It Could Be Worse (or, Tales from the Dark Side of Thanksgiving - and the Moon)
You might secretly be dreading tonight's festivities: the dry turkey, lumpy gravy, wacky dressing, and panoply of oddly-assorted sides; the mindless mayhem playing itself out on the TV, whether it's guys crashing into each other on the football field or balloons knocking lampposts onto hapless spectators at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; and the inevitable, you-can-almost-set-your-clock-by-it family discord.
But it could be worse. You could be an astronaut, sharing six specially prepared Thanksgiving day meals among ten crew members on the space shuttle Endeavor. The irradiated, freeze-dried, vacuum-packed repasts feature smoked turkey that "resembles deli meat...left in the refrigerator a week past its expiration date"; the candied yams "dissolved into blandness in the middle"; the green beans with mushrooms "tasted like they have been frozen and then microwaved to an inch [sic] of their life [sic again - pass the sic bag, please]."
Doesn't sound too great. One advantage: the astronauts don't have to sit with each other at a table. They can float around the room: in fact, they have to. The food pouches attach to the astronauts' suits with Velcro.
But it gets worse. Famed food writer Regina Schrambling feels like she has to share something with the world: food writers HATE Thanksgiving!
At least, she does. "Every fall, writers and editors have to knock themselves out to come up with a gimmick...when the meal essentially has to stay the same. It's like redrawing the Kama Sutra when readers really only care about the missionary position."
But, Regina, how else would we have ever learned about brining our turkey? I personally love hearing the world reciting their entire feast in excruciating detail the day after: there are so many variations, so many subtle differentiations possible. Remember the guy who could predict what part of the country you lived in or where your family came from once he heard your menu? (Google apparently doesn't.)
Even in the stripped-down, "classic" meal Regina defiantly announces she is going to prepare, ignoring "everything I wrote" -- "I make my stuffing as usual, roast my turkey as always, whisk up the same pan gravy, peel and mash potatoes..." -- she throws in pumpkin-thyme dinner rolls (say what?) and sweet-potato pecan pie.
Without, of course, including the recipes.
It's like alluding to exciting new positions without redrawing the Kama Sutra.