{ 836 comments… read them below }

  1. Other Meredith*

    A couple of years ago, when I was still mostly working from home, I made a fancy bread for Thanksgiving, and it was very popular. Now my family wants me make it every year, and it takes forever! I’m at work all day and have to get started on it when I get home. To be fair, it is very delicious, so I don’t blame them for wanting it.

    1. Elizabeth Bennett*

      My grandmother used to make yeast rolls every Thanksgiving and she could make two dozen or six dozen, but there would not be a single roll left. For dessert, us kids would eat the rolls with butter until we were stuffed. We’d come a couple of hours later for pie.

      I have her recipe, but I haven’t quite mastered the taste yet. Sister Schubert’s Dinner Yeast Rolls in the freezer are the closest to the taste.

      1. Mrs Minnis*

        A friend kept trying to recreate his grandmothers biscuits but could never get it quite like she used to make them. Then he remembered that his grandmother had arthritis. She couldn’t have been able to forcefully kneed the dough. As soon as he tried a gentle kneed- he nailed it.
        I’d love the recipe for yours!

        1. Who, Me?*

          That’s almost the exact story Alton Brown told on the cooking show “Good Eats” about making great Southern biscuits – mix gently as with stiffened arthritic hands. His grouchy grandmother even appeared briefly on the episode to demonstrate! :-D

    2. Lex Talionis*

      Double or triple the batch and put in freezer. Don’t tell them or you will hear all about how it’s “different “. Opps, maybe I’ve been on Reddit too much today…

    3. Summit*

      My poor stepson has fallen into this same trap. EVERY holiday, we’re asking about a month in advance if he plans to make his (family-famous) Irish Soda Bread. And at Thanksgiving, we’re all making sure he’s prepared to make it again next month for Christmas.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If you do Christmas cards, make them this year with that recipe on the front.

      Now I wish I’d thought of this idea a few years ago. (see my lost people/lost recipes post below)

  2. Beezus*

    What’s your favorite kind of dumpling? My friends and I are planning a dumpling crawl and want some variety. Going with the Google definition of filling wrapped in flour so empanadas, etc., count.

    1. Addison DeWitt*

      No idea what the options in your town are, but if there’s an Afghan restaurant, go eat some mantoo.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        At the risk of starting an argument which doesn’t belong in the poor dumpling thread, if a Cornish pasty was a dumpling wouldn’t a sausage roll have to be? And that way madness lies.

        1. ReallyBadPerson*

          You are not wrong. According to my son-in-law, any filling enclosed in bread or bread-like thing is a taco. Pasties are Cornish tacos. Daifuku mochi is a Japanese taco. Kashmiri naan is an Indian taco. And so on.

              1. Lexi Vipond*

                Which I usually called kilted sausages. Someone needs to come along with a different definition for kilted sausages to keep the chain going :D

    2. Frickityfrack*

      Pierogi, if we’re doing off the wall options. I’m also very partial to momo, because we have a great stand at one of our outdoor malls that makes good ones for fairly cheap.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Pierogi seems a pretty standard dumpling to me.

        I would also add samosas as meeting the dumpling definition.

    3. Zephy*

      Pierogi would get my vote, but could I get an invite to this dumpling crawl because that sounds way better than whatever my plans are for Thanksgiving

      1. RLC*

        I want to join the dumpling crawl too! I’m certain I would be uncomfortably overfull from the experience but it would be amazing. Want an update with list of dumplings sampled by participants!

      2. pagooey*

        This year my family is all so burnt out from Life Stuff, up to and including someone’s back injury that makes hefting a turkey in and out of the oven unappealing…that we’re blowing off Thanksgiving day and going to dim sum on Friday. And we are REALLY FREAKING EXCITED about this! So I am very pro-dumpling crawl, and now wishing that more options were closer together in my town.

      1. Johannes Bols*

        Gracious! I just realized I opened this thread after eating sourdough bread covered in an artichoke dip recipe. In case anybody’s interested, here it is. It needs tweaks to make it more spicy such a the juice of one fresh lemon and a quarter cup of Tabasco. Also, don’t drain the artichokes. I hope you enjoy it.
        4 cans artichoke hearts in water, drained and cut up into pieces (I use Trader Joes)
        2 4 oz cans hot Ortega diced green chiles
        1.5 (12 oz) bags shredded parmesan cheese or quattro formaggio ”
        1.5 cups “Good” mayo (you know which one you like here- do not cheap out)
        1 tsp nutmeg
        1.5-2 T crushed red pepper 1 T ground black pepper Lawry’s or other seasoned salt to taste *Festive:
        add 1 tsp smoked paprika to jazz it up if you like smoked paprika.

        Combine all ingredients in a standard crockpot. Cook on high 2-2.5 hrs until done and bubbling. Turn down to low to serve. Serve with cut french or sourdough bread, crackers or tortilla chips.

    4. Reba*

      Baozi and their fried cousin shengjian bao. Specifically I love the vegetable fillings like xing tsai bao.


      1. GythaOgden*

        Tortellini and tortelloni and capelletti. Similar thing, different sizes. My fridge is full of them and I top them with my mother’s lentil Bolognese sauce, although I used to get tomato and marscapone sauce on them from an Italian cafe across the road from where I was at uni the day the new issue of PC Gamer came out. My dad gave up red meat a while back because he almost had a heart attack, so my mum developed a lentil substitute for Bolognese. It is nicer fresh — it doesn’t freeze well; although it’s still edible, it definitely loses something — but it works really well with stuffed pasta as well as ordinary.

        The other super great idea is British gourmet brand Rana Bolognese tortelloni. Like, actually Bolognese inside the pasta itself. Indulgent lunch food for the win! Supermarket copycats tend to be a bit sloppy, but Rana achieved the seemingly impossible — a nice moist sauce but the tortelloni hold together surprisingly well while cooking and being eaten.

        I’m trying to have something hot at lunch these days while working from home. After years of sandwiches which were fresh from the toaster (bagels) but are now cardboard held together with plasticky cheese (texture rather than quality), I’m done with it. Fresh bagels with the same cheese gooey and hot inside are great, but so are a range of other hot nibbles that make a good light lunch. Any kind of dumplings are ideal. Some day too I’ll find frozen gyoza in stock somewhere…

        1. IneffableBastard*

          oooh you just made me remember my late’s grandmother pumpkin tortelli. It was delicious, filled with homemade pureed pumpkin, parmesan cheese and, if she had them at home, chopped walnuts. It’s hard to find this filling even in good rotisseries.

      1. Dog momma*

        Wild mushroom pierogies were the best! Potato and onion came in 2nd. We didn’t call them vareniki & we are Russian. That might be more Ukrainian, although I’ve heard the term before. Our neighborhood was Eastern European and I also think they interchanged words. Most who were bilingual could at least understand/ speak a little bit of the other’s language. Grandma was Slovak and knew A little Polish
        ( grandpa was Polish. ) Some traditions and customs including food ..which imo, was basically the same..also carried over.

        1. Stay-at-homesteader*

          I’m not Russian but I did live in Russia…the way I learned it, pelmeni are savory boiled dumplings with a pasta-like dough, vareniki are the sweet version, and pirozhki (singular: pirozhok) are small, baked hand pies made with a yeast dough, regardless of filling (a pirog would be a larger pie made of the same dough – think like stromboli).

        2. debbietrash*

          My family’s Ukrainian, and normally we just call our dumplings pierogis, but apparently the Ukrainian word is pedaheh.
          I just got together with some friends for a pierogi night, where I prepped the dough and filling beforehand, and while the others assembled the pierogis I made the mushroom gravy (cream sauce with dill), and then we had a little meal.

          Anyone else’s older family members (typically grandmas or aunts) have pierogi-specific tea towels? They’re only to be used to cover the pierogis on the tray so that they don’t dry out.

    5. Angstrom*

      Would bungeoppang(taiyaki) count? It’s probaly more of a filled pastry than a dumpling, but so good when you get them hot from a street vendor on a cold day.

    6. Polly Anderson's Christmas at Home*

      end of night treat of cookie dough wrapped in pie dough. hand pie/ technically a dumpling.

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        I don’t know why this sounds excessive because I’ve eaten deep fried Oreos, but I’ve never heard of cookie dough in pie dough!

    7. teensyslews*

      There’s a restaurant I love that does a hot-and-sour pork soup dumpling/tangbao and it is so good.

    8. SQLWitch*

      I’m of Ukrainian origin so of course varenyky. The requirements according to my grandmother are:

      1. The dough should be so thin that you can identify the fillings from the outside.

      2. They dough should be so well made and the dumplings so well sealed that none of them leak during cooking.

      I am the only still-alive person in the family who can achieve both reliably, so my skills are in demand ;)

      1. Stay-at-homesteader*

        Teach me your ways, please!!! I was taught to make vareniki but only once and I was too young and dumb to appreciate it. Willing to trade secret Lebanese-food-making knowledge! I can roll a grape leaf and make a kibbee football better than anyone.

      2. Dog momma*

        Wild mushroom pierogies were the best! Potato and onion came in 2nd. We didn’t call them vareniki & we are Russian. That might be more Ukrainian, although I’ve heard the term before. Our neighborhood was Eastern European and I also think they interchanged words. Most who were bilingual could at least understand/ speak a little bit of the other’s language. Grandma was Slovak and knew A little Polish
        ( grandpa was Polish. ) Some traditions and customs including food ..which imo, was basically the same..

    9. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I was going to suggest doubles, which are a street food from Trinidad and Tobago, but from my quick google image search, it looks like they’re rarely self-contained like a traditional dumpling! The ones I’ve had have been almost pierogi like, so I wonder if that’s just a local thing.

    10. GoryDetails*

      This one won’t count according to your definition, as it has no filling, but when I was a kid my mother’s dumplings were a hit. They were made from Bisquick mix, according to the recipe on the package, with the dollops placed atop a pan of chicken stew before the lid went on top. They were basically steamed biscuit-type puffs, but I remember enjoying them very much.

      1. RLC*

        My grandma made these too, same method! So, so good. She called them dumplings (she was from Boston, Massachusetts).

        1. Dawn*

          I was thinking “these are definitely dumplings!” I’m from MA too, but this is also a dumpling in the southeastern US.

          1. Retiring Academic*

            This is similar(ish) to British dumplings, which are made from flour and suet plus seasoning.

      2. Artemesia*

        Still a staple for us. M y husband spatchcocks a chicken every week or so and we eat the thighs hot, sliced breast the next day, creamed chicken on faro the next night and then chicken and dumplings the 4th days with the broth from boiling the carcass with herbs. I think the instructions say to cook them 10 minutes with no lid and 10 with — but they are best and fluffiest if you put a lid on the whole time and let it go for about 25 minutes. The original bisquick works better than the heart healthy version.

      3. Lexi Vipond*

        Yes – I got distracted by the Cornish pasty question, but a dumpling for me has a dish towel on the outside (removed before eating, obviously) and cake stuff on the inside!

        1. Retiring Academic*

          That’s a (Scottish) clootie dumpling! (I’m far too invested in this dumpling definition question.)

          1. londonedit*

            I am also far too invested! I absolutely would not call things like ravioli, sausage rolls, calzone or Cornish pasties (!!) ‘dumplings’. Dumplings to me are either dollops on top of a casserole or stew, suet dumplings, clootie dumpling or in a slightly different dumpling realm things like pierogi and gyoza and dim sum dumplings.

          2. Lexi Vipond*

            Indeed – I tried to link a recipe with pictures of the cloth for anyone who was curious, but I don’t suppose Alison is approving posts today :)

      4. Mornington Cresent*

        I’m in the UK and I think this is what would come to mind first when anyone says “dumplings” to me! Fluffy and steamed, almost like a scone, and sat atop some kind of hearty stew.

      5. londonedit*

        Yep, this is what dumplings are in the UK – little dollops that go on top of a stew or casserole (here a casserole is just a stew that’s cooked in the oven instead of on the hob). Traditionally made with suet, but my mum makes hers with just flour, oil and milk and they’re incredibly fluffy.

        1. Seashell*

          I think that’s similar to chicken and dumplings, which is a common recipe in the US. Just dumplings alone would be a different thing for us.

          1. Pippa K*

            Just to complicate the chicken and dumplings issue: the southern (US) half of my family has always made them with rolled dumplings, not the dropped blob kind. The dropped ones are apparently normal in most of the US and UK, but the first time I saw this as a child I was mystified, and my father explained that sadly, many people don’t know how to make dumplings right so they eat that kind instead :)

            Friends never seem to know what I mean by rolled-out dumplings, so an example is the Southern Living “Chicken and Rolled Dumplings” recipe.

    11. Your Oxford Comma*

      Does gnocchi count? We had some homemade ones in Sicily, with Gorgonzola cheese, that were out-of-this-world amazing.

