Thanksgiving Day Open Thread

Thanksgiving Day Open Thread November 22, 2012

Okay, here’s the place to recount all the cool or horrifying stories of your turkey day. Family fights? Awkward moments? Tears of joy? Major injuries? Give us the scoop.

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  • matty1

    I would like to thank the American people for celebrating the eve of my birthday. Seriously I only visited your country once for under 24 hours and yet you do this.

  • You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant (exceptin’ Alice.)

  • Better late then never eh? ;p

  • leni

    So I’m cooking my first turkey breast right now. I’ll be back with disaster details in about 2 hours.

    Any cooks in the house? The recipe I’m following said to wrap it in foil for ~30 minutes, then cook uncovered @ 325 ~1.5 hours. I’ll be adding broth to the pan as it cooks and there are some veggies in the bottom of the pan to help retain moisture, but that foiling for only 30 mins just seems wrong. Does that sound wrong?

    (I brined it as well, so hopefully that will help keep it from drying out…)

  • Reginald Selkirk

    All quiet on the western front.

  • jenny6833a

    For us, it’s gonna be Campbell’s Red Label soup, tuna sandwiches, and ice cream with butterscotch sauce. That’s ’cause I’ve awarded myself four votes.

    Then the kids will watch football while me and hub … uh … retire to … uh … give thanks.

  • jimnorth

    We started a new tradition last year. In rural Iowa, a burn pile is a necessity. However, we don’t often get calm days in which to turn our trash into ash. Last turkey day was perfrect; not a breeze in sight. So with one match I began a small burn. After about the third trip into the house to gather up burnables my wife wanted to know why the swamp maple next to our house was smoking. Apparently the hollow in the trunk of the tree was full of dry dry leaves and other burnable detritous. We decided to call the fire department who proceeded to empty their largest tanker truck onto the blaze (we don’t live near a fire hydrant). During the dousing a nesting raccoon ran up the tree from his once safe hidey-hole. The firemen sprayed the critter and encouraged him to take to the neighboring corn field. So if you see a singed-tailess bandit running around, be thankful that our house didn’t burn to the ground.

  • Sastra

    We’re having Thanksgiving here on Sunday, so today my husband and I are going to a damn expensive but incredibly good buffet at a fine local restaurant.

    I love Thanksgiving, and claim it as humanist. Theists, on the other hand, often accuse atheists of having no reason to celebrate Thanksgiving: it is a religious holiday based on giving thanks to God. Who do we thank?

    Well, in addition to thanking a lot of human beings (don’t they count?), feelings of appreciation and gratitude don’t need to be framed in terms of a relationship. You can appreciate a fine warm November day (63 degrees in Wisconsin!) without having to believe someone literally GAVE it to you on purpose, so you need to say an actual “thank you.”

    I say metaphorical and whimsical “thank yous” to nature, and real ones to people. Thank you, Ed and other commenters, for another fine year.

  • uzza

    We have A href=””>LOTS to give thanks to.

  • uzza

    *html code is not one of them >;-(


  • twincats

    Leni @4: I believe that the wrapping in foil comes after the cooking in order to facilitate the removal of the cotton netting (if you’re using one of those prepackaged breast roasts.) Just putting a tight lid on the roasting pan for the same amount of time works just as well.

    I roasted mine yesterday after marinating it in some olive oil, white wine, white balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper for three hours. It’s delish! Can’t do that with a 22 pound bird, eh?

    But I really just wanted to bitch about having to work the black Friday sales tomorrow 🙁

    Having to get up at oh-dark-thirty to work in the chaos I’d never willingly participate in otherwise kind of puts a downer on my Thanksgiving (or Big Chicken Day as a friend calls it.)

    But I’m thankful to have the job, anyhow. Sigh.

  • Oh, you know. Obnoxious nephew being obnoxious, and everyone yelling at obnoxious nephew for being obnoxious. Again. Throw in some yelling at dog who is untrained because they don’t know how, and so thus let’s just yell at the dog again for the 30th time in a row because eventually he’ll just start understanding, right?

