On the Appropriate Form and Naturally Correct Method of Enacting The Feast of the Thanksgiving


Dr. Horace S. Browntrout

Dear Friends, Thanksgiving is a Covent Garden theatre production of epic proportions, and no less important. Every act must be perfectly executed, every prop must consist of the finest materials. Every actor must know their mark, their role — and indeed the limitations of their role — their dialogue as well as the entire script if the Production is to be a successful one. There must be the harried chef, the fussy friend, the drunk uncle, the ingrate, the sanguine sister, the doddering, wizened and cantankerous cousins and their unruly spawn, the cracked curmudgeon, and the self-absorbed simpleton simmering with singular simian stories.

There is to be no improvisation allowed, for each element of the Production serves a vital function, and if each person were to perform their role ad libitum, a single atonal note could cause disarray and discord to be the result.

First, let us consider the matter of the victuals themselves. These are the raw materials from which we, the people, draw thankful succor, the caloric substance that will comprise our basal metabolic rates and the continued performance of certain organs and their attendant support systems. Indeed, gratitude is a higher-order cognitive function as is the ability to cogitate itself. In order that gratitude, be achieved one must have the benefit of lipids, tryptophan, and other amino acids. Indeed, nothing is so sublime than meditating on the denaturing of quaternary-structured proteins and considering them as one would a sphere of twine slowly disentangling from its threads by the Hand of Fate — one of the Fates at any rate — as it transmogrifies from an inert and inedible substance to that which can provision a body with thoughts that can pause to understand the firmament of time and the indelible forces that etch their names upon our naked, purified souls.

In any Feast of the Thanksgiving there are seven core elements that act in concert, mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, baked yams, and cranberry sauce. These seven elements are like points of a star. They are the Inner Sanctum of the Thanksgiving. These seven elements are the original pantheon of gods on Mount Socially Sanctioned Gluttony. They are fixed points, as unchanging as the Earth itself. Not only must they be present at each Feast of the Thanksgiving, their constituent parts must never vary. Think carefully of our friend the potato, and how just one of these nutrient-Edens can feed a family of twelve, so long as it hasn’t been killed off by a wicked weevil or some other malicious animalcule. The potato is the shape-shifter of the vegetable world. It may be fried, sliced, smashed, poached, grilled, baked, boiled, parched, peached, poked, prodded, dehydrated, dilled, dipped, or chopped, and yet there is but one correct method of creating this famine-proof viscera liner on the Day of Thanksgiving: mashed. It must be boiled, drained, mashed, with salt, butter, and milk-like liquid product added to dampen it. It must be made moist, like a woman awaiting her lover’s kiss, but not sodden, like a soiled sponge lost in the rain without an umbrella, or a ponderous, rotund saturnine gentleman with edematous limbs due to sluggish lymphatic tissue. Stuffing must always include bread crumbs, broth, diced celery and onion. Green bean casserole must always be made with the freshest cream of mushroom soup available, coarse-cut fresh onions, garlic, French-cut green beans, and French-fried onion bits as a topping. The turkey must be a real turkey, not the monstrosity known as a “turducken,” (banned!). One must never defile a turkey by placing another whole fowl in its behind, even after it is deceased. On the manner of turkey preparation, carving, and presentation, you already know the proper methods and I shall not belabor the reader with their reiteration here.

Cranberry sauce must be refined to a fine jelly that one can readily consume even if one had no mouth, but simply a straw-like proboscis like a house fly or a wood tick. Consider those unfortunates that suffer from poverty of teeth and note their lonesome moanings. The aforenoted jelly must bear the ribbed imprint of its zinc-lined cannister. It must be removed from its cannister using a series of percussive “thumps” to its posterior end using the fleshy part of one’s palm. The entire, cylindrical mass should be birthed from the cannister in one motion and it should retain this form on your silver plate. Here, take a moment to remove your hat, bow your head and give thanks to God or some other deity of choice, not otherwise specified. Behold this sacred objet d’art. Observe how light enters it from one side and then exits, creating an amber-tinted glow. Like a many-faceted diamond in the rough, the unhewn canned cranberry log holds stories and delights as old as time. Find, if you will, its “voice.” Do not dare touch it until you can transcribe the words of the angel choirs that sing its odes! When you are ready, take a deep breath, for you must resign yourself to making an injury to the flesh of perfection. Next, grasp a sharp, sterile instrument and make a lateral, transverse incision perpendicular to the jelly body 20 millimeters inferior to the cephalic terminus. The incision should proceed from the lateral to the medial portion of the jelly body until the entire body has been bisected completely. Repeat the incision until the caudal terminus is reached. This tissue should be firm, yet globular and gelatinous, and it should easily yield to your surgical knife. Each layer will demonstrate a bit of wobble and sag as it is removed from the larger portion of the jelly body. Some degree of ptosis of the jelly is normal, and the novice clinician should not be alarmed by this observation. Once the jelly body has been completely processed in the previously described manner, it is now ready to be served.