    12. Warrant Officer Georgiana Breakspear-Goldfinch*

      I periodically host a dumpling party, where my friends come over and we make a billion dumplings and split them up so everyone has dumplings in their freezers. The menu for next time includes:
      – pork-chive potstickers
      – potato-onion pierogies
      – ricotta-spinach ravioli
      – shrimp shu mai
      – mushroom vareniki

    13. Slinky*

      Bao! There’s a restaurant near here that makes really good pork bao that they serve with chili crisp. I could make a meal on those with a side of soup.

    14. Nicki Name*

      Momo, bao, pierogis, and soup dumplings are all great, but my absolute favorite is the humble pork pot sticker.

    15. new old friend*

      Soup dumplings are top tier, obviously, but the pedantic engineer in me wants to say Uncrustables.

    16. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Chinese chicken soup dumplings, especially the ones made with pork. (My girlfriend keeps semi-kosher, so I’ve also tried the ones with chicken instead of pork. Not as good, still worth eating.)

    17. carcinization*

      Samosas… I learned to make them from scratch over the summer (Recipe Tin Eats’ verson) and it’s kind of a pain, but totally worth it!

    18. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      Steamed vegetarian dumplings. Dipping sauces: white balsamic vinegar, tamari, regular and chile sesame oil. Yum!

    19. Jay*

      If you can find/make them:
      Pulled pork with mac n’ cheese.
      Beef brisket and mashed potatoes with roast garlic, onion if you feel like it.
      Pastrami with mustard and swiss.
      Also, by pushing the very limits of the definition, you could probably shoehorn in Calzone and Stromboli.

      1. Zanshin*

        I made calzone from scratch last week for the first time. It was so good, I’m making it again for Thanksgiving but with different filling (first was chevre and a little sauce with roasted red bells, garli,c, shrooms… tomorrow will be spiced ground pork, mozzarella, ricotta, and sauteed tomatoes and shrooms)… pizza dumplings FTW!

      1. Starrystarrynight*

        If there’s a Georgian place within reach, make sure to have some khinkali. Delicious, big dumplings that come with a built-in handle for your convenience!

    20. Elan Morin Tedronai*

      Chinese Dim Sum. If you’re able to find a Chinatown in your area, go there. I would especially recommend Xiao Long Bao.

    21. amoeba*

      Probably won’t be able to find them, I guess, but I have to suggest the German/Austrian dumplings:
      – Dampfnudeln (basically a yeasty dough, fried and steamed, with or without filling, typically eaten with vanilla sauce, but in its home region also eaten with salty food)
      – Germknödel (quite similar, but boiled or steamed, normally eaten sweet, often with poppyseed filling)

      And of course the classic potato dumplings (Kartoffelklösse) or Semmelknödel (bread dumplings)! Those are typically eaten with a roast, but also great as a vegetarian option with mushrooms or something similar.

      So if you happen to find a German/Austrian place somewhere on your crawl, don’t leave it out!

    22. Seeking Second Childhood*

      When I lived near San Francisco I fell in love with a steamed bao I think I’ve identified as Char siu bao.

      Slightly sweet yeasty ultra soft steamed buns, with a mild BBQ pork filling, served with dipping options of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha.

      ZOMG There was a tiny mostly takeout dim sum place in Palo Alto with a few seats, more outside on a warm day….

    23. Overeducated*

      Georgian khinkali are the king of dumplings in my book. Like soup dumplings on steroids.

      I also really like chive dumplings in rice flour dough. I’m not sure where they’re from, my favorite was from a Laotian-owned restaurant that sold food from all over southeast Asia.

    24. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Are you going out to restaurants or making them at home and going from home to home? Either way I came back to this thread to tell you I’m still thinking about how much fun it sounds.

    25. IneffableBastard*

      Brazilian pastel (started with the Japanese immigrants in the 1940s then developed with the introduction of local ingredients in the filling). Golden deep-fried, very light dough with anything your imagination wants inside, savoury or sweet. Even better if eaten at a farmers market with a delicious glass of cold sugar cane juice.

  3. Addison DeWitt*

    My son and his girlfriend went off to her family this Thanksgiving, and they hope to eat leftovers after the weekend. I ordered a 14 lb. turkey and got one that’s about 11 lbs. Good luck with there being leftovers by Monday, kids!

    1. NerdyPrettyThings*

      I have the exact opposite problem and now have to get up at the crack of dawn to get it going.

    2. Overeducated*

      My parents bought a second turkey “for leftovers.” I told them if you can’t even cook it on the same day, it’s not leftovers, it’s a separate meal! But I will happily eat some of the “leftovers” without complaint if they offer to share, haha.

  4. Engineer*

    Ambrosia/marshmallow salad: cool whip or custard base?

    This is apparently the question that divides the nation, at least among those I’ve asked. I have a family recipe dating back to the 1920s that uses a custard base with no sugar, as the marshmallows and fruit provide plenty. But other people I know who make marshamllow salad swear it *must* be made with cool whip.

    So: if you make it, what’s your base? If you eat it, which base is preferred?

      1. Generic Name*

        Is the end result sweet? I love sour cream, but I thought the whole point of ambrosia “salad” was it has to be so sweet it hurts your teeth.

        1. Too Many Tabs Open*

          Yes, it’s still sweet. We recently made a batch with the sour-cream based recipe my mom used, and though it was delicious and gave me instant taste memories of childhood, I could only eat a little bit because of how sweet it was.

          1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

            Team sour cream here! I follow the *Square Meals* cookbook recipe — can of drained pineapple chunks, can of drained mandarin orange slices, bunch of mini-marshmallows, container of sour cream (I’m not a coconut fan, so I leave that off.) It’s a really nice combo of sweet and sour. Delicious.

        1. Engineer*

          Oh, I use whipping cream too! It gets folded into the custard base after getting whipped up. Still without sugar too, as seriously, the marshmallows and fruit have always added plenty.

      2. Sitting Pretty*

        When I was growing up the base was plain yogurt. So very sweet from all the fruit and marshmallows and sweetened flake coconut… my mom was trying to make it “healthier” but wow. I can’t imagine it being made even sweeter with a custard or whipped cream base!

      3. All Recipes Are Good!*

        We would always use sour cream also. Actually we called ours “5 cup salad”. 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup mandarin oranges, 1 cup pineapple chunks, 1 cup shredded coconut and 1 cup chopped pecans.

        1. All Recipes Are Good!*

          Whoops! Also 1 cup mini-marshmallows. Either the coconut or the pecans were probably just sprinkled on top.

        2. PhyllisB*

          This is the version I use when I make it, but growing up in the South, what my family called ambrosia was vastly different. It was oranges, coconut, pecans, and perhaps a few maraschino cherries for color. There may have been other things in it, but I don’t think so. I’ll talk to my 93 year old mother later today and ask her. Could not get enough of it as a child. When I first encountered the modern version I was convinced that wasn’t ambrosia, but now I enjoy it.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Canadian here, but I love my Mum’s ambrosia salad!! My Mum’s recipe started with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and about 1/2 cup of lemon juice. No cool whip, sour cream, yogurt, custard, or anything else. After that it is all fruit, nuts, coconut, and marshmallows.

      My American husband makes his marshmallow salad with whipping cream. It is not nearly as good.

      1. Cranky-saurus Rex*

        Obligatory everything is chemicals…. Though perhaps more useful, for those of us who are lactose intolerant, the Lite Cool Whip is still lactose free. They added dairy content to the original variety a few years back, though in my childhood it was the only whipped topping that didn’t give me GI issues. All varieties have some milk proteins, so for true dairy allergies all Cool Whip varieties are off the table.

    2. captain5xa*

      My dad’s side of the family used real we-whipped-the-real cream-from-our-cow and called it “Ambrosia.”

      My mom’s side of the family used whole milk unsweetened yogurt (usually homemade) and added pecans (papershells) from the tree in the backyard, calling it “That Holiday Fruity Dish”.

    3. Middle Aged Lady*

      My Southern mom didn’t have a base. Just fruit with some orange juice added and whipped cream on top.
      When I grew up I switched half the juice for peach schanpps and dusted the top with toasted coconut. Mom never used it because Fad doesn’t like it.
      I am excited because for the first time. i made little cut out pastry stars for my pumpkin pie. Pie is in the oven right now. Am using husband’s recipe which calls for 1/4 t of cocoa powder for one pie. You can’t really taste it but you know it’s there.
      Also dressing will have dried herbs from our garden this year. Am feeling fancy and like I finally have a handle on being a good cook; I am in my 60s!

      1. CL*

        My grandmother’s green slime- lime jello, cottage cheese, crushed pineapple and walnuts. She also made ambrosia salad with cool whip.

    4. JSPA*

      I use (heresy, admittedly) one cup inexpensive pineapple-coconut yogurt (and sometimes skip adding more coconut) and one cup better quality vanilla yogurt.

    5. Artemesia*

      our family thanksgiving ambrosia is fresh pineapple, and fresh orange slices with fresh coconut — and the juices of the pineapple and orange and a little Grand Marnier.

    6. Rosyglasses*

      Our base is sour cream! We make a “5 cup salad” – 1 cup each of mini marshmallows, coconut, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and sour cream. Mix and chill and it’s so yum!

  5. Stephen!*

    For years, my sister has brought pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie to our family Thanksgiving. When I moved back into town, I asked her if she’d like me to make the pecan, as it’s my favorite pie and she doesn’t like it. She said no. I didn’t want to show up empty handed, so I made a cherry pie. The next year, my sister announces she’ll be making four pies for Thanksgiving. (Guess which flavors…) So I brought blueberry. The next year she says she’ll be making five pies… So I made a piecaken. (Did I mention there are usually only 7 or 8 people at these dinners?) It’s so irritating I have to laugh (and she uses almond flavoring in the pecan pie that ruins the flavor for me so that it’s basically like a middle finger in pie form!).

    1. Kat*

      This is some serious commitment to pettiness by your sister. I don’t know if I’m horrified or impressed

    2. Sloanicota*

      Haha how long are you going to let this go on before you talk to her about it!! I’m amazed you’ve gotten to five pies without just being direct.

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        But…the end result is just more pie? Let’s just see how long this goes. :)

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Create the most elaborate molded ice cream circa 19th century Paris you can put together.

            1. Artemesia*

              This calls for a pavlova — just exotic enough and so very very yummy with the right mix of cream and fruit. I fold lemon curd into whip cream for the cream filling, and then add the fresh fruit that is available or heck bring a pavlova AND a banana cream pie this year.

    3. Juicebox Hero*

      You have my permission to splat her right in the face with all 5 pies plus the piecaken, and to swipe all her favorite leftovers.

    4. jane's nemesis*

      Incredible – I would honestly just start showing up with something savory to end the war! Bring some cheap-ass rolls lol

    5. KG*

      It’s a bit late now, but if you made a lemon meringue pie and a key lime pie, she’d have to make 7 pies next year.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Key lime pie is the easiest thing ever, if you can find the key lime juice. (Which has been hard this year.) I made three of them in 40 minutes the other day. :)

    6. I'm just here for the cats!*

      You should make a bunch of mini pies. Do you know what everyone’s favorite pie flavor is? Make each person a mini pie in their fav flavor. but skip your sister or ruin it some how.

      Or you can make mock apple pie. It actually tastes really close to real apple pie but its made with soda crackers

    7. Thunder Kitten*

      Tasty rivalry though. time to switch to savory side dishes. maybe you can get her to prep Thanksgiving solo.

    8. Kayem*

      I’m sprinkling gold leaf on top of the meringue for the blackberry and lemon curd pie I’m making. I’m not saying try to top her this year with precious metals, but yes, I am actually suggesting that.

    9. Lexi Vipond*

      Is there no way that you can take something that isn’t a pie? Because although your sister should REALLY be using her words, it sounds like she had her role and her place in the world as pie-bringer, and then you come back and instead of trying to find a role of your own you just take part of hers, and whatever she does to get it back there you are putting an effort into thwarting her.

      Or just take the kind of pecan pie you actually want to eat!

    10. lost academic*

      I too am impressed at how many years this has gone on but…. just stop bringing a pie.

      * you know she always brings 3 pies and you know there’s usually 7 or 8 people so there was never a need for another pie
      * She should have been more direct about how she felt about you bringing a pie after the first year but saying ahead of time she’s bringing 4 pies, while not direct, is at least clear
      * There’s no way she doesn’t see what you’re doing
      * There’s no indication that you ever told her that while you love pecan pie you hate the almond flavor so… maybe if you did 1) she’d change it and 2) you would probably find out that she’s not giving you a middle finger in pie form because she had no clue you didn’t like it?

      I mean you are both clearly going about this unspoken conflict the same way but….

      Solution: bring some cheap ass rolls :)

    11. Past Lurker*

      I can’t resist suggesting blackberry pie and lemon meringue pie next because I like them. I’d be “petty” and tell her I don’t like the almond and I’d just bring my own pecan pie every time and take home any leftovers. But that’s just me!

