Don’t take that title too seriously. I am thankful for all the good things in my life. I have a wonderful family (certain not-so-immediate members excluded), good health other than a bit of arthritis, financial security, and live in a great neighborhood with many cultural advantages and superb weather. My kids and grandkids all seem to have a bright future. I have nothing against gathering with family and friends and celebrating. My humbug refers only to the meal.
The main problem is too many people and too many dishes. First you seat eight or ten people. I’ve been at some where the number is as high as fifteen. Then the dishes: turkey white meat, turkey dark meat, stuffing A, stuffing B, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, jellied cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, green salad, rolls, butter, peas, roast vegetables, fruit salad, wine, water, sparkling cider. Inevitably somebody starts passing things the wrong direction. Some things just get waylaid and don’t make it all the way around. It takes ten minutes (if you’re lucky) to get all the food passed around. Then there’s grace to be said and then a prayer or minute of remembrance – another three to five minutes gone. Some celebrations I’ve been at require each of the dozen or so people to recite what they’re thankful for. So fifteen minutes after the food has landed on your plate, you’re entitled to begin eating it. By then it’s cold. Cold mashed potatoes and coagulated gravy. Yum.
Then there’s the food itself. There’s almost nothing I like until the pies come out. I can’t stand stuffing or the cranberry relish or sauce with the whole berries. Cold turkey white meat makes good sandwiches because you can slather something with flavor on the bread like mayonnaise or peanut butter (both in my case) but the meat itself is tasteless and unappealing, especially when sitting cold on a plate. The dark meat has a detectable flavor, but it’s not particularly good. I dislike sweet potato. If someone brings Brussels sprouts, those won’t hit my plate. The salads are okay and the peas and roast vegetables would be, too, if hot, but not cold. I usually eat a buttered roll, a few bites of the salads and pick at some turkey until it’s time for dessert and that’s it. I’m still hungry at the end of the meal proper. I don’t understand all the jokes about people being stuffed and sleepy with tryptophan. But I make up for it with the pies. I’m shameless about grabbing a big piece of pumpkin and a big mince or berry or apple wedge, whatever’s there. At least two pieces. And lots of whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.