  • Hayden

    I told my parents that I was going to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving. Instead, I flew home, let myself in while they were asleep and surprised my dad at the kitchen table as he was eating breakfast.

    For some reason the video turned out blurry.

  • weaver

    Turkey is in the oven, family is here – as is a Norwegian Army friend I served with in Afghanistan, when I was liaison between my US Army unit and his.

    Already a great day, and haven’t started in on the bird yet.

  • F


  • Olav

    Oh, Americans having their Turkey Day today?

    Don’t eat & drink too much. Or do eat & drink too much, if you usually don’t. Whatever. Have fun 😉

  • lancifer


    You are too modest. Your visit to our country remains an inspiration to me and all other Americans.

    My wife is busily preparing our Matty Day Turkey as I type.

  • With irregular shaped roasts like a turkey breast, you run into the problem of uneven cooking. The point of the foil is to keep too much water from evaporating, thus drying it out, before the meat has reached a reasonably consistent temperature in the thick and thin parts. After about half an hour, you can remove the foil and let it roast normally.

  • leni

    @ Gregory- that’s what I thought, but 30 mins just seemed too short. Anyway, I followed the recipe, turkey is cooling now, golden brown delightfully juicy!

    I can’t believe I didn’t ruin it!

    When I made the brine I accidentally added too much rosemary (cap fell off and like half the bottle dumped in), but damn if it isn’t a fine, fine rosemary infused turkey now.

    Here’s to delicious food… and brandy infused iced coffee!

    @twincats, you should read Mano’s Thanksgiving post, there is a very gratifying rant about Black Friday I think you’ll enjoy 😉

  • John Hinkle

    Some years back when my wife and I used to host our families, we had the usual suspects at the table of 9, my 2 retarded brothers and mentally ill sister, my folks, and her folks. House cleaning was at least 1.5 days, food prep 3 days in advance, clean up another day or two (we have a dishwasher and his name is John). My wife and I made everything from scratch; she’d make a brussels sprouts casserole and onion dish (lots of cream, butter and garlic), I’d make a stuffing with dried apricots, fresh apples, thyme, sage, spiced sausage, olive oil, etc., mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade gravy with mushrooms… The families would basically sit around while we served them. My back was cashed after all that work.

    One year, my annoying mother in-law was sputtering on and on about something, moving the physical pain into the mental realm for me. She’d get so worked up she would spit out phrases like “let me tell you” and “well I uh uh uh” and “I just wanna say”, and it took her forever to get to the point. At some point in her pointlessness, my older brother looked up from his food and said, like Porky Pig, “Uhbadee uhbadee uhbadee that’s all folks.”

    I was still laughing days later.

  • bcreason

    My teenaged Son was tasked to give the Thanksgiving day prayer. Him and I are non believers but we were still in the closet. Luckily he had a few days warning and had time to prepare one. Come the big day he launched into this long eloquent speech, thanking the farmers, the grocers, the scientists, etc. Not once did he mention God. When he was done the family spoke as one “Amen!” and we went on to eat with no one the wiser. Me, I could hardly restrain the laughter that the family said Amen to a godless prayer.

  • cope

    No drama, fights, insults, pouting or drunken outbursts (so far), sorry.

    We ditched the family and came to Sanibel Island. Bought two delicious (no, really) $10 turkey dinners (three sides and a dinner roll included) at Bailey’s (“Where Sanibel Shops…Since 1899”), ate one and spent up to now shelling on the beach.

    Cocktail time now, then the other dinner later on after catching the sunset over The Gulf and watching for dolphins.

    Tomorrow: rinse and repeat (with a trip to Ding Darling to take pictures of birds…I’m looking at YOU, roseate spoonbills).

    To me, the best way to say thanks is to take advantage of the wonders available to us. I hope everybody else has as wonderful a day.