      1. amoeba*

        I mean, I wouldn’t even call that petty, just… normal communication? How is she supposed to know the LW doesn’t like the pie if she never tells her?

      1. Artemesia*

        These are so fabulous. Even in Paris they are hard to find. When we were there, the Saturday bio market had a bakery stand with them and I would always get 4 — 2 for breakfast and two for breakfast the next day. They are everywhere in Brittany but rare elsewhere. The only ones I have found in chicago at a very good bakery were just not at all the same.

        1. Sister George Michael*

          If you happen to be in New Orleans (slightly closer than Brittany), you can get a great one at La Boulangerie. Much much better than at the restaurant of the same name in Chicago.

    12. I'm just here for the cats!*

      also, I wonder what your family is thinking. Like this would be a thing in my family and everyone would be shut up about it but secretly wondering what the next holiday brings.

      1. pagooey*

        This is how it would go in my family. People taking sides, betting on the next pie flavor in the queue. A whisper campaign to get chocolate chiffon pie on the board.

      2. Festively Dressed Earl*

        If that were my family, I’d be excited that we’re inching closer to making Thanksgiving the all-pie meal that it was meant to be.

    13. Triplestep*

      Your sister won’t tell you so I will: she does not want you to bring pie. Her way of dealing with it is odd (and not productive) but there are plenty of people who don’t want guests to bring food to their Thanksgiving dinners, or they don’t want guests to bring things they didn’t plan for.

      Bringing something is not a nice gesture if the host would have preferred you bring something else, or even bring nothing at all. The meaning behind the saying “It’s the thought that counts” is the implication that the giver thought about what the recipient would want. Not that the giver thought about only what he wanted.

      1. Emma2*

        I have the impression Stephen!’s sister is not the host (she “brought” the pies), but I absolutely agree on not bringing pie. Three pies was already a lot for that many people – and a lot of work by the sister! This was clearly her holiday thing, she probably enjoys making the pies and being known for bringing pies to Thanksgiving – she probably has been going to a lot of trouble making 3 separate pies because she has made an effort to make sure she brings each person’s favourite pie. Adding a fourth pie instead of appreciating her pies probably felt like a middle finger in pie form to her after years of effort on her part (and after she had specifically turned down an offer to make one of the pies).
        I would say to leave the Thanksgiving pies to your sister. In fact, tell her how much you appreciate her pies. Just bring something else.

        1. Triplestep*

          My impression was that she “brought” the pies when he lived out of town, but then he moved back so she makes the pies (but doesn’t need to bring them anywhere.) At any rate, I agree with you on how this probably feels to her. And I think people calling the sister petty are only naming half the people who are being petty here.

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            I thought that she started bringing (or taking) the pies to the family gathering at a time when Stephen! didn’t attend it due to living far away – hence having no traditional contribution and having to find something to bring after moving back. Language is complicated!

            1. Triplestep*

              Your interpretation makes sense. The only thing we can probably assume is that Stephen! is showing up with a pie without telling anyone beforehand. Because no one hosting a small Thanksgiving (whether it’s his sister or not) wants more pies than his sister is already making. I actually really dislike when people just show up with a contribution without checking in first. I can’t help but think what I would have done with the time if I had known I could have made one less thing because someone was bringing it.

        2. Sloanicota*

          Exactly! I realize the post was light hearted but I think it’s worth noting that each person probably finds the other person’s pies “a middle finger in pie form” yet both think they’re right and the other is wrong.

    14. There You Are*

      Bring your favorite pecan pie every single year. No reason you shouldn’t be able to eat a pecan pie that you like at Thanksgiving.

      When she gets upset and asks why you are bringing / keep bringing pecan pie when *clearly* she has the pie-bringing market cornered, just answer honestly: “I like the way mine tastes.”

      It’s win-win-win. You get pie you actually like; it pisses off your sister; and you cannot be faulted by any rational observer for bringing pie you like and offering to share it.

      1. Neutral Janet*

        You don’t think a rational observer would roll their eyes at someone who, knowing someone else was already bringing five pies to a small gathering, brought another pie of the same variety as one already being brought?

        1. There You Are*


          Just like a rational observer would roll their eyes at someone who is upset about cheap ass rolls.

          A rational observer would roll their eyes at someone whose entire identity is wrapped up in being Pie Person.

          FTR, I have been to dinner gatherings where there were two kinds of deviled eggs, three kinds of potato salad, and three kinds of “plain” cheesecake, simply because the attendees had different preferences. And literally no one threw a hissy fit because “someone else brought an item that I have also brought! HOW DARE THEY!?!”.

          1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

            My aunt was the Pie Person; she made such wonderful pies. My mother was the Cake Person, and her cakes were out of this world. It wasn’t a competition, and the whole family won on holidays and birthdays.

    15. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      Okay but prior to this, what indications did you have that your relationship with your sister was on the rocks? Like, looking back, has anything like this happened before?

    16. sagewhiz*

      For the opposite of petty but surely true excess, go to Slate dot com and read “20 Guests, 19 Pies.” The best pettiness would be to keep bringing your pies and “force” your sister into a longer marathon baking every year!

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      That’s some reddit-worthy BS. Did your parents let her get away with one-upsmanship when you were kids or is this new?

      Either way it sounds like it’s time to just bring her flowers. (YOUR favorite flowers if you’re feeling petty.)

    18. Ellis Bell*

      I’m so torn between telling you to just continue the one-pie upmanship or whether to just… talk to your sister? On the one hand, you clearly need to respect her need to be Queen of Pies and she needs to respect your need for unadulterated pecan flavor, but if you both speak up and indulge in healthy communication, you will ruin this running pie buffet, which honestly sounds pretty epic. I’d also be curious to see if you can actually push her into commercial level production.

  6. Frickityfrack*

    Joy – I’ve been super sick for a week and today woke up feeling actually a little better instead of bad, but in a new and different way than the day before (because that’s how symptoms have been arriving with whatever I have). Very excited.

    (Very minor) Angst – I had to use a hair over half of my accumulated leave before of said super sickness, so that’s not ideal. Also, I’m honestly so bored with being at home and after today, we’re closed so I’m off again until Monday. Not to take the time off for granted, it’s just that I’ve read/watched all the things now and I’m still not up for anything too strenuous, so I’m not totally looking forward to it.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Blech, those are the worst times when you’re too bored to want to lay around but too sick to do anything much but lay around.

    2. not nice, don't care*

      The kind of illness/recovery where you actually reach the bottom of the internet… Good luck!

  7. Peachy keen*

    This Thanksgiving my plan is carbs, barbecue, and bad movies with family. Any bad movie suggestions? I was thinking something along the lines of one of the many Sharknado ripoffs, or else the bottom of the Christmas romcom barrel, but I’m low on bad movie ideas for once.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I like to watch “Love, Actually” early on, as the first scenes are set several weeks before Christmas :D I have friends who watched it at every time-skip featured in the movie, which is … way too many times to watch it, for me.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Oh sorry not everyone might consider this movie kind of cheesy, it’s not in the “sharknado” category – I just find it kind of silly and dated now.

    2. Shoney Honey*

      The Decoy Bride, featuring 2012 Kelly McDonald and David Tennant. The setting is beautiful, the actors excellent. The plot doesn’t make a ton of sense? Which is fine, because you don’t have to give it your full attention. It’s a great movie to have on while you’re hung over or sick or just really doing anything else at all, because if you miss some of it, you’re not really missing that much and it might not make sense anyway.

    3. HannahS*

      Road House. A western wearing an 80s action flick suit, starring a shirtless, oiled-up Patrick Swayze doing fake tai chi beside a pond while he has absolutely no chemistry with the damsel in distress who is also a doctor.

      1. Salty Caramel*

        OMG- just watched this the other night! My husband is an ex-actor and shared that one of his colleagues used Swayze’s ‘be nice’ monolog in this movie for auditions. Which is just amazing.

      2. Rainy*

        Black Dog is another Swayze classic–Mr Rainy is younger than me and had never seen it so we watched it the other day and he enjoyed it.

      3. HoosierFriend*

        Yes to “Road House”! Also, may I humbly suggest another Patrick Swayze classic, “Next of Kin”? Swayze and Liam Neeson (!) as brothers, Helen Hunt as Swayze’s wife. Swayze is a country-boy turned big city cop whose younger brother is killed by mobsters (?), Neeson comes in from the country to help avenge, and at some point Swayze confronts a room full of brother’s killers with the epic line, “You ain’t seen bad yet. But it’s comin’.” And revenge chaos ensues. So deliciously bad it’s almost good.
        I really enjoyed Patrick Swayze and he seemed like a decent human, even if his choice of scripts was questionable after “Dirty Dancing.”

      4. Anono-me*

        Actually I learned to keep copies of my own medical records from that movie and it has been very helpful over the years. (My primary gives me copies if the specialists won’t. )

    4. Kayem*

      Sorceress always comes to mind. It’s just so bad. We managed to horrify a fellow bad movie fan who thought he had seen the worst of them all until that fateful night.

    5. Charlotte Lucas*

      More a really good version of a bad movie: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.

      Otherwise, anything riffed by Mystery Science Theater 3000.

      1. Ned the Cat*

        Mystery Science Theater runs a Turkey Day marathon on all their channels, so you don’t even have to make a decision! This year it starts at 9AM ET/6AM PT on Thursday and concludes at 7AM ET/4AM PT Saturday. If you feel like staying up late Friday night you can catch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

        1. Polly Anderson's Christmas at Home*

          Well I know what I’m doing tomorrow! I don’t get to see my family until this weekend so a tomorrow won’t feel so lonely with the Satellite of Love’s chatter!

    6. Salty Caramel*

      Our new family ‘holiday’ movie is RRR- which won best original song at the Oscar’s last year. We have dubbed it so due to it’s length, and the fact that the whole family is delighted by this wild romp of a Tollywood action/adventure/bromance movie.

      1. Bluebell*

        Sooo many wild and weird things in this movie. Who doesn’t love a good horse v motorcycle race, or an entire burning bridge rescue scene?

      2. Warrior Princess Xena*

        I unironically loved RRR but I doubt I’ll ever be able to convince my family to watch it. Alas.

    7. Polly Anderson's Christmas at Home*

      Oh boy hold on to your socks.

      The Lake Michigan Monster–Black and White comedey set in milwaukee with a budget of 15 dollars. if you know Wisconsin liquor laws you can predict the plot twist.
      Phantom of the Paradise– Watch as Paul Williams is Dorian Gray and the Phantom is disfigured in a record press incident
      Riff Trax’s Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny– If you are a MST3K fan then you know what you’re getting into (and Riff Trax/MST3K fits this request really well if that is your kind of humor- many can be found on youtube and amazon. Keep circulating the tapes!)
      Velocipastor– the first 5 minutes as an explosion that is depicted as VFX CAR ON FIRE and the titular dinosaur is an inflatable costume

    8. Angstrom*

      I tend to think of old scifi and horror, like “The Black Cat” with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, or “Queen of Outer Space” with Zsa Zsa Gabor. We just watched the legendary cheapie “Robot Monster” in which the “robot” is furry because the director had a friend with a gorilla suit.

    9. beware the shoebill*

      If you like shark movies, I recommend Shark Attack 90210. It has a twist you may not see coming. And then there’s my own personal favorite, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (no sharks involved).

      1. Peachy keen*

        These are all fantastic, thanks! And anything Rifftrax or MST3K is a definite safe bet, we used to watch the MST3K Turkey Day marathon.

      2. GoryDetails*

        The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra for the win!

        Though “Sharknado” fans might also like “Big Ass Spider” {grin}.

        1. beware the shoebill*

          Sadly, the sequel, The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, was not as good. Unlike the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes series, where the second one is far better.

    10. Mitchell Hundred*

      I don’t have a specific recommendation, but if you go to the Kids DVD section at your local library and look for movies with a cover featuring characters who look like they’re made out of plastic you should be pretty safe.

    11. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      Do you like movies that are clearly just meant to be eye-candy with very little plot or character? Might I suggest Point Break…the remake from 2015. If you think the original Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves one was cheese, the remake was so awesomely worse, I’m sad that it hasn’t reached cult status. Whole script can be summed up in one word… “Brother”

    12. Donkey Hotey*

      Hooo boy.
      It depends on your definition of Bad. If by bad you mean laughably horrible:
      Bad Violent – Cocaine Bear
      Bad Silly – America The Motion Picture
      Bad Comic Book – RIPD
      Bad 80s Nostalgia – Heathers
      If by bad you mean questionable but a good film at it’s heart.
      Violent: Bullet Train
      Silly: Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves
      Nerdy: Game Night
      80’s: Pump Up The Volume (same lead, but has aged FAR better than Heathers)
      Heist: Army of Thieves (NOT Army of Dead)

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        Cocaine Bear was…actually somewhat better than I thought it was going to be. It really looked like everybody had a great time making it.

      2. Jessica Clubber Lang*

        Have to disagree on putting Heathers in the truly “bad” category – thought it was brilliant!

