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Brian's Thanksgiving Rankings
As bad as Undertaker’s big sendoff was on Sunday, something far worse took place over the weekend.
I’m talking about Brian’s Thanksgiving food rankings. If you were a child around the age of 5, possibly 6, then this list would meet all the criteria for your adolescent food pyramid. I wasn’t surprised. This is 100% Brian. He’s the same person who drinks Christmas beers before Halloween.
This post wouldn’t be fun without a complete dissection of Brian’s basic food group.
Let’s begin from best to first.
Brian’s #1 – Stuffing: All you need to read based on his assessment of stuffing is “Stove Top is perfectly fine to eat.” Yes, he praises homemade stuffing but doubles downs on Stove Top later in his critique. Brian’s love for processed breadcrumbs is hardly surprising. His adoration for Stove Top immediately disqualifies his opinion of Thanksgiving. Stuffing—proper stuffing—is good but it is not number one.
Proper #1 – Turkey. Based on Brian’s thesis (Griff ranked turkey #5 on his list), he hasn’t had a properly prepared Thanksgiving turkey. Anyone who has familiarity arranging a Thanksgiving feast understands that preparing a turkey is a time-honored ritual that begins days before Thanksgiving. This involves making sure the turkey is not frozen and, more importantly, but the turkey in a brine overnight. Preparation continues as you separate the skin from the breast meat then spread a generous portion of homemade garlic butter between. You can butterfly, of course.
This commitment ensures a delicious turkey that is far from dry. You won’t need gravy. You won’t need to douse it with salt. The turkey will be the centerpiece of the meal. Trust me, I’ve prepared such turkeys only to have my turkey disciples make this meal for their own families.
Brian’s #2 – Pumpkin Pie: Once again, no surprise. Brian pole-vaults over the gravy bowl and right to the pie table. He doesn’t supply an explanation about why pumpkin pie should be #2. He just dives headfirst into that sugar-rich environment because he can’t help himself.
Pumpkin pie is a dessert. Brian probably eats Marie Callendar’s. The Thanksgiving meal should concentrate on the food that starts on the table pre-dessert.
Proper #2 – Anything with Yams/Sweet Potatoes: This runs in the face of Griffith’s complete disregard of sweet potatoes. This is his exact quote. “But any root vegetable that you have to smother in brown sugar and marshmallows to make edible should tell you that this food is terrible and you shouldn’t eat it.” Once again, Brian’s ignorance of this majestic dish runs fowl of the truth. And it also displays his Northerner tendencies.
A properly prepared sweet potato is wonderful. It just takes time. Cut it in half. Wrap it in foil. Stick in the oven for an hour. The natural sugars will surface. A tiny bit of butter accentuates this but is not required. Trust me. Maybe a packet of Splenda if you want to sweeten it a little more. That’s it. It’s fantastic.
Sure, you can have your sweet potato casserole, but prepared on its own the sweet potato provides sweetness to a Thanksgiving plate.
Brian’s #3 – Mashed Potatoes: Notice how Brian destroys the preparation of sweet potatoes above but is perfectly content with the blending of gobs of butter, heavy cream, milk, and salt with potatoes. This is the hallmark of a mashed potato hypocrite. Have your bland mashed potatoes.
Proper #3 – Dressing: No, not Stove Top. You should also know the difference between stuffing (inside the turkey) and dressing (outside the turkey). Kind of like how Griff can’t tell the difference between his TEVAs and Columbias.
Anyway, a dressing prepared with more than Stove Top breadcrumbs is a perfect compliment to turkey. While the turkey generally imparts one to two flavors with a little bit of salt, the dressing can provide a range of spices. Sometimes you can incorporate apples and other vegetables that don’t find their way to Griff’s plate. I personally make turkey sausage dressing. It’s wonderful and takes more time than dumping a aluminum foil bag of stale breadcrumbs into a mixing bowl.
Brian’s #4 – Gravy: At this point, Brian is staring at a mountain of ultra-dry Stove Top and a heaping of mashed potatoes. The pumpkin pie has already been dispensed with. So, where does Brian go? Gravy. He needs something to douse his flavorless bounty with gravy to impart some semblance of flavor. With so many other foods to choose from Griff goes to correcting his starch-laden mistake.
But wait, there’s more. Griff continues, “While gravy out of a jar is fine in an emergency…” There should be no emergency with Thanksgiving dinner. None at all. There are no emergencies. There are no pre-packed foods. Thanksgiving dinner is a ritual. The ritual is part of the meal.
You made the damned turkey. Just take the juices from the turkey and blend it with a little bit of flour. That’s how I know Brian doesn’t have a clue when it comes to the kitchen. And on Thanksgiving? A man’s man should be in that kitchen, captaining the preparation of this meal for his family.
Proper #4-6 – The Vegetables: It’s impossible to rank the vegetables. I’m talking about kale with bacon, green bean casserole, and sauerkraut with sausage. Like a well-refined army of nutrients, the aforementioned work in tandem to round out a real Thanksgiving plate. It also gives you an excuse to go back for seconds without a repeat. Who doesn’t like options?
Brian’s #5 – Turkey (finally): “Turkey in and of itself is ok. It’s not great. It’s often dry. You usually have to smother it in gravy for the full effect.” See my comment about turkey above.
Brian’s #6 – Brown & Serve Roll: Again, pre-prepared bread-like product. Speaking of bread-like product, Brian’s Thanksgiving plate is a sea of brown at this point.
Brian’s #7 – Real Cranberry Sauce: Finally, some color on his plate. Of course it’s the color of blood because he’s already murdered any redeeming possibility of his Thanksgiving dinner.
Proper #7 – Homemade Cornbread: Made the right way—the Southerner way—this can provide a hint of sweetness to the plate as well. It’s also a great starter.
Brian’s #8 – Corn: “The corn is always used to top the mashed potatoes.” And thus we stop exploring the mind of a five-year-old
Ladies and Gents, that’s all the time I have this week. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy it with your family and friends.