  • nohellbelowus

    Decided to forgo celebrating the slaughter of Native Americans with devoutly Catholic parents and “brothers” who keep shrieking “ATHEISM IS A RELIGION, TOO!!!

    Much quieter here at Starbucks.

    A turkey dinner is definitely on the schedule, however, with my diplegic friend (former Mormon, almost-atheist… I’ll keep working on him) in Berkeley later tonight.

    Cheers, Ed!

  • blehdude

    my son just underwent surgery and i thanked the p.a. and mentioned that i was thankful for the technology that allowed this to happen and also i’m thankful that i live in this country.

    moron had to ruin it by saying that god blessed my family. sheesh.

  • Maureen Brian

    Gregory in Seattle,

    Ian McMillan found Alice in this rather neat radio programme –


  • gorgias

    Well, our Thanksgiving is several different levels of awkward. In addition to it being the first Thanksgiving since my father passed away, my siblings and I now have to keep our mom’s spirits up while simultaneously keeping her blissfully unaware that we’ve all become atheists/agnostics. Which won’t be easy, since she’s inviting 4 other people from her church to dinner with us. Her very conservative church that we’ve all privately sworn never to enter again for our own sanity.

    Cthulhu help us all. Preferably by waking up early and devouring the world.

  • Lithified Detritus

    Had Thanksgiving dinner at the nursing home where my mother-in-law lives.

    I am very thankful for the good people who work hard all year to care for our loved ones when they can no longer care for themselves, and who worked today when most of us were spending time with our families.

    I am also grateful for Medicaid, which is now covering her, since her life savings are long gone.

  • @Maureen Brian #25 – That is excellent. The clip I linked above is from the Reprise album, which came out 25(?) years after the original. This version is a bit longer, and explains just how a single song — coincidentally 18 minutes and 20 seconds long — can change the course of national events.

  • some bastard on the net

    Lot’s of food and hilarious jokes (many at the expense of one or more family members). Sadly, no alcohol (mostly Mormon family and all).

    Now we’re just killing time with a game of dominoes before a bunch of people head out to the Loony Sales (which I will not attend).

  • Seen on Facebook: “This year, I am thankful that I will never have to say President Romney.”

  • carlie

    Gregory – one of our local radio stations plays the full version every Thanksgiving.

  • I had a surprisingly mellow Thanksgiving. Made more mellow by the gift of home made caramel flavored Kahlua. I am right now drinking some with cream and a splash of cafe de olla. Cheers!

  • I was at a very good friend’s house with his wife, his sister and her pal–who seems like a vast improvement over her former husband–and his sister’s daughter.

    Six people v a 22 pound turkey with all the extras–no contest, the food won. I brought home a weeks worth of leftovers and about half of the chocolate walnut torte with raspberry glaze and chocolate ganache. Oh, yeah, it also had orange flavored whipped cream with a dash of Asbach Uralt brandy.

    The recipe for my new, traditional, Thanksgiving dish, RacPosUnk–a competitor with TurDucKen which takes advantage of “under utilized species”–may be found at my place (

  • Stacey C.

    Well my husband had to resign from his job yesterday due to health issues and we couldn’t go to the thanksgiving dinner at his parent’s house because he worried the drive would be too stressful and he might have an attack away from home. BUT I am super grateful because he’s on my health insurance so the fact that he’s seeing so many doctors won’t drive us into the poor house. And my parents are planning a make-up thanksgiving meal for me. (His issues are gastrointestinal so he wasn’t worried about missing dinner.) And the doctors are 99.9% sure its not cancer. Oh and I also have a broken foot. We’ve started referring to our place as the “house of broken”. But otherwise everything is good!

  • Akira MacKenzie

    This year was a bit of a downer: I had run out of Prilosec late last week and I didn’t have the money to buy a new package. My GURD decided to act up so I spent most of the day trying to keep down the burning effluvia that washed around my stomach and would occasionally shoot up my esophagus. Antacids and milk were of little use. I took a Prilosec in the morning hopes that it would kick in time for dinner. No luck.

