No Thanks to Some Traditions

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Thanksgiving is one of America’s most sacred traditions, and because of that, Americans are hesitant to look at it with too much of a critical eye. But if we’re honest with ourselves, there’s a lot about the holiday that could be improved.

I’d say half of it should be saved, and half of it should be thrown in the trash like Aunt Patty’s leftover macaroni and cheese the second her car backs out of the driveway. Let’s look at some Thanksgiving traditions and figure out if they’re overrated, underrated or properly rated.


I’m rating this as highly overrated and a terrible idea.

You know how most Thanksgivings have a kids table and an adults table? That’s a good start, but we didn’t go far enough.

Think about how much tension and arguing would be solved if you had a different table for each generation. Gen Z could discuss Billie Eilish and septum piercings, millennials could sit together and talk about student loans and open marriages, and the Boomers could huddle up and agree that global warming is a hoax and that music used to be much, much better.

This seating arrangement would make Thanksgiving 99% less unpleasant.


Pumpkin pie is one of the most underrated things on earth. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s creamy, there’s buttery pastry involved. It’s arguably the greatest dessert, and yet, we eat it only once a year. It makes no sense. They’re everywhere you look for, two weeks a year, and the other 50 weeks, you can’t buy a pumpkin pie for $500 cash.

Pumpkin pie should be a daily or weekly indulgence, not an annual one. I’m chalking pumpkin pie scarcity up to some weird anti-enjoyment Puritan thing.


I’m just going to say what everyone knows is true in their heart: turkey tastes like chicken that’s been boiled in tap water for 12 hours. It’s disgusting. It tastes like a new pair of white socks.

You ever take a handful of snow and eat it? Turkey tastes like that, but hot.

You know why Pilgrims ate turkey? They were starving, malnourished, and freezing to death in the woods, and the turkey was the dumbest, slowest prey.  That’s it, that’s the only reason. We can do better in 2019.


Stuffing is just hot wet bread. It’s not at the top of anyone’s list of favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and yet most of us would be mad if there was no stuffing.

And I have to admit, if you gave me a choice between hot, wet bread and cold, dry bread, I’m probably taking the former every time. I think stuffing is properly rated.


Highly overrated. “Taking a walk” right before dinner, i.e. getting high with your cousins in the alley, always seems like a good idea, and yes, that first bite of mashed potatoes and gravy is orgasmic, but within a minute, you’re like, “Oh my God, they know. THEY KNOW!” Even though they probably don’t know.

And then the next 40 minutes is just a nonstop whirlwind of thoughts like, “My parents didn’t actually choose to love me, they were just compelled by an instinct that millions of years of evolution imprinted in their DNA,” and “What if turkeys have souls? Does that make us all complicit in mass murder?”

It’s not a good time. It’s a bad time.


Dishes like green bean casserole topped with Funyuns and Cool Whip-based “salads” might be kinda tacky, yes, but they’re also not boring.

And as American palates have become more sophisticated, the minimalist, Instagram-ready Thanksgiving dinners that swaths of upper-middle-class America roll out each year have gotten eye-rollingly homogenous. The no-sugar-added whole cranberry sauce, the kale and quinoa salads, the modestly-glazed poultry — it’s just a big yawn.

I’d much prefer something made with a Jell-O mold, or that involved a can of cream of mushroom soup. Especially if I just got back from my pre-dinner “walk.”

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