        1. Donkey Hotey*

          It was made eleven years before Columbine. School shootings don’t play for comedy for me anymore.

    13. YouwantmetodoWHAT?! *

      If you can get a hold of it, I HIGHLY recommend The Villain.

      It’s old -1979 – but so, so funny!
      Kirk Douglas, Ann Margaret and Arnold Schwarzenegger

      It got panned so bad, but I love that stupid movie

    14. new old friend*

      Depending on how much fake blood you want, Wally’s Wonderland (the Five Nights at Freddy’s ripoff starring Nic Cage) is delightfully awful. Very reminiscent of the campy slashers of yesteryear, complete with youths acting out, ridiculous action, and Nic Cage not saying a single word the entire movie.

      1. Katiekins*

        Yeah there are so many movies already listed that I know from HDTGM!

        What you don’t watch you can enjoy in hilarious podcast form!

    15. Dark Macadamia*

      My friends and I got a huge kick out of “Knight Before Christmas” on Netflix a few years ago. It’s probably exactly what you’re assuming and very bad but cute.

    16. Summit*

      No -bad- movie ideas, but we’re doing a similar Worksgiving celebration with our small office. Our plan is also barbeque and carbs, and My Cousin Vinny. Law office nerds left to their own devices…

    17. carcinization*

      “Tammy and the T-Rex” is my suggestion, my husband and I watched it while watching questionable films during the early part of the pandemic. It’s… quite something!

    18. RedinSC*

      It’s not a bad movie, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE Home for the Holidays. So fun.

      For bad movies, I really enjoy the old black and white monster movies – Dracula, Frankenstien, Wolfman, etc. They’re fantastic.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        We’ve been searching with increasing desperation for our DVD of Home for the Holidays since we moved in October!

        My husband was gifted a box set of Universal Studios monster films… he says the quality is variable, the sequels often showing a huge decline into naked cash-grabbery. But some of the originals have held up, well-paced and gripping. FWIW.

    19. Dara*

      Rubber – A tire gains sentience and goes on a rampage. It does not run things over. Nay, nay. It can kill you with its MIND. Also includes bonus audience/meta narrative

    20. miel*

      I’m going to recommend a few campy/ ridiculous/ over-the-top lesbian movies, and one gay [men] one for good measure.

      1) But I’m A Cheerleader. This is actually a fabulous movie! It’s also very campy. It was made in 1999 on a miniscule budget by a bunch of gay friends in the film industry, and that fact makes sense when you watch it. They all had a blast. Named the #1 lesbian movie of all time by Autostraddle.

      2) DEBS. Teen spy movie, very fun.

      3) Happiest Season. A lesbian Christmas romcom. I think it was a terrible movie, but Dan Levy was its saving grace.

      4) Single All the Way. Two roommates (both men) pretend to be dating… and fall in love for real. This movie was actually pretty good! It was your standard-issue cheesy Christmas romcom, but gay.

      5) A New York Christmas Wedding. Described by a critic as “one of the worst films I have ever seen.” I would agree! It involves time travel and alternate timelines. I think there were some really intriguing ideas here, but it really didn’t work.

      1. Onomatopoetic*

        I adore But I’m a Cheerleader. It’s completely over the rop absurd – until you remember that there are actually these kind of conversion therapy places, and it gives the film several layers.

    21. No matter where you go, there you are*

      The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (Not sure it actually counts as bad, per se, but its artistic reach vastly exceeded its budgetary grasp.)
      The Core (This one is sci-fi schlock, and all the cast know it. Except possibly one person.)

      1. The Brave Little Roaster*

        I took a science class in college that involved watching The Core and later, Dante’s Peak. 14/10 for both haha.

    22. amoeba*

      Haven’t actually watched all of it because, well, it was actually really horrible, but “Queen of the Damned” is supposed to be really, really bad and from the minutes I’ve managed to watch, I agree!

    23. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      So not actually a *bad* movie but I really enjoyed The Wipers Times. It’s available on Acorn streaming and it’s based on the true story of an infantry group in WWI who found an abandoned printing press and launched an entertainment newsletter for British troops. It’s a solid movie with some of my favorite actors, and is actually hilarious.

      A reasonable actually disappointing movie for me was Ain’t Misbehaving, starring Robson & Jerome. It was…fine. I expected more given how much I love both those actors. It’s a B-.

      We recently watched TREMORS, which I’d never seen before, and which is fully better than it deserves to be.

      Movies that are better than they deserve to be: IN TIME, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. Actually asks interesting questions and almost comes close to almost addressing them.

      Worse than it should have been: SUPERNOVA, starring James Spader and Angela Bassett. Wow. That was *terrible*. I honestly only watched it through for the cast.

      1. Angstrom*

        I like the first Tremors because it was obviously made by someone who loves old monster movies, and wanted to make one with the same feel but better production values.

        1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

          Yeah! That’s a really good read. I didn’t know what to expect because I never saw it before, but back then they knew how to make a good B movie!

    24. zaracat*

      This is actually not bad, but not a mainstream film so it might fit the bill: CTU: Provo. It was made by the YouTubers Alan Seawright and Jonathan Decker (Cinema Therapy) while they were in college, inspired by “24”. Cameo appearance by Donny Osmond as a criminal mastermind. Available on YouTube, search term “CTU: Provo Feature Film (Special Edition, 2021)” on Telekinesis Entertainment channel.

    25. Holly and the ivy*

      The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day tradition of marathon B-movies is still going strong on YouTube. Or check out the Rifftrax crew, I think they did a live riffing of Sharknado that you can purchase.

    26. Phryne*

      Me mad my then-fellow medieval history student friends once upon a time somehow made it all the way trough a (then already twenty years old) nineteen-eighties rendition of Gawain and the Green Knight, with Sean Connery as the Green Knight. Easily the most hilariously bad movie I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet.

    27. Mr. Tumnus*

      Christmas Twister!! I discovered it last year and made everyone watch it. It’s like Sharknado with worse acting and worse production values.

      I think I’ve talked myself into a re-watch while I get myself together for Thanksgiving.

    28. Seeking Second Childhood*

      This is inspirational. I love flicks that are great fun not great cinema.

      There are a set of fantasy/sf/martial arts movies that we love and say “Cast of dozens!” . They overlap with intentionally hilarious ones more people will recognize.

      Beastmaster. Hawk the Slayer. Curse of the Dragonslayer. Mythica. Dudes & Dragons (original title dragon warriors)
      Tremors. Big Trouble in Little China. Buckaroo Bonzai. Remo Williams The Adventure Continues. The original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.

      I love this idea.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        PS Many Jackie Chan movies — Spy Next Door, and Kung Fu Yoga ( Just like the original Buffy movie, the end credits make it thie worth while. Trust me, watch the final bits even if you skip the middle.)

        Lost City.

    29. Who, Me?*

      A British friend once rescued me on Christmas Day when I was pretty sick by inviting me and other leftover people for a curry and the movie Triple Cross. That must have been the cheesiest, wierdest 1960s war movie I ever saw in my life. Made old Bond movies look like a documentary.

    30. Bananapants Circus With Dysfunctional Monkeys*

      Late to the party but if you’re still taking suggestions I can’t believe no ones mentioned Flash Gordon yet.

      It’s campy as all hell, Brian Blessed is gloriously chewing the scenery (metaphorically), and the soundtrack is all Queen all the time. Its terrible, and that’s why it’s so good.

    31. Jessica Clubber Lang*

      Pacific Heights – good actors (Michael Keaton, Matthew Modine, Melanie Griffith) in a silly but fun thriller.

    32. Herkermer Homolka*

      Congo from 1995. It’s worth watching for Tim Curry as Herkermer Homolka. Just the name makes it worth it.

  8. Heffalump*

    Sadly, this is the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. I was old enough to understand what was going on when it happened.

    1. Generic Name*

      Wow, yeah. I was not alive when it happened, but I did work in Dallas for a few years. I frequently drove by the plaza, and the first time I drove by, I was shocked at how small it is. And the school book depository building is still there (well it was there in 2006).

      1. Livin' The Dream!*

        This Dallasite can confirm it is still there, there is still an X marking the spot, and tourist still flock to see it.

    2. GoryDetails*

      I was in 7th grade. I remember hearing the principal’s voice on the loudspeaker – a rare thing in the middle of class. At first I was annoyed because he was interrupting school (which I liked), and then I figured out what he was saying… I think they sent us home that afternoon, though I can’t be sure after all this time. I do remember that the TV channels (all three of them – ah, the good old days) were all-news for the next several days.

    3. Weekend Warrior*

      I was in grade one in Canada and it was shocking to see teachers crying. Most kids didn’t know anything about US Presidents but we all sympathy cried too. I think it was the first time I’d seen an adult cry. The flags on the gov’t building flew at half mast for several days, maybe the only time for a foreign leader. It was a very big, very sad deal.

    4. Forrest Rhodes*

      I was 18 years old, working in a 6th-floor corporate office on 7th and Spring, downtown L.A. It was my first job after graduating high school.

      On Nov. 22, 1963, we were doing our regular work when a coworker rushed in the door, looking worried, and said, “You guys have a radio in here? It was something about the president?”

      We had no radio or tv in the office, of course, and it was a time before smart phones, etc.

      I immediately took the elevator down to the street. The usually busy downtown streets were absolutely silent. No cars were driving past, they’d all pulled over to the curb and opened their doors, and all car radios were tuned to coverage of the assassination. The sounds of the radio broadcast echoed off the tall buildings.

      I can still see it: downtown L.A. at a complete stop; people not walking anywhere, just gathered silently beside the open car doors, some in tears, all of us looking wide-eyed at each other and wondering what just happened, how could it happen here, in the U.S.

      I remember feeling, without being able to explain it, that everything had suddenly changed.

      A vivid memory.

    5. Anonymous for potentially doxxing deets*

      It was my mom’s 13th birthday! And she was Catholic/went to Catholic school, so it was a huge deal. She and her friends apparently didn’t even want to celebrate her birthday – her dad tried to take them out for ice cream but they just went into their sundaes.

    6. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      I was a wee girl in England, watching the TV with my parents. Until then not much aware of world events.

      What made me understand that a terrible & significant event had happened was not the my parents’ shocked silence but the BBC newsreader repeating over & over “President Kennedy is dead. We repeat what we just said: the President is dead”
      over and over for several minutes the same sentences, as I suppose he just couldn’t believe that could happen. It felt like a breaking of a some sort of tabu.

      JFK was the last US President to be loved & admired by much of Western Europe. Some have been liked & respected, but none were able to reach the hearts & minds here as he did.

    7. Pam Adams*

      I was too young to remember JFK, but just old enough to remember RFK- we walked in a memorial procession, and I remember seeing grown-ups crying.

    8. Heffalump*

      I was in Pennsylvania history class, which was being taught by Mr. Mueller, a student teacher. Mr. Martenis, the regular teacher for that class, came into the room and said, “The President has been shot in Texas.” I can still remember the names and faces of the other students who sat closest to me.

      A couple of hours later they patched the radio into the school public address system, and we learned that Kennedy had died. I heard a couple of days later that Mr. Villiano, the Spanish teacher, was crying. First time I ever heard, even indirectly, of an adult man I knew crying openly. I’d been taught that boys don’t cry, but I didn’t think less of him. (I later unlearned that belief in therapy.)

      A couple of weeks earlier, my mother had been conversing with a man in the neighborhood, who had suggested that one wacko with a gun could upset the apple cart. My mother’s reaction at the time had been, “No way.”

      The following weekend my family went out to eat, and I asked the server why the jukebox was turned off. She said it was out of respect for the late president, which made sense once she explained it.

    9. Chaordic One*

      I was 4 years old when it happened and I really didn’t understand what was going on. I don’t think I knew what a president was. The grown-ups were all very sad and I didn’t know why. They spoke in hushed, serious voices quietly amongst themselves. The day after it happened I remember riding my tricycle into the living room of our house and stopping in front of the black and white family TV. I was looking forward to watch Saturday morning cartoons (Mighty Mouse, Beanie and Cecil, Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound). I would sit on my tricycle in front of the TV to watch. Only on that day, there weren’t any cartoons and I was kind of mad about it. On TV they showed the president’s coffin as it sat in state and I think there may have been a guard in front of it or beside it. I don’t recall any noise, anyone talking, or any music playing, just the coffin in front of the camera for what seemed like hours.

    10. starkradio*

      I have a …. theory… that our future split at that moment, and we are now living in an alternate future to what we should have been living. I think it changed everything. Knowing that one person could be so important and loved… and yet killed in broad daylight, in the middle of a huge, broadcasted event… I think it caused a rift in the American psyche.

      Obviously it’s just a theory. I remember that day. I remember the fear I felt watching the adults around me lost and silent, and in tears. The grief of a nation.