Many foods in the Grand Production may take a turn at auditions. Many may even earn a hard-won, tentative place at the edge of the table, but no new members can ever be admitted to the Inner Circle. Replacements equal defilements and additions are subtractions — unless they are relegated to their proper, subordinate stations. One may welcome creamed corn, that humble, hard-working, plainspoken American fruit of the soil and sauce of the cow. If creamed corn appears, tattered hat in hand, crooked smile on its trembling lips, lowered eyes peering respectfully away from Her Majesty Meleagris gallopavo, fingerless gloves shivering as they clutch your door, do invite it to stand — not sit — at the edge of your table. Squash is another old friend and neighbor to the maize d’cremes. Served with butter and browned sugar, that refined kiss of the cane, it too, should be allowed a peripheral place at your ensemble of glory. Pumpkin and apple pie, should they decide to grace your presence, must be warm, served a’ la mode if any of your guests do not bear grudges against lactose. They are the sweets that our forebears set before us, and they serve important digestive functions by hastening the exit of unwanted extra calories. In this way, they tidy our flesh temples in readiness for Judgement. Additionally, wheat rolls, those milled and ground Children of the Grain, must be allowed to bathe in the holy waters of commingled mashed potatoes and gravy, for this is a baptism of the Buds of Taste. But what of rabble like chunky, unseemly “homestyle” cranberry sauce, all tarted up from its Bog of Ill Fame? What of fruit “salad” and its tawdry, voluptuary beckonings? What of the slippery bivalve that hails from the gutters of the abysmal depths? Nay, one must never admit “Slick Silas” the Craven Clam to dinner at this feast unless forced by dint of dire necessity. Ultimately, while many may seek a place beside your Horn of Plenty, only a select few are preordained to blow it, and thus receive salvation from their heathen origins.

Whilst gratitude is a tertiary consideration of the Feast of the Thanksgiving, it is not wholly inappropriate for the host to compose some lines that add gravitas and evoke the grim solemnity of a typical, upstanding familial assemblage. Suggested topics include the importance of piety, the consequences of disobedience, a recitation of the diseases that no one at the table suffers from, the airing of unresolved grievances between both consanguineal and affinal relations, or an invocation to the Almighty to have mercy on any unsaved, damned souls present — and to provision said souls with an adequate supply of body butter or coconut oil with an SPF of 30 or higher for their one-way sojourn to the halls of Hades. Whatever one’s words, do make sure that they contribute to a funereal and austere atmosphere suitable to the occasion, and contain none of the impish frivolity marked by the undignified, impulsive and dysregulated lower classes. If any toast is to be made, cudgel anyone seen pouring libations to fallen idols, golden calves, or demonic demiurges. Be sure that the Almighty and the British Empire receive the bulk of your lionization, and that no indignant fiend quaffs their fermented grape squeezings until the termination of your circumlocutions — AND a lengthy, silent pause followed by the ominous tolling of a bell — even if they are parched and on the verge of death.

Many roads lead to the Promised Land of Venerated Yet Obscene Consumption. Many other roads are but dead-end paths or worse yet — will take you directly to perdition’s flames. Fly not, to the place of brimstone and conflagration! Heed ye, my warnings. Harken to my good news of salvation! Follow the Seven Points Star. Let its light guide you to the Table of Life, and check ye carefully its table of contents. While one may cook a turkey in manifold ways, one must always arrive at the same or roughly similar place or failure is the result, and death and ignobility, the final harvest.

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Care to read a hilarious account of Theodore Roosevelt hunting Bigfoot? Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Squabble-Titans-Recollections-Roosevelt-Rainforest/dp/B097X4R4LN




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