Now, calm down. The Houston Press and Eating Our Words are by no means claiming to have any kind of psychic insight into the contents of your refrigerator, and if we did, we'd tell you to go ahead and throw away that throbbing gray mass that used to be a wedge of Roquefort cheese that you've been saving for the proper occasion, because guess what, the proper occasion was when the Berlin wall came down. No, instead, we're simply examining the post-Thanksgiving contents of our own refrigerators and the fridges of those around us and betting you've got similar stuff piled up in your own. Don't believe us? Well, let's just read on and see how close we get.
(Also: no fair if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Go to another blog item. Nicholas L. Hall has one in the works in which he attempts to eat an entire raw Galapagos tortoise, so maybe go find that one.)
5. Green bean casserole We're not sure who decided that green bean casserole got to be a holiday staple, but man, we sure wish they hadn't. Every year around Thanksgiving time, every potluck or family dinner includes at least one dish of the stuff, and we go through the same process every year. Hope: "That smells really good. Also it has fried things sprinkled on top of it. Hmmm. It can't possibly be as bad as I remember." Enthusiasm: "Sure, it's green beans, but they're drowned in some kind of cream sauce. I love cream sauce. You know what, I'm starving, I'm gonna try it." Disgust: "GOD DAMN IT. It still sucks! It always sucks! Why in the hell can't I remember that this shit sucks?!" Revenge: "Gonna bring green bean casserole to my party? Hope you enjoy the triple-layer fruitcake I got at the dollar store, assholes!"
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4. Cranberry sauce Here's a little secret: nobody really, really loves cranberry sauce. You either hate it, or you're okay with it. We've never met anyone who went ga-ga over cranberry sauce, and frankly, we wouldn't want to. Yes, that is a direct classist insult to people who love cranberry sauce, and sure, you guys may be considering leaving angry comments below this article, but honestly, I don't think you have the balls. Anyway, the kids' table loves cranberry sauce out of a can because it's kind of like gelatin and it holds those cool little ridges from being in the can, but that's it. Everyone else saves the cranberry consumption for when we have kidney problems.
3. Mashed potatoes As opposed to cranberry sauce, pretty much everyone loves mashed potatoes. The problem is, it's really easy to make way too much of it. You buy four nice-sized potatoes for the mashing, remember your cousins are coming in for Thanksgiving this year and pick up two more, and then you know what, let's just make it an even ten, just to be safe. Before you realize what's happening to you, you've lost all sanity and are enlisting the younger relatives to help you bare-foot stomp all these damned potatoes in the kiddie pool like you're all working in the worst winery ever. Or a really good vodka distillery, I guess.
2. Turkey Of course. You knew it was going to make the list. The reason our ancestors ate turkey during their struggles establishing a witch-hunting theocracy was because turkeys were big, slow, and dumb enough to be outsmarted by people who thought black cats were actually powerful warlocks and that whooping cough was caused by the Devil. The bigness was key, in that it could feed an entire Puritan family of 20 for a week or until half of them died from infections caused by having dental work done with the same pick Pa used to chip the frozen pig crap off the hog-waller, whichever came first. It's really not necessary to have such a gigantic bastard bird these days, but we do it anyway, because of tradition. Ah, tradition: when you want to do something, but don't particularly care to think about why.
1. Take Out Around about Saturday or Sunday, you got sick to death of all the Thanksgiving food and wanted, no, needed something else to eat. So you wound up hitting all of your favorite restaurants in a row for two or three days straight before you were willing to even look at more godforsaken turkey. Now you've got styrofoam takeout containers piled five or six high right next to the half a turkey you still haven't eaten yet, and with a growing nauseous dread you realize: you're already sick of all food, and there's still a month left until Christmas. You are so screwed.