  9. Zephy*

    I volunteered to do the turkey last year and was successful enough to get “stuck” with the job going forward. Fine with me, I’m a better cook than my inlaws by a country mile. I’m currently still in the Forbidden Zone but they’re dismissing us at 4:00 today (about 40 minutes from time of writing). My plans for the rest of the evening basically involve wrestling with a dead bird.

    I moved my turkey from the freezer into a cleaned-out crisper drawer to thaw back on Saturday, but I think it’s still mostly frozen, so the party will start with a few hours of water-bath thawing in the sink (and keeping my cats otherwise occupied). Once we’re not icy anymore, though, that’s when the fun begins. I spatchcock my turkey for more even cooking, which requires me to break the breastbone so it’ll lay relatively flat on the roasting rack. I’m 5’3″ and my counters are about 40″ high, so I need to get up on a stepstool to get enough leverage to smash that sonofabitch. My husband is working late so I’m going to do my best to not injure myself or the cats in this endeavor. Then the bird gets lashed to the rack, seasoned to hell and back, and placed in the fridge so the skin can dry out and get nice and crispy in the oven tomorrow.

    1. lost academic*

      It’s been 4 days since you moved the bird to the fridge – how big is it that you think it’s still mostly frozen? A 16 pound turkey will be completely thawed by now in a regular fridge. (1 day for every 4-5 pounds).

      You’re the second person to reference spatchcocking a turkey today in my life…. I’ve done it with chickens on the stove and now I might try it with a turkey!

      1. Bookmark*

        I started spatchcocking my turkey in 2020 when Samin Nosrat’s buttermilk turkey recipe singlehandedly caused a buttermilk shortage. We’re doing our thanksgiving on Friday to work better for people’s schedules, so I did the spine-ectomy this morning, and into the buttermilk bath it went, where it’ll stay until Friday morning. Spatchcocking is definitely worth it in my opinion to not end up with dried-out breast meat. Definitely involves some strong scissors and a lot of hand strength, though!

    2. I'm A Little Teapot*

      My advice: put the cats in another room with whatever will keep them happy so they don’t turn up at the most interesting time.

      And I think it’s probably less frozen than you’re thinking.

    3. Always Tired*

      For the cats, unless you plan to trap them in a bedroom with a birdwatching video, they will get in the way. You know this, I know this, the cats know this. As for the spatchcocking, I would be tempted to drag in a dining chair so I could have a wider stance for balance. Or maybe lay out a sacrificial tablecloth and do it at the table. That and use it as a chance to practice my CPR skills.

      Good luck! I’m off to battle traffic and bake a pie while my cat cries and tries to trip me so I provide lap.

      1. RedinSC*

        I’d actually do this on the kitchen floor that was covered in plastic (like a big garbage bag or something.

        Truly do the CPR thing!

  10. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I had some rough stuff to handle at work this week, but now it is all done, it went generally better than I had feared, so I am eating a giant slab of pumpkin cheesecake and on Friday I’m leaving for a long weekend at Disneyworld. Plus I did my big feast last weekend, and we’ve been eating leftovers all week, and today my husband and I basically chorused at each other “We have all the leftovers but I’m tired of ham, what do you think about ordering (pizza/Indian) tonight?” So we will order Indian food to boot. Rough week, “ending” well. :)

    1. Rainy*

      I’m glad your rough week was better than you thought it would be and glad it’s over! I hope Disneyworld is awesome.

    2. E. Chauvelin*

      We did Thanksgiving at Disney World a couple of years ago and loved it. I hope you have a great time.

  11. Sloanicota*

    For some reason, this year I have to keep holding back on Christmas. Usually I’m very firm that there is zero Christmas in the house or heart – the word cannot be mentioned – until after Thanksgiving *weekend* endsor the first day of December, but this year I’m slipping, probably because I’m not traveling home for turkey day, just having a local dinner with friends. Do you have any official rules about the divide of the seasons? I ask as I’m eating a candy-cane …

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        We decorate the first of December and everything comes down either January 2 or our first day off after that.

    1. Paris Geller*

      We’re in the same boat, I think! I’ve always been a “no Christmas until after Thanksgiving” person, but this year I was ready to put our little tree up weeks ago (though I did not). I’m also not traveling anywhere for Thanksgiving since my husband has to work (the night shift, so we do have plans to do a nice Thanksgiving plate at a restaurant mid-day so he sleeps before and after). I’m really excited for the lowkey Thanksgiving, but I’ve basically been in Christmas mode for weeks.

    2. I follow the liturgical calender*

      I’m a “no Christmas until Christmas” kind of person. Sadly we are a dying species. Christmas lasts for over a week after Dec. 25th! Prep for Christmas doesn’t start before the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

    3. Generic Name*

      My son’s birthday is the 29th, and he is steadfast in the thought that Christmas season cannot start until after his birthday. I try to sneak in some of the more low-key Christmas songs. There’s an Enya Christmas album and Celtic Christmas isn’t overtly jingle-bellsy. Plus, O Come, O Come Emmanuel seems liturgically appropriate.

    4. Kayem*

      I don’t like to see Christmas stuff go up before December 1. Mostly because Christmas already takes over everything so I prefer it stay within its own month so we can have a breather. I know it’s a futile hope.

      One set of neighbors have had Christmas decorations up for the past month, another hasn’t taken down their Halloween decorations. I’m kind of hoping that there’s a passive-aggressive seasonal decoration war going on between them.

    5. Lexi Vipond*

      After St Andrew’s Day or from the first Sunday of advent, whichever comes first. Although since I don’t put up my decorations until roughly the weekend before Christmas and do some of my Christmas shopping in odds and ends through the year the rule doesn’t actually affect anything except whether I grumble about it being too early for Christmas!

    6. Lalaith*

      Ha, so, I have a 7 month old and it’s still Halloween in my house XD Our rules are no Christmas til after Thanksgiving (meaning we can start on Friday), and other than having a hard time resisting dressing the baby in all the cute holiday clothes she has waiting, I do not have the decorating bug yet.

      1. uncivil servant*

        So true. I’m getting whiplash taking off my toddler’s “cookie” (gingerbread man) pjs and putting on her “boo” (Halloween) dress. And then the next day she demands the ghost pjs and Santa sweater.

        We also became That House that took down the Halloween inflatable one weekend and put up the Christmas one the next. We just waited till after Remembrance Day so it didn’t get slashed by some grumpy senior citizen. Those horrid tacky things bring her so much damn joy.

    7. Irish Teacher.*

      I stand by the 8th of December to start the Christmas season. I do do my Christmas shopping before that but that is when I decorate, start playing Christmas music, etc.

      It’s not really a divide of seasons, because we don’t have anything between Halloween and Christmas.

    8. Rara Avis*

      I was very happy to find that the local radio station that plays all Christmas music all the time started LAST Friday ( which also happens to be my birthday) instead of the Friday after Thanksgiving. I’m also a musician and have been rehearsing holiday music since August. But other aspects of Christmas? In a good year, I remember to dig out the Advent calendar by the 2nd.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I’m in Europe, but there is a decent sized American community here, so the various US clubs and societies have Thanksgiving events.

        The breakfast DJ on the local radio station has just started playing Christmas songs, but there has been some pushback saying that he should wait until Friday!

        1. londonedit*

          Traditionally the radio stations here would start playing Christmas songs maybe two weeks before Christmas, but in 2020 the BBC stations pretty much said look, things are awful, we’re just going to go for it and break out the Christmas music on December 1st. And I think they’ve stuck to that ever since. I always tell myself I don’t want to listen to Christmas songs until closer to Christmas, but every year when I do that I then get to Boxing Day and think ‘Ohhhhh, but I didn’t hear that one! And I only heard that one a couple of times! And now it’s all over!!!’ so last year I decided to embrace the Christmas tunes from December 1st and I’m going to do that again this year.

      2. Meghan*

        I will never forget when I was driving around on 11/1 one year, listening to a Nelly song on a pop radio station and the song must have ended exactly at noon or at 12:01PM or something because it was ALL Christmas music ALL THE TIME after that. It was a little jarring and wayyyyyy too much Christmas music (which I love).

    9. Critical Rolls*

      My household’s festive season starts after Thanksgiving. The long weekend is usually convenient for exterior decorating, and then the inside can get done a bit at a time.

    10. ReallyBadPerson*

      No Christmas for us until the first Sunday in Advent, which falls on Dec 3 this year. I hate rushing the seasons. It really makes life more stressful because I always feel behind.

      1. allathian*

        I’m culturally Christian rather than a believer, but I really, really don’t want to see anything related to Christmas before the first Sunday in Advent. That’s when they opened the Christmas street downtown when I was a kid, this year they opened it a couple weeks ago. Argh!

        We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but Black Friday/Week/Month seems to be a bigger deal every year. As far as I’m concerned, the only good thing about this for us culturally irrelevant fad is that at least it postpones the pre-Christmas sales that we’d otherwise have.

        We bring in the tree on Christmas Eve-Eve (December 23) and decorate it the following morning. That said, I’m usually happy to extend Christmas until 12th Night (January 6). One year we had such a good tree that didn’t shed at all, and we didn’t have a heart to throw it out until S:t Knut’s Day (January 13).

      2. amoeba*

        I’m confused – Advent starts on November 26th this year as far as I know? There’s four Advent Sundays before Christmas, so usually the first one is in November…

        Where I live, Advent’s a big thing, so starting then with the traditional wreath and lighting the first of the four candles. The rest of the decoration some time in December. On the tree front, my boyfriend and I are divided – I’m team “just before Christmas Eve, decorate the day of”, he’s team “as early as possible”. We’re compromising, so let’s see.

        (Also, we celebrate on Christmas Eve here, not on the 25th.)

        1. amoeba*

          Hah, I just googled and realised you’re right and my boyfriend’s been lying to me! (Mistaken. Not lying, I think. Or I misheard.) Sorry. But thanks for the reminder, or I would have been early and confused, haha!

        2. londonedit*

          We have our local Christmas lights switch-on on the last Sunday of November (so, this Sunday coming) and I use that as my excuse to start getting ‘festive’, but not ‘Christmassy’!

        3. Camelid coordinator*

          Advent starts next week—this is one of the years where Advent 4 falls on Christmas Eve. So church in the morning is Advent 4 and afternoon/evening is Christmas Eve. In between is a frenzy of decorating the church for Christmas.

          I’ve been attending and occasionally serving at a church that does “extended Advent,” which has got me listening to Advent music. Sometimes a little Christmas music sneaks in, which is super-early but enjoyable.

        4. allathian*

          I’m in Finland, and we also follow the German Lutheran tradition of celebrating on Christmas Eve.

          That said, Advent counts down the Sundays until Christmas Day, so this year, the 4th Sunday in Advent coincides with Christmas Eve, and this is why the 1st Sunday is on December 3.

          1. londonedit*

            I think the best thing about acquiring Finnish relatives is that we had an excuse to expand our Christmas celebrations to take in Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day. Rice porridge in the morning, you say? Declaration of Christmas peace? Smoked fish and herring and ham and potatoes and baked swede and Rosolli salad? More chances to eat, drink and be merry? Bring it on. And then yes please to a traditional English Christmas the next day. We love it so much that we do the Finnish Christmas Eve traditions even when the Finnish side aren’t with us.

        5. I heart Paul Buchman*

          But the first Sunday in Advent this year is 3 December. The last (4th) is Christmas Eve.

          Saying that I put the tree up the first weekend in December and take it down on New Year’s Day.

    11. Frickityfrack*

      I’m so lazy about decorating at home, but I always decorate the office as part of my “fighting seasonal depression with sparkly stuff” initiative for myself and my coworkers. I tell them it’s literally illegal to put up Christmas stuff before December 1. We have a lot of really cute fall decor, though, so no one is too bothered.

    12. Donkey Hotey*

      Regarding earlier than Thanksgiving decorations, I read just recently: “The war in Christmas cannot end until Christmas ends its illegal occupation of November.”

    13. Rainy*

      I try to avoid anything Yule-y until the 15th of December, personally, and there are certain winter holiday films that there’s a moratorium on after September 1st until December 15th in our home (Die Hard and sequels, The Holiday, Hogfather, Trading Places, all the standards).

        1. Rainy*

          There are definitely some years where I start a little early because I need something merry–2020 for sure. But for the most part I prefer it if my winter holiday doesn’t take up the whole winter.

    14. CrackerJaxonApple*

      Wild wild west in my house, dictated by how I feel. This year, Christmas has been up since 2nd week of November! Sometimes Christmas never makes it up.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        This approach sounds healthy.

        Last year, I leaned into a traditional sixteenth-century 12 days of Christmas approach. It felt like the right amount.

    15. Aphrodite*

      Wednesday, Thursday and Friday belong to Thanksgiving. On Friday I take down the autumn decorations (faux and real pumpkins, wheat, door wreath, and a few other things. I eat pumpkin pie for breakfast on Friday morning (it’s a rule, you know), and pack those things away with a bit of sadness. I rest up for Saturday, which is when the Christmas decorations come out and enjoy putting those out in chunks of time. It no longer takes anywhere near what it used to since I do not have a “floor” tree any more and have only small vignettes around including my three trees that range from one foot to two feet high, no lights, no ornaments. The flocking alone is enough to make me happy. I always take Monday off to finish resting up and enjoying the change. And that’s my timetable.

