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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 97 01:43:12 -0800
Subject: Thanksgiving Smorgasbord
Forwarded-by: "Keith E. Sullivan" <KSullivan@worldnet.att.net>
Forwarded-by: Jolly <email@example.com> [alt.humor]
Michael Dresser in his Baltimore Sun Paper's wine column, Vintage Point,
writing about the difficulty of recommending wine for Thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving is America's national chow-down feast -- the one occasion each
year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty. (In France, by contrast there
are three such days: Heir, Aujourd'hui and Demain.)
Excerpted-from: The Seattle Times, Wednesday, November 27, 1996
SEATTLE'S TURKEY DAY ETIQUETTE
By Jean Godden, Times Staff Columnist
It's been 145 years since the first white settlers landed at Alki Beach at
Thanksgiving time, took one look at the overcast skies and the sodden,
rain-soaked West Seattle terrain, and burst into tears.
(History, alas, doesn't record the response of the Native Americans when
they spotted those tear-drenched settlers. But they probably were too
polite to laugh out loud.)
In the intervening years, the first residents and the settlers have worked
out the rules for Thanksgiving, Puget Sound style. Here they are, recently
updated by an ad hoc Turkey Day committee:
DRESS CODE. Thanksgiving Day guests will arrive wearing Seattle tuxes:
clean jeans, turtleneck sweaters and down jackets with weathered ski-lift
tags. Hiking boots are optional.
CONVERSATION'S GAMBIT. Topics will include: 1) the election; 2) previous
elections; and, 3) the next election. Several arguments will ensue before
the host or hostess declares politics "off-limits."
CLEANERS' COROLLARY. Spills will happen in direct proportion to the
staining capacity of the dish (cranberry sauce rates high) and the expense
of dry cleaning the garment.
CHRISTMAS CONVENTION. If you are attending a family gathering, expect this
reminder: "Don't forget to bring your Christmas list to Thanksgiving
MEOW'S MOMENT. The family cat will appear long enough to 1) shed hair on
anyone wearing a black or navy-blue sweater; 2) perch on the lap of whoever
most dislikes cats; and, 3) insist on sharing the smoked-salmon hors
OLD-TIMERS' LAMENT. Some oldster in the group will remark that it's a
rotten shame there's no longer a Turkey Day football game between Puget
Sound and Seattle high-school champs.
ELBOW'S LAW. Local custom calls for every left-handed diner to be seated
to the right of a right-handed diner, maximizing chances for spills.
PORCELAIN'S PROGRESS. At least two different patterns of dinnerware must
be visible on Puget Sound tables during every course.
SALAD LAW. Tossed salads supplied by guests will arrive with an excess of
moisture, supplied by ambient rainfall. If the day is merely overcast, the
host or hostess should add water before serving.
MOLDED SALAD LAW. Guaranteed to do one of three things: contain miniature
marshmallows, fail to unmold properly, or slide off the serving plate onto
the lap of one of the diners.
GRAVY'S CONSTANT. The silver gravy boat -- a wedding present from Great
Aunt Emma and Uncle Ed -- will vanish before the meal. It will show up next
summer when you're searching for beach towels.
TURKEY'S GRIPE. One vegetarian guest will complain about the fare, saying,
"Why can't we ever have tofu au gratin?"
PIE'S PARADOX. Provide two kinds of pie and diners will either decline or
ask for "a sliver of both."
POLLYANNA'S PRINCIPLE. Guests will include one orphan, someone from out of
town who can't make it home. If no orphan is available, the family oddball
REFRIGERATOR'S RULE. After all guests depart, at least one never-served
dish will turn up in the refrigerator.
DEPARTURE'S RULE. Some guests will arrive very early; some will show up
late. But they'll all leave at the same time.
In 1620, the first pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock -- which marked the
country's first commercial tie-in after Ford and GM were outbid.
Thanksgiving is the day we give thanks for our cornucopia of plenty.... and
feed Aunt Gertrude's asparagus Jello mold to Fido under the table.
A 17 pound Thanksgiving turkey has been delivered to the White House. The
Clintons had planned to have a butterball, but Newt Gingrich declined the
invitation. --Bob Mills
BUTTERBALL TURKEY TALK-LINE "GREATEST HITS"
(or, "Memorable Moments in Talk-Line History;" or, "Out of the Mouths
of.... Turkey Trauma Victims")
Over the years, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line staff have had their share
of memorable calls -- inquiries that stand out from the crowd because
they're heartwarming or amusing. We asked some of the veteran staff members
to tell us their favorites; plus, we rounded up a bunch of our own personal
favorites from the Talk-Line archives. Its hard to beat the call from a
trucker who planned to cook his Thanksgiving turkey on the engine of his
truck ("Will it cook faster if I drive faster?"), but some of these come
pretty close. Warning: do not attempt to adjust your screen -- these are
real incidents, true stories -- from the front lines!
* Home alone, a Kentucky woman was in the doghouse when she called the
Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. While preparing the turkey, her Chihuahua
jumped into the bird's body cavity and couldn't get out. She tried pulling
the dog and shaking the bird, but nothing worked. She and the dog became
more and more distraught. After calming the woman down, the Talk-Line home
economist suggested carefully cutting the opening in the cavity of the
turkey wider. It worked and Fido was freed!
* Birdie, eagle and turkey? Roasting a turkey doesn't have to interfere
with the daily routine, so said a retired Floridian. He called "Turkey
Central" for turkey grilling tips while waiting to tee off from the 14th
* Taking turkey preparation an extra step, a Virginian wondered, "How do
you thaw a fresh turkey?" The Talk-Line staffer explained that fresh
turkeys aren't frozen and don't need to be thawed.
* Don't wait until the last minute! On Thanksgiving Day, a Georgian woman
took the "Be prepared" motto to heart. She had just agreed to host
Thanksgiving Dinner and called the Talk-Line a year ahead of time for turkey
* Happy Thanksgiving, President Clinton! A Southern woman called to
comment, "On Thanksgiving Day, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is more
important than the President. He can take the day off, but the Talk-Line
staff can't." (The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is open Thanksgiving Day,
6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central Standard Time.)
* Thanksgiving Dinner on the run. A woman called 1-800-323-4848 to find
out how long it would take to roast her turkey. To answer the question,
the Talk-Line home economist asked how much the bird weighed. The woman
responded, "I don't know, it's still running around outside."
* Tofu turkey? No matter how you slice it, Thanksgiving just isn't
Thanksgiving without turkey. A restaurant owner in California wanted to
know how to roast a turkey for a vegetarian menu.
* White meat, anyone? A West Coast woman took turkey preparation to
extremes by scrubbing her bird with bleach. Afterward, she called the
Talk-Line to find out how to clean off the bleach. To her dismay, she was
advised to dispose of the turkey.
* A young girl called on behalf of her mother who needed roasting advice.
To provide approximate roasting times, the home economist asked what size
the turkey was. Without asking her mother the little girl paused, then
* A novice turkey-cooking chef wanted to know if the yellow netting and
wrapper around the turkey should be removed before roasting. Envisioning
a melted plastic turkey blob, the home economist responded, "Yes," then
offered complete roasting directions.
© 1997 Peter Langston