    Dinner was good, especially since it gave my stomach acid something to eat other than my innards, at least for a while. My father, his brother, their best friend and his lady friend, retired to living room to complain about Obama, “the takers,” legalized pot, and the evil homosexual/transgender menace. I went upstairs so I wouldn’t have to hear their uninformed stupidity, get angry and say something, and be thrown out of the house by my father for daring to challenge his politics.

    Oh well. I’m going to sit up and watch MST3K reruns on Netflix.

  • HazyJay

    My family has several offshoots and splinters. The various crazy parents and (ex)step-parents get to use their emotional blackmail and dirty tricks to try and force my siblings to their drama filled and booze fueled ‘celebrations’ today. Tomorrow the sane ones get together and laugh and/or commiserate about the events of today over the huge piles of food that I really enjoy making. This is my favorite holiday.

  • cactusren

    My boyfriend had to work today, and will be back at work for Black Friday tomorrow. I stayed home to make a nice little turkey (breast) dinner, with stuffed seitan for him as he’s vegan (yeah, the turkey breast is a bit excessive for one, but I like having leftovers). When the bf got off work, he called to see if we had enough food for a third person (of course we did!), as the friends of one of his coworkers had changed plans at the last minute, leaving her on her own. She apparantly had said she would just go home and have ramen for dinner. Instead, I got to meet a new friend over turkey dinner, and watch the Redskins beat the Cowboys. Quite a nice day on the whole.

  • scorinth

    My boyfriend and I are both horribly sick and have been since Monday night. With no health insurance, we’ve been relying on each other for as much comfort as we can find, hoping to beat the illness without the help of a doctor. During a particularly bad fever scare last night, I held his hand while he endured the most uncomfortable lukewarm bath he’s ever had.

    Today, I don’t have my health and I didn’t have a fancy dinner, but I have him, and that’s all I need.

  • dingojack

    sheesh – I was gonna complain about the special treat I got on my birthday* yesterday, but it was really nothing after all.

    Goodnight and good-luck all.



    * I got to bury a large and very deceased possum. O let joy be unbounded! RIP P.O.P. (poor ol’ poss). 🙂

    John Hinkle – thanks, improved my mood no end.

    I, personally, would have gone all John Cleese: ‘You Americans! You talk, and you talk, AND YOU TALK. You say “I just wanna say…” and “Let me you this…”. Well you’re dead now, SO SHUT UP!’

    (Anyone order the salmon mousse?)

  • Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare

    Family member sent around one of those FaceBook poster-photo sets–

    Picture 1: the family around the table, heads bowed: “Thank you, Jesus, for this food…”

    Picture 2: Mexican farm worker with arm full of produce: “De nada.”

    Most of the big items on our table came from either local -or our own – efforts. A South Dakota wild turkey my spouse shot. Sweet potatoes, celery, greens, squash, and apples all from local farm stands.

    Most of the rest came from our local “seconds” grocery–a store that sells overstock items. I am not exactly sure how to classify such stores and purchases–it sure saves us $$$, and prevents waste, but it’s still industrial food-oriented.

  • dingojack:

    Were it not for the ruinous freight costs I would say send that marsupial my way, post haste. As is, you have one of the three (and one of the harder to obtain) prime ingredients of RacPosUnk. Considering your locale you might consider using a wallaby for the outermost layer and, I’m just spitballin’ here, a juicy little duckbilled platypus for the “centerpiece”. You would have to change the name to WalPosPus but the preparation would be pretty much the same*.

    I’m assuming that your area is well stocked with a local species of “Crazy Uncle Lem”.

  • dingojack

    Demo – You’d have to go to Hobbiton* for that one. Possums are a feral pest there, so they happily shoot them and make them into fine socks and hats (very warm they are too. I’d recommend them).

    Have a nice post-turkey snooze in front of the TV for me.

    🙂 Dingo


    * New Zealand, Dan, New Zealand.

