Hope you kids enjoyed your holiday! There’s nothing more American than giving thanks for what you have, then 8 hours later punching someone in the face over a TV. We sure do know how to be grateful! *tiptoes away from soapbox*

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The food and the shopping are now so close in competition that I’m not sure which one excites people more, but I do know that everyone eats. A lot. Thanksgiving is one of a few days when 250 million people eat the same meal: turkey, ham, stuffing (dressing if you’re from the South), deviled eggs, candied yams, mac-n-cheese, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes & gravy, pecan/pumpkin/sweet potato pie, etcetera, etcetera… And it’s usually the women of the family—even though men who cook are sexy—slinging the pots & pans. Now, friends… the most abominable thing any holiday cook can ever do is invite”guests” into the kitchen. HOLIDAYS ARE NOT THE TIME FOR BEGINNERS! It never fails that somebody brings a dish that’s under-cooked, too salty, or missing some ingredients. I blame the host/hostess for allowing such infractions, but you should observe certain decorum when figuring out what to eat & what to avoid.

#1: If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. Don’t even put it on your plate. You’re obligated to at least try it once you dig in the dish, and it gets a little weird when you try to eat unidentifiable substances. Not to mention, your family will see what’s left on your plate. You’ll most certainly get yourself caught in a lie trying to explain why you didn’t like Cousin Jane’s Corn Casserole Surprise.

#2: If you don’t know who made it, discreetly ask. Don’t disdainfully blurt it out, because Cousin Jane’s probably gonna give you the stank face for the remainder of the evening and future family gatherings, leading to other problems (to be discussed in part 2).

#3: If you don’t see anyone else eating it, follow suit. There’s no way everybody in the family got it wrong, so take notes & skip the stuff grandma didn’t want. That way, if someone gets pissed, you fall under the umbrella of offenders, and you can’t be singled out.

If these things don’t seem to work, stop for a burger, get to dinner late, scope the table out, and ask your uncle if you can make a to-go plate. Not only can you specifically pick what you want to eat, you can also taste while no one’s looking. Getting to dinner late means everyone’s already watching football & making afternoon nap preparations: no one’s still in the kitchen or at the table.

Since we’ve already passed the big day, reserve today’s tips for Christmas dinner. I’m sorry if you needed this a few days ago, and I hope you made it through the day with minimal issues. Stay tuned for part 2, because we still have a lot to talk about.