waxing poetic about Stovetop™ Stuffing just now) is homemade cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy. I don’t know if you’ve ever had honest-to-goodness Southern giblet gravy, but it is so good as to make grown men cry. I can attest to that, being a grown man. And also having people at Thanksgiving asking me why I’m crying. To which I retort, “You shut up! I’m not crying. You’re crying!”
Giblet gravy makes Biff a little emotional.
I don’t know what exactly is in giblet gravy, but I am pretty sure I don’t want to know. Just as it makes grown men cry with sheer joy, it also makes them clutch at their chests and gurgle like a slow-draining sink while their faces turn the same shade as the canned cranberry sauce. I am pretty sure it is about 90% liquefied turkey fat, and 10% “other” (consisting of a medium onion, diced boiled egg, a few spices, and perhaps a little more turkey fat just for good measure). I have survived about 40 servings of cornbread dressing and giblet gravy in my life and people back home are starting to look at me in awe. I have already beaten the over-under and I’m not sure who has 41 servings in the betting pool, but I’m definitely going in for another serving this Thanksgiving! Wish me luck! I’m going in!
Speaking of canned cranberry sauce (which we just were … you can scan back over the article if you don’t believe me) … just what the heck is THAT? I was a little put off of the whole cranberry thing when, as a child of about 6, I was witness to a horrific event. I was in the kitchen when my aunt removed the end of the cranberry can with the can opener and then shook the can over a little white serving dish. I watched in fascination and horror as the cranberry colored cylinder slowly emerged from the can with a cringe-inducing scchhhhlllooooorrrrpp!! and plopped onto the serving dish. It jiggled for a moment and then was still. I may have turned a little green at the sight and so vowed then and there that I would not eat whatever that was, but would instead double up on the cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy. Mercifully, I did not have to witness where giblets came from or I would not be the omnivore I am today.
Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving and that you truly have much to be thankful for this year!