  • Michael Heath

    Held captive at the Thanksgiving dinner table we were each asked to share what we where thankful for I heard the following prior to it being my turn (I was last).

    I learned that the U.S. is exceptional because it’s the sole country that provides shelter and food to the least fortunate. [By someone who always votes for candidates who oppose such programs.]

    I was asked by another person to empathize with the Israelis threatened by air strikes from the Gaza strip, without any consideration that the Palestinians have long-suffered far worse from this conflict. That includes this last conflict where about 60 to 100 Palestinian civilians died to the Israeli 4. [1]

    I learned that our savior loves us, as if that same savior doesn’t intend to inflict unimaginable pain for all on eternity if we don’t slavishly and childishly submit to him; and in spite of never revealing either his existence or nature.

    Prominently featured propaganda was David Horowitz’s Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution. Previous visits in the past few months featured David Barton’s Original Intent and Ben Stein’s Exposed: No Intelligence Allowed.

    The only liberal Christian at the table thanked another person for helping them in a time of great need. One politically conservative Christian (though not theologically conservative), did the same.

    Based on prior experience I well understood that to offer a contrary view to that shared by politically and theologically conservative Christians, I would have been to blame for ruining Thanksgiving. So as I’ve almost always done at such events, I kept my mouth shut. So I’m grateful Ed provides a forum to vent.


  • Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    I actually had an extremely pleasant surprise yesterday.

    My father is as staunch a bible-believin’ Jesus-lovin’ conservative as you might find, of the Glenn Beck variety. For years my mother (who generally stays quiet on these issues) has at least supported him on them. I discovered yesterday that despite her occasional spoken support for his views, she has actually been secretly voting a straight democratic ticket for years, and that she finds most republican politicians downright repulsive in their views on women.

    Will wonders never cease?

  • My father took the wheel of a large SUV containing my mother, myself, my brother and sister-and-law, and their two daughters, and drove for a few hours to a small church on the Kansas/Nebraska state line in whose basement we celebrated Thanksgiving with a significant-but-dwindling chunk of the family produced amongst my father and his five siblings (two siblings absent– alive and well, but absent). Then after a walk through the church graveyard which contains the graves of my grandparents on that side as well as those of many other more distant relatives, we climbed back in the car and drove another few hours back to my parents’ house, where Thanksgiving continues over the weekend.

    We’ve been playing a lot of games. We’re a very game-playing family. Countless games of Guess Who? were played in the car, with the handicap of having to pretend to be a person recognizable by someone in their 60’s and someone not yet in double digits. Being a real person was not a requirement, so many rounds were fictional. One of the questions asked to determine character was “Would Mom invite you to dinner?” Examples of people Mom would invite to dinner: Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mitt Romney (according to my brother), Yoda, Indiana Jones, Mary (mother of Jesus), Hermione. People Mom would not invite to dinner: the Grinch, the Wicked Witch of the East, Darth Vader, Mitt Romney (according to my mom).

  • gmacs

    Spent it with my girlfriend and her extended family. Fantastic food and really nice people. It was really great except for the car ride back to her parents’ place when the weather was crappy. Also, John Lennon’s Christmas song (which I like) came on the radio and her dad, who never married past 13, changed the channel saying it’s too “hypocritical” for him to hear an atheist wish “merry Christmas”. He doesn’t seem to realize that it is, in fact, a secular holiday (sort of) that was essentially snagged by christianity.

    My girlfriend and I have started ring shopping, so my atheism it’s something he’ll have to find out about and deal with. It does, however, mean more of her family’s fantastic cooking.

  • Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Examples of people Mom would invite to dinner: …Mitt Romney (according to my brother)…

    People Mom would not invite to dinner: …Romney (according to my mom).

    It sounds like your family really gets Mitt Romney.

  • Olav

    Michael Heath #43, you have my sympathies. That sounds horrible. Myself, I would have rather stayed at home with a good book and even better bottle of wine & Cuban cigar.

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