    16. Tio*

      I have no interest in Thanksgiving as I can’t eat many things, so my holiday schedule is as such:
      Sept 1st – Oct 31st – Halloween
      Nov 1st – Dec 31st – Christmas

      Yes I am THAT person, no I will not change XD

      1. Sloanicota*

        Does your Christmas really end promptly on the 31st? I admit I’m probably closer to Jan 15, and I leave up some “holiday lights” to cheer me up straight through February.

    17. Dark Macadamia*

      My birthday usually falls on this weekend so my rule used to be no Christmas until after Thanksgiving or my birthday, whichever is later. Then it became whichever is earlier. Then it became I could look at Christmas stuff in the store but not put up decor at home.

      Now I just start when I feel like it! Why delay joy arbitrarily?

      This year has been feeling unusually fast for me for some reason and I feel like if I don’t embrace the holidays I’ll miss them, so I put out some new lights last weekend and will probably put up the tree this weekend!

    18. RagingADHD*

      I have fallen into my mother in law’s practice of starting Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving, and the decorations start coming out for the first Sunday of Advent.

    19. Dancing Otter*

      I put up the crèche on the first Sunday of Advent, but not the Baby Jesus. Actually, not the manger at all, because it’s one piece.
      Then the manger goes in on Christmas Eve.
      It gets put away on Epiphany.
      Having had cats who patted ornaments, slept on the tree skirt after pushing packages around, climbed the tree, and chewed on the branches (of an *artificial* tree, no less), I do not put up a Christmas tree.
      Almost forgot to mention the revolving tree stand my parents had. Khat sat and let the ornaments come to her to be grabbed.
      You’d think in over five decades of cats, there would have been ONE uninterested in the Christmas tree. Nope, not one.

    20. Gyne*

      The radio station on at the office today played “Thriller” and I don’t even know what year it is anymore, let alone the season.

    21. But what to call me?*

      It used to be the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving, but now it’s a combination of whenever we feel like it (for indoor decorations, one week before Thanksgiving this year, because they make us happy and we needed some of that) and whenever the weather seems most hospitable for decorating outside.

    22. londonedit*

      We don’t have Thanksgiving here, but I try to hold off on Christmas stuff until December 1st at least. Now we have my nephew, his birthday is in early December, so we tend to wait until after that before getting Christmassy. My parents put their tree up a week before Christmas but I do my little one a bit earlier than that because I’ll be off to my mum and dad’s before Christmas. Decorations traditionally come down on Twelfth Night here in the UK.

    23. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My husband brings in the Christmas decorations Thanksgiving weekend while I’m gone and we put them up the following week. I’m not very prompt at taking them down though.

      Eight years ago, I put up a big dinosaur in a Santa hat on my front porch, and he was still there come Valentines Day. My husband was all “look, we’re not gonna be the jerks leaving the Christmas decorations up year round.” I said “what if he’s not a CHRISTMAS dinosaur?” Husband, confused, said “Well, that would be fine?” And I handed him a big green tinsel top hat and told him to go dress the dinosaur for St Patrick’s Day. The dinosaur is still there to this day, currently still in his Halloween Yoda costume (for our Life Day feast) but with his false beak and turkey tail feathers on top for Thanksgiving. (His turkey costume is my favorite but I also quite enjoy his Easter bunny costume.)

    24. E. Chauvelin*

      The tree can go up whenever it’s convenient for my husband (and there may be a year or two when it was never put away) but no decorations go on it or elsewhere in the house until Advent, and nothing comes down until after Twelfth Night. Christmas music can only be played out of this season if it’s a Christmas song that just happens to be on a non-Christmas album or playlist, like if you’re listening to Simon & Garfunkel and their Silent Night comes on. Shopping can happen early to spread out the spending.

    25. Ellis Bell*

      We don’t have Thanksgiving to hold off Christmas in the UK, but I usually try to limit anything festive to the month of December. I have definitely been getting tempted to do so earlier this year, and have no idea why.

    26. Clisby*

      Nothing official. I generally put the tree up about Dec. 15. If I’m really efficient, presents go under the tree a day or so before Christmas Eve. Tree stays up as long as the lights make me feel good.

  12. Mrs Whosit*

    We adopted a baby who will be one tomorrow – on Thanksgiving. Last year we had Thanksgiving lunch in the hospital with a 1-day-old baby, hours & hours away from our families. Tomorrow will be extra sweet.

  13. Aelswitha*

    As Canadians were not terribly Thanksgivingy, but a few years back my Mom decided to do a turkey. (Why? I don’t know. Dad wanted ham.) She stuck it in the basement laundry sink to defrost. Unfortunately, overnight the water softener cycled and overflowed the sink, because the plug was in. Next morning the turkey was on the floor in a water-softener-salt soup. Mom was distraught, but in the end said the hell with it and cooked the thing. Best turkey we ever had, bar none. Juicy and delish. You’re welcome.

  14. Ann Onymous*

    I have several gluten intolerant family members, but we found gluten free cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions so we will be having green bean casserole this Thanksgiving for the first time in years!

    1. Nora*

      I’m gluten intolerant and have been in charge of the green bean casserole for a decade or so. Aldi is usually my source for gluten free fried onions, but they were out, so I’m substituting Funyuns. The progresso mushroom soup is gluten free, but it couldn’t find it anywhere! I’m going to end up spending the evening make homemade mushroom soup, and it’s really the last thing I want to do right now. I hope it turns out alright- I’ve never had this much trouble.

      1. Panicked*

        Celiac here- Campbells now makes a gluten free cream of mushroom! Pacific Foods does as well, and I’m fairly certain Walmart has one too. I’ve been able to find them just about everywhere!

  15. Maleficent2026*

    For the first time in ten years, my husband and I get to have Thanksgiving by ourselves. Neither of us wants to cook a big meal, so it’ll be a movie matinee and Waffle House! (With an extra tip for the server, because working retail on holidays is horrible.)

    1. Satan’s Panties*

      Sounds fun! DH and I are also a household of two. We’re going to a buffet, then we’ll come back and probably pass out. Then we’ll crack open some wine and start the new season of The Crown. (We’ve been putting it off due to real-world stuff.)

    2. Office potato*

      this sounds so delightful, and much better than my plans for the day (long drive to mediocre “traditional” foods and awkward convo with relatives). enjoy the day!!!

    3. single woman in own for many many many years*

      Love it!
      We’re doing takeout Chinese food from our favorite place (still in NYC but up-and-across-town) and watching movies: Barbie, latest Indiana Jones, and not sure what else.

    4. RedinSC*

      YES! This year is the first time in 9 years where I haven’t had to work Thanksgiving morning and then meal prep thanksgiving day!

      We’re getting a rotisserie chicken and making mashed potatoes and that’s it!

    5. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      We are doing the same thing! Sunrise walk was epic today, and we are going to go out for Thai food later. Also with a 100% tip.

  16. Jongst*

    Jongst = joy + angst

    Joy because I finally got my dad to tour assisted living communities during his visit, Angst when he decided to cancel everything because the trip here took an extra half an hour.

    The joy of a spotless kitchen with plenty of room. The angst of cleaning a whole house on four hours of sleep, knowing the kitchen will be a nightmare in a couple days.

    The joy of finally achieving perfectly uniform thin slices of celery. The angst of the passive-aggressive comments about how they should be chopped smaller.

    The joy when mom said her husband decided not to come. The angst when he decided he would come after all.

    And under it all, the paranoid angst that somewhere, the anxiety-ridden rescue cat peed on a guest’s items because I can swear I smell a whiff now and then but can’t find it.

    It’s a jongstapalooza.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I love the jongst word. I am picturing you cheerfully agreeing with all the passive aggressive celery comments to throw the person off.

      My husband and I were friends with a couple … well, he was friends with the husband, and the wife kind of came along. If we went out to eat, she’d have drinks. She weighed all of nothing, so after her second drink she’d be sloshed and aggressively passive-aggressive. She’d criticize the strangest things about my husband. For example, she randomly said he was like all men and didn’t know how to cook. My husband was a professional chef at one point and has a dish named after him, so this was the most random insult she could have chosen. He wasnt insulted so much as confused. He explained to her that he does most of the cooking in our house (and I’m the sous chef!). She said that couldn’t possibly be true, because she’s seen our kitchen and we don’t even have a baking station!

      (wtf is a baking station?)

      So to derail this weird convo, I jumped in and looked at my husband as if she had just said something revelatory and said “She’s RIGHT, we DON’T have a baking station! Why, all our cutting boards are just stacked up above the fridge!” and I looked at him like he needed to explain himself while she looked at him triumphantly. He looked at me like he was going to get me later, and then jumped in and picked up what I had laid down. We went back and forth and confused her.

      We just made a game out of it. Removed the attachment to whatever she was on about and just had fun with it.

      I wish you peace amongst the angst, and teflon energy to give you detachment from the worst of it.

    2. SofiaDeo*

      “The celery should be chopped smaller”?!?!? Wow, talk about looking hard for something to nitpick! Hmmm, maybe tell them *they* can do whatever dish has that celery in future…and if it’s the stuffing inside the turkey, that’s a huge load off your shoulders lolololol.

      1. allathian*

        Reminds me of the time when we stayed with our maternal grandma for a week before our parents could start their vacation and join us. Her cat had just had kittens and their eyes had recently opened. They were so cute that we couldn’t bear to part with them, so we “kidnapped” them to our room overnight. The kittens got their revenge, though, when they peed in the open suitcase where we kept our clothes. Our grandma was surprisingly mild, given that the frantic mommy cat who missed her kittens yowled and kept her awake much of the night (she slept downstairs where the cats were supposed to stay and we slept upstairs). That said, she wouldn’t lift a finger to help us with the laundry, as we had a suitcase full of clothes to wash, except to show us how to use the washing machine. I was 12 and my sister was 9 when it happened, and I should’ve certainly known better. Thinking back on it, I’m just surprised she never came upstairs to see if we had the kittens…

        1. Observer*

          That said, she wouldn’t lift a finger to help us with the laundry, as we had a suitcase full of clothes to wash, except to show us how to use the washing machine.

          I love it. She sounds like a smart lady.

  17. Have you had enough water today?*

    Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate. I hope the holiday is peaceful for you.

  18. Carrots*

    This questions is borne out if spending time with family this week. I have noticed that most of them women over 70 in my family are fairly negative, gripey, bitter people (or at least act that way around family). Something or someone is always wrong in their eyes. How can I lay the groundwork and positive habits now (in my 40s) so that I have a positive outlook on life and people in my elderly years? I’d rather be the loopy fun relaxed grandma than the bitter anxious nitpicking grandma!

    1. Geeyourhairsmellsterrific*

      I think the key is staying as healthy as possible. I feel like I get negative and gripey when I’m in pain and/or otherwise not feeling well, and I think that’s why older people often seem that way, because they are in pain. Of course, attitude plays a part, too, but I think physical health is the key.

      1. Carrots*

        That’s a good point. Staying as physically healthy as possible and also building the habits to handle pain and other challenges in the future (stretching, movement, meditation, therapy, etc.)

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Hack your confirmation bias – focus on what you’re grateful for, and you’ll see more to be grateful for.

      Give out of your overflow – your time, money, energy, a smile, a kind gesture, a thoughtful note. Be on the lookout for ways to spread love. Giving out of your overflow means tending to your own joy too, so watch for that. Don’t be a martyr. Give from the same place you want to receive from.

      1. Ripley*

        I agree! I started practicing gratitude on the advice of my therapist, and it really has changed me. I don’t complain as much any more, I truly count my blessings, and I focus on all the ways I am lucky instead of dwelling on the ways I am not. I am much happier, and I imagine, more pleasant to be around.

    3. Charlotte Lucas*

      I think it’s something that starts younger than you think. But it gets magnified as people age, retire, and often aren’t feeling that great (physically but probably mentally, too).

      It’s possible that you were more shielded from that dynamic when you were younger.

    4. Angstrom*

      I’ve noticed that too — some people seem to grow kinder and more open as they age, while others seem to shrink and become hard and bitter. I think a lot of it is the attitude to change: is it “That’s new! I might want to try that!” or “Things never used to be like that. It’s all going to hell.”
      Try new things. Be curious. Dare to look silly. Understand that things change for a reason. Look for the positives or alternate perspectives. You want to dye your hair pink or go dancing or try Ethiopean food or volunteer with the trail crew or learn to play the ukulele? Why not?

