Or the Year Aunt D Took Over Thanksgiving…
I love my aunt. I really do. I’m not trying to make fun of her. She has her talents. But her flaws tend to blow up so spectacularly in our faces that it’s a bit hard not to laugh about them. The poor dear doesn’t have a clue, though, how bad things have gotten. It’s made for some hysterical stories amongst the other aunts and uncles.
My mom and I usually do Thanksgiving. It’s something my father kind of insisted on and, well, we got into a groove so we try to top ourselves every year. We really do it up. A ton of sides, dessert buffet, and so on. We plan like a month in advance and start about a week ahead with our preparations. We’re hardcore.
One year, out of the blue, Aunt D insisted on hosting Thanksgiving. We were all a bit nervous about this but knew there was no way out of it because once she had her mind set on something, there was no budging it. The other uncles and aunts made excuses and got out of it, the clever bastards, but we were stuck. She wouldn’t even let us bring a dish!
The only thing I could identify was the turkey. Everything else was varying shades of brown and beige and lumpy. I figured that taking a little bit of everything and tasting it would help. Maybe then I could figure out what was what. Yeah, no such luck. It all tasted sort of bland and a bit like cardboard. I had no idea what I was eating. But she was looking at us so expectantly so I took a blind stab and said that I really liked the mashed potatoes. She told me it was potato salad. She put green beans and carrots in mushy potatoes. I whisper over to my mother, “Who does this?” She just shook her head in mute horror.
At one point, even my Uncle H gave up pretense and asked for someone to pass the bowl of lumpy brown stuff, no not that one, the other bowl of lumpy brown stuff. Thankfully, Aunt D tends to live in her own little world and didn’t seem to notice the occasional snorts and giggles. She made brownies for dessert. I thought there was no way anyone could screw that up! I mean it’s brownies! She somehow removed the flavor of chocolate from brownies. I don’t know how. I wanted to cry. Don’t mess with my chocolate!
Aunt D still insists on bringing a dish to Thanksgiving. Usually it stays pretty full. Everyone will take a polite spoonful and promptly ignore it on their plate. We cringe when she “experiments”. I’ve become fond of my food allergies and sensitivies because they make it possible for me to beg off from trying a lot of her dishes. I instead get the supreme pleasure of watching everyone else try to control their faces after biting in. I never realized how funny we looked. And, for some strange reason, most of her food still tastes like cardboard.