      1. Angstrom*

        One thing I’ve found useful when I have a negative reaction is to ask myself “Where’s the harm?” When what’s causing me to grump is something like What Those Darn Kids Are Wearing These Days, I realize that the only problem is that I think it’s ugly, and the actual harm to anyone is zero. Then I can laugh about what I wore as a kid…

        1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

          Also, I’m old enough that I’ve seen styles flow through several cycles at this point. The first time I was all “oh god, *that* is coming back??!!” But now I’m just fascinated by *which* aspects got picked up to bring forward and which are quietly being dropped (at least this decade).

          1. londonedit*

            Yeah, I’m early 40s so I’m experiencing it for the first time – all the things we wore and bought in the 90s are now ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’ and kids are going to 90s-themed parties. My initial reaction was WTAF because to me the 90s were, what, 10 years ago? But then I remembered that in the actual 90s, we were all obsessed with 60s stuff and we were always having 60s-themed parties. Which my parents thought was bizarre. As Elton John rightly pointed out, it’s the ciiiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiiiiiife…

            I feel like I want to become more open-minded as I get older, not less. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing that everything new-fangled is terrifying and wrong, but actually I think a much healthier mindset is to learn about new things and maybe even embrace them – or at least not reject them out of hand simply for being new.

    5. Kayem*

      My grandmother and mother were/are both the bitter, critical, everyone-does-everything-wrong kind of people. And it’s exhausting. I’m not sure how I managed to avoid it, despite all those years of being raised by such people. Maybe I got lucky with the era I grew up in or my dad’s easygoing genes balanced it out.

      Part of my coping mechanism for not turning into my mother is to find the absurdity in it. Not diminishing the feelings I have about whatever it is, though, just looking at it from a different angle. She’s unable to do that. To her, everything is The Worst.

    6. Pom Mom*

      70, getting over cancer, still pretty optimistic. Practice your faith, whether traditional or nature lover. Play bridge or pickleball or something. Volunteer, especially with animals who think you are a hero for giving them a 10 minute walk and a biscuit. Get an older small dog and spoil them. Take walks. Join a book club. Hang out at the library. Help a neighbor rake their yard. Make new friends and cherish old ones. Write a letter to someone who may be lonely.

    7. Hydrangea MacDuff*

      I had one grandma example from each end of the spectrum and what I learned from my beloved positive grandma was to never stop learning. Try new things, meet new people, take classes, volunteer, travel, stay physically active, and read READ READ. She lived to 95 and one of our last conversations she was wishing she could ski that winter and asking me for a book recommendation.
      My other grandma started acting like the stereotype of an old person in her 50s, in terms of judgement and risk aversion, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        Yeah, that keeping an interest in new things is something all my aunties do that I really admire. One likes to keep up with the latest books, the other two with the latest movies and shows — one aunt in her late 80s went to the Taylor Swift movie and came out a total Swiftie! Another in her late 80s went to the Barbie movie and loved it!

    8. Tasha's Last Week*

      I wonder if it’s about nurturing your sense of humour, of play. That gives people perspective. The perspective to know that not everything is serious – not everything matters.
      I’m not making MUCH sense here, but that’s my half-baked theory!

    9. Elizabeth Bennett*

      My sister (former RN) once told me that in this age and stage (our father entered his 70’s), people who are not content and have regrets with how they have lived their life tend to be the angry, discontent elderly people. Given our father’s history of never really being happy with how things in general are going and forecasting doom & gloom over things over which he has no control, this is ringing true. He’s 75.

      My husband’s grandmother, at the ripe age of 93, is generally happy. She had a terrible childhood, but seemingly a good adulthood.

    10. Donkey Hotey*

      I refer to that as “hardening of the opinions.” To the advice above about gratitude and generosity, I’ll add: adventure. Nothing huge, just see new places and meet new people besides the wait staff.

    11. Rainy*

      I think that just having fun and finding delight in the world makes a big difference, as does not being judgemental about other people’s choices that work for them even if they’re not what you’d choose.

      My mother used to be really awful to be around–bitter, negative, angry, judgy–and she had a similar realization after spending time with her mother. She really turned it around, and I honestly don’t know how because I’ve never seen a transformation like that. She’s got her problems, as do we all, really, but she’s a lot kinder and more fun these days. She had a really difficult time with her mother’s decline and death recently, and I encouraged her to seek therapy whenever she brought it up as a possibility so I hope she’s doing that. I think therapy is probably also a good thing.

    12. glt on wry*

      Acknowledge your envy so that you can try to move past it. Just one example: I used to (silently) mock and resent women and teenage girls who to me seemed ‘overly attached’ to their mothers. Texting every day! Taking spa days together! Then I realized how warped I was becoming. Why was I so bitter that these people were happy? Not a mystery to reveal that my mother and I didn’t have that kind of relationship and that maybe I wish we had.

      Once I acknowledged it, I was able get rid of that one snaggly weed go before it took over more space. I try to do this self-examination now whenever I start getting grinchy.

    13. Tammy 2*

      I think this is sometimes a product of misdirected (but not always unjustified) anger about things like doing unacknowledged invisible and emotional labor for decades on end. I am trying to lay the groundwork for being a jolly and delightful older lady by politely establishing and enforcing boundaries, so that will have fewer regrets about how I have allowed other people to treat me.

    14. Old Plant Woman*

      It seems to me that you are deciding right now that you want to be a generally happy positive person for the rest of your life. I bet it’s gonna work out real well for you. Attitudes are habits. You could be ranting about how awful those cranky old women are. But you’re not. You learned a lesson and decided what you want for yourself. Doesn’t get better than that.

    15. Ginger Cat Lady*

      are they carrying more of the share of the work for family get-togethers? I had noticed the same thing at our family gatherings, but I also noticed that they were stuck with all the cooking and cleaning and planning and shopping and hosting and decorating and so on and so on.
      And they were not like that in 1:1 situations, unless the subject of holidays came up.
      I stepped up to do more and pushed others to do the same. It has made a difference.
      And I guess advice for you not getting like that is: delegate! and don’t let anyone push you to do so much.

    16. Jean (just Jean)*

      Great ideas, fellow/sister/sibling commentators: Stay healthy, stay grateful, share the joy, and keep doing whatever makes you happy. If your “whatever” changes, for any reason, don’t mourn! Just find another thing that makes you happy.
      My subversive twist: Don’t worry about being judged for doing whatever makes you happy, be that dancing, gardening, learning a new language, or finding a new lover (or enjoying an old one).
      P.S. I loved Angstrom’s suggestion to “dye your hair pink.” Not my style, literally, but it makes a hella good metaphor!

    17. Warrior Princess Xena*

      It is absolutely a mindset. I say this as a person with two grandmas about the same age, one who is the most Debbi Downer and the other who is “every day is a good day”. Biggest difference? Happy grandma, in her youth, traveled to America through war torn Germany. She says that compared to that nothing she has dealt with since has been that bad. And she always has things to do which she enjoys. Sad Grandma, by contrast, lost a lot of her social outlets from Covid onwards and has not sought out any new ones, and has turned inwards out of fear and not feeling well to the point where it’s become a vicious cycle. They have about the same levels of health issues, both live in good homes (no insecurity). It’s just a very different mindset.

    18. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I’m in the over-70 group, as are many of my family and friends. I only know one bitter old lady type (my sister). The rest of us still have a blast, maybe just slower and with a whiff of Eau de Muscle Rub in our wake. We have to take time off to deal with health issues occasionally, but most of us are more appreciative of the good things in life afterwards.
      Do you actually try to talk to your older relatives, like asking them to tell you about the shenanigans they got up to when they were younger? You might be surprised (and they might still be up to those shenanigans). I have one niece-in-law who treats people my age like we’re all doddering and hard of hearing, and you can bet I’m cranky around her.

    19. My family is like that too*

      People get most angry and bitter when life turns out very differently from how they expected and I think this has affected women of that age particularly. They expected to get married and take care of the home so they often didn’t train for a fulfilling career. Then they somehow had to work their whole lives but still had to do all the housework and their husbands do next to nothing around the house. They paid a level of deference to their own parents that their kids are often (rightfully) not paying to them. I tend to think this (and not being very bright or interested in others) is behind the bitterness in my relatives.

      1. Peter*

        I wonder if some people might have undiagnosed / untreated medical conditions (such as depression). Other possibilities could be losses (deaths of peers happening more; loss of physical abilities; unable to drive, etc.). So, counters could be getting OK with getting help for mood/brain conditions; finding ways to do healthy mourning; seeing how to take joy in what one loves and can still do.

    20. WestsideStory*

      Start cultivating younger friends. I have a set of older relatives who have gradually pissed off all their contemporaries and now speak to no one but the dwindling supply of older relatives and neighbors. We are here now visiting for the thanksgiving weekend because if we were not here they would a) be by themselves and b) have no one to listen to their crabby litanies of how everyone from the family upstairs to the car dealship to the person who took their sandwich order wrong has deeply wronged their sensibilities. I can’t wait to get back home and am planning to serve them very strong cocktails with the pumpkin pie so they will go to bed early.
      I’m giving this advice because I have friends in the city of a similar age – you’d never know it as they always seem happily engaged with friends and acquaintances of all ages. Their lives do not grow smaller because they are always interested beyond their own needs.
      I want to be THEM when I grow up.

  19. WellRed*

    Ordered thanksgiving dinner for two at grocery store. Just needs to be popped in the oven. It’ll take us about the same amount of time to eat as everyone who slaved for days. Happy thanksgiving everyone!

    1. Shreking Bawl*

      We did this too! It’s the first time I won’t be spending Thanksgiving with my 11-person immediate family (plus spouses & kids). I’m so excited that it is going to be just my husband, my pets, and me. :)

  20. Theon, Theon, it rhymes with neon*

    Joy: I don’t celebrate holidays, but on Sunday I found a local Mediterranean/Turkish restaurant that has amazing food, so my wife and I are splurging on delivery tonight to try a ton of different dishes, and we’ll be eating leftovers tomorrow!

    1. KathyG*

      Ooh, lucky you! Our favourite Turkish restauranteur retired several years ago; while there ARE alternatives locally, the only one that measures up is (1) across town, and (2) only open on weekends.

  21. Not So Evil HR Lady*

    Working this Saturday at my PT job. Pro: money to put in my savings account for a trip to Puerto Rico next year! Con: there will probably be a lot of crabby demanding customers because the store (optical retail) closes early today and tomorrow obviously. Con: the general manager is on vacation. Pro: the assistant manager is awesome and will put anyone rude people in their place. LOL

    Happy holiday or long weekend (if you don’t recognize/celebrate Thanksgiving)! Who else will be eating those cheap-ass rolls? or stealing the Brie wheel off the table? :-p

    1. Katie*

      Honestly my favorite weekend to work retail was Thanksgiving weekend. It was insane but the sheer amount of stuff happening made it fly. (I never worked Thanksgiving day though…) There was crabby people but it was also the one weekend that I was given permission to not take crap.

      I remember one crabby customer that got so mad at me when I told her no for something that she dropped her huge thing of stuff and left. My store manager saw the whole thing and was super proud of me. (20 years later and still remember it fondly).

  22. Elle*

    In case anyone needs it here’s an easy dessert that got raves last year. I got Andes candies baking chips at the store. Baked my regular brownie recipe and spread the baking chips over the brownies as soon as they came out of the oven. It was this thick layer of swirled mint chocolate over the brownies and is great with ice cream.
    Of course if you can’t get the chips plain brownies are always appreciated.

    1. Emily*

      I make an alternate version. The last step in making the batter is stirring in the Andes mint pieces. Then pour it into the pan and bake as usual. The effect is like a minty version of chocolate chips — they become little flavor bombs of minty deliciousness. People love these.

      One other thing I enjoy is to cut the brownies into little cubes, freeze them overnight, and serve with ice cream.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        >cut the brownies into little cubes, freeze them overnight, and serve with ice cream
        Swooning!! What utter bliss!! Unfortunately I just renounced eating almost all sugar. Maybe I’ll do the frozen mini-brownies for my birthday next year.

    2. Anono-me*

      I’ve been doing something similar with plain chocolate chips for years, but this… this is a whole nuther level. Plus this made me realize that I could also use the cherry or salted carmel chips as melti frosting.
      Thank you.

  23. sunny days are better*

    I’m Canadian, so tomorrow is just Thursday.

    We do get more and more Black Friday sales up north as the years go by, which is good for holiday shopping.

    Wishing all of you in the US a Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Sssssssssssssss*

      The Black “Friday” sales start sometimes the week before. Which bugs me as it’s not Black Friday that early. So many vendors with Black Friday events on right now in Canada.

      Mind, I did score on Cyber Monday last year…

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      We now have Black Friday sales in the UK. Yup, a country that doesn’t have Thanksgiving now has Black Friday. This is a relatively recent thing (last 5-10 years), so maybe we can blame it on social media or something.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          The other thing is that Black Friday usually coincides with payday, so I think the idea is to get bargains before Christmas.

      1. allathian*

        We have them in Finland too. Also Black Week and Black Month sales. I must say that I don’t mind too much, because the alternative would be pre-Christmas sales, and I don’t want to see any Christmas stuff until December.

        1. amoeba*

          Yeah, I think it’s becoming pretty universal in Europe. I don’t really even associate it with Thanksgiving, haha…

    3. londonedit*

      It’s just Thursday here in the UK, too! Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends, and happy Thursday to everyone else :)

      The whole Black Friday thing is becoming ever more ridiculous here…we don’t even have Thanksgiving so why is my inbox cluttered with Black Friday emails? The consumer group Which? did some research here which found that last year only 2% of the things ‘on special offer’ on Black Friday were actually at their lowest price – the vast majority of things will have been on sale cheaper at other times in the year. So it isn’t even really the huge bargain-fest it’s cracked up to be. Of course it’s useful to get some deals before Christmas, but I think it’s largely pointless (and my pay day isn’t until the end of the month, so I currently have no money to spend on Black Friday deals anyway!)

      1. Snell*

        On nonsensical Black Friday emails: I started receiving them the first week of November, and by the end of the first week/start of the second week, started receiving “Last chance for these Black Friday deals!”-type emails. Thanksgiving/Black Friday is weeks out????

  24. Annette Weston*

    My sister-in-law decided to host Thanksgiving this year. Three days ago she announced that she was moving the meal four hours later and instead of cooking we were going to eat at a chain restaurant famous for rocking chairs and a fireplace. My daughter and I have scrambled to put together a traditional meal, all while I’m working and my kiddo has an 18 month old, a five year old and the flu. My question is how much time would I serve for assault?

      1. Nitpicker*

        Plenty of open restaurants here (NYC). I think it’s a big day for them – and they certainly charge enough!!

    1. Polly Anderson's Christmas at Home*

      Depends on the weapon. Assault vs Aggravated Assault is 30 days vs 3 years.

        1. new old friend*

          You could make like that one murder story where the woman used frozen meat and then disposed of it by, well, cooking and serving it…

            1. Chocolate Teapot*

              I once read a short story based on the Roald Dahl one, in which the murder weapon was a frozen baguette.

              1. Bagpuss*

                I recall a short story (possibly Sayers) about the mrder weapon being a skewer which was concealedd by sticking it in a roasting chicken, to hide the weapon and breakdown the blood on the skewer.

    2. Elle Woods*

      Judge Judy would rule in your favor and rip your SIL a new one.

      Hope things go well for you & your daughter. Kudos to you to pulling it together on short notice!

    3. Aphrodite*

      Courtesy of Raymond Chandler; your post reminded me of this except I substituted turkey for the Santa Ana wind . . .

      “There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

    4. Not A Manager*

      I’m sorry. If your SIL isn’t generally flaky and irresponsible, then she’s obviously overwhelmed and has some reason to not cook, etc. Which is more important, eating certain foods on a specific day – and making yourself and your daughter bananas in the process – or being with family and sharing the day, whatever and wherever you eat? Go to the restaurant, enjoy your family, and laugh afterward about your amazing Thanksgiving adventure.

      And if your SIL *is* flaky and irresponsible? Then go anyway, and enjoy dishing about her afterward.

      1. Annette Weston*

        She is flaky – and going to the restaurant after our midday meal was the plan … until she called last night and canceled that, too.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Wait, so first she volunteered to host (presumably some weeks ago), then yesterday said “nevermind, chain restaurant”, then later yesterday said “nevermind, nothing”?
          That’s some a-one flake right there.

  25. Seahorse*

    We invited several relatives for Thanksgiving, but they all declined for various reasons. This will be the fourth year in a row that Thanksgiving is a day off, and nothing more.
    We don’t live near family, all our local friends have their own family plans, and pandemics, money, illness, weather, etc. have kept people from traveling to visit.

    Yes, my partner and I will cook something fun, probably watch a lot of MST3K, and quietly enjoy the day, but it’s still kinda melancholy. I miss being part of a big gathering, or at least being able to do something that feels a bit special. Ah well. Better than no day off, or attending a dinner with people I don’t like, I suppose. Anyone relate?

    1. GERDQueen*

      My gastroparesis is terrible right now, so a long drive to a big meal is not doable for me. I miss my family terribly, but this is this trip would not be a good idea. Most of our friends in town go elsewhere. My husband and I are going to rest, maybe hike, and cook something, but it’s definitely not the same. But I’ll toast to you tomorrow with my bland nutrition shake!

    2. Generic Name*

      Oh no, I’m so sorry you wanted a gathering but it didn’t work out (again). Maybe plan something for just the two of you next year? I share custody of my son on holidays, and this year he goes to his dad’s. So it’s just me and my husband. We’re doing a mini traditional meal. Cornish game hens, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. But in reasonable quantities. We are looking forward to the quiet time just the two of us.

    3. not nice, don't care*

      A lot of my fam are jehovah’s witnesses, so no holiday traditions to miss there. My partner’s mom & sister died recently & the remaining fam are assholes. We’re just celebrating having a long weekend together with our critters, with no catastrophes or drama.

    4. There You Are*

      I can relate. I grew up attending *huge* Thanksgiving gatherings.

      But, it turns out, that side of the family is literally racists, homophobes, and bigots.

      The other side of my family is 1,700 miles away, and I can’t travel for more than an overnight stay because of pets who require daily medications.

      In recent years, Thanksgiving was me, my now-ex, my mom, and my brother. But my ex is now my ex, my brother is dead, and my mom and I don’t see the sense in cranking out 5-7 dishes for just the two of us.

      She made her deviled eggs, though, which I love, so Thanksgiving will be a day off with tasty appetizers, at least. But I’ll also be getting a lot of laundry and other household chores done. So it will be closer to a typical Saturday or Sunday. Whee.

      1. Seashell*

        I loved deviled eggs. I like the idea of an appetizer-only or side dish only Thanksgiving. I like turkey, but I could live without it.

    5. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      Thanksgiving and Christmas have been just me and my husband and our grown son for about five years, since my Mom died (the last of her generation in our families). We still do a nice, mostly traditional meal for Thanksgiving, and something different but festive for Christmas. We do get together with my husband’s siblings + spouses/partners for a dinner between the holidays, which is always fun, and we attend my son’s church’s holiday dinner and program (which is about 99% secular, with lots of nice people). But I don’t get together with anyone from my family. My sister can never commit to anything, and her grown children always have other plans. So our little feasts are days of calm enjoyment for the three of us.

  26. Lexi Vipond*

    Does anyone feel like explaining to this ignorant Scotswoman about salads which are… just not salad? They’re mentioned in passing from time to time as something which everyone knows about – Ambrosia salad above, or jello(?) ones in the potluck thread – and I am having trouble picturing what is going on.

    (Salads which I do know – ones with green leaves and other savoury things (and MAYBE odd bits of fruit if they’re trying to be posh), potato salad with potato and mayonnaise and maybe bits of green, fruit salad with fruit and juice…)

    1. Lexi Vipond*

      But fruit salad is definitely a pudding. You wouldn’t call it ‘a salad’, because that implies a savoury part of a savoury course.

      1. Reba*

        Hm, to me (American midwest-and-south) “salad” is “ingredients mixed together, usually cold” — it doesn’t have to be savory and fruit salad definitely counts, in the “dessert salad” category if you like! As just one anecdote, in my family growing up, fruit salad (including at times, jello fruit salad lol) was on the sideboard with all the other parts of the main meal, which were served more or less all at once, and not categorized with the dessert pies and so on.

        Meanwhile the uses of pudding, dessert, sweet, and other terms in the UK and commonwealth remain mysterious to me. :)

        1. Lexi Vipond*

          Thank you – that really helps me to make sense of some of the conversations I’ve read, because I was expecting them to be savoury dishes and some of them didn’t sound savoury at all.

          They’re all the same thing really, except that you call them dessert if you’re posh, and sweet if you’re English but not posh. Or something like that. Because of course it’s all far more complicated than that, and probably fractal.

          1. londonedit*

            Actually ‘dessert’ isn’t the posh word. Posh (or posh English, anyway) would be ‘pudding’. ‘Dessert’ is terribly non-U, if you know your Nancy Mitford.

            I know the whole ‘pudding’ thing confuses our American cousins but basically in British English ‘pudding’ can be a general term that means ‘sweet course served at the end of a meal’ and it can also mean a specific dish, usually based on a steamed or baked sponge cake, like a sticky toffee pudding or a suet pudding, or indeed a Christmas pudding. Traditionally those would be steamed in a pudding bowl. We don’t have the American definition of a set custard-like ‘pudding’ here.

            1. Lexi Vipond*

              I knew I would get it wrong, because ‘pudding’ is fairly neutral to me – Scotland can be a bit ‘sideways on’ to English English distinctions sometimes!

              1. londonedit*

                Basically in the Mitford definitions of ‘non-U’ words (which are, of course, problematic and deeply rooted in old-fashioned notions of social class) using words from French or other languages, like ‘dessert’ and ‘serviette’, would mark you out as being middle-class rather than upper, because the middle-classes would assume the fancy-sounding foreign words were ‘posher’, but the real aristocracy would find them gauche (look at me, using a French word there) and would instead say ‘napkin’ and ‘pudding’. It was all gatekeeping, basically – if you were invited to a posh party and you inadvertently asked for a serviette then the assembled posh company would immediately know that you weren’t of their ilk.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          Yep: a salad is characterized as a starter or part of main meal, not dessert or “afters,” even if it is certainly sweet enough to qualify for the latter.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        You might be surprised at the sweet side dishes that go on the plate with turkey.

        Waldorf salad, Watergate salad, ambrosia, and jello aspics are all 20thc classics. (I leave the coconut and cherry out of ambrosia…)

    2. Polly Anderson's Christmas at Home*

      They are regional American dishes that came about during the fifties when boxed mix companies wanted to get people to use their products and therefore hired home-economists (fascinating profession, only love here for them!) to churn out hundreds of simple recipes that feature their products. I think the world salad comes from the fact that for a lot of these recipes you just dump a punch of stuff in a bowl and refrigerate. The Midwest and The South are probably the most famous for how these desserts just became cultural staples, even if its just various types of sugar! Look up a candle salad if you want a laugh.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        I actually kind of love the idea of the candles – but as a pudding with just the fruit and cream. Why on EARTH would you add lettuce to that? :D

        1. ReallyBadPerson*

          I would need to resurrect my grandmother to ask her. She (Southern US) made all sorts of gelatin molds with disparate ingredients (as in, they really fought), such as lemon, pineapple chunks (canned, of course), ginger ale, and olives. Sometimes, they’d even include cottage cheese. People ate them, and some of those people are still alive.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          It makes it good for you!

          There’s a terrific book on this topic called Perfection Salad, by Laura Shapiro. It covers how “cookery” became mass-produced through the designing of Home Economics as a college degree and the government’s push to get more nutritious diets to the masses, along with “training” girls to be scientifically sound wives and mothers (and have a skill that could serve them in the job market.)

    3. Charlotte Lucas*

      They’re mainly remnants of early to mid-20th century cooking. When easy-to-prepare gelatin became available from Jell-O, people who didn’t have the time and money to make aspic suddenly could, and there was a huge boom in recipes. A lot of them included vegetables and/or fruit. Marshmallows also became widely available around that time, and there was a big marketing campaign (with recipes!). They all eventually morphed into sweeter, more dessert-like dishes, but they’re still called salads.

      I have some mid-century cookbooks, and the gelatin/aspic sections are something else.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Nowadays people associate this with the 1950s and 60s, but the roots go back to late 19th century cooking.

        1. Elle*

          I also understood it as a way to make a little bit of food go further when times were tough. I can’t remember where I got that from.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            It’s really interesting, because it’s based on what was once fancy food (terrines and aspics) but came to be a cheap, widely available food that is often looked down on.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Possibly from me. There’s a medieval recipe that I’ve only heard about that an SCA friend dubbed “Wheel of Trout”. Steamed trout laid out lengthwise in the spikes of a hopefully new wagon wheel, and held in place with gelatin. It was not clear whether or not this was supposed to be served vertically!

      2. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

        Oh my God the Jello is ASPIC ::lightbulb goes off over this British/Australian person’s head::

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Yes. Jello is a brand of sweet easy to use flavored gelatin. Knox is a brand of unflavored gelatin.

          For some reason in my family the word ‘aspic’ specifically meant Jello made with stuff other than water.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            My understanding is ‘aspic’ is specifically gelatin made with broth (plus or minus other stuff). But really the rise of jello as a brand was due to the popularity of aspic in general.

    4. fanciestcat*

      Not an expert, but I believe a lot of this comes from the mid-20th century craze in America for gelatin. It was apparently quite trendy for a while to put fruits or vegetables in flavored gelatin and serve it as a salad course. Over time most of the more savory versions of this fell out of fashion until only the versions involving fruit and fruit flavors were left. Making it seem more like a dessert to people, compared to say a tomato gelatin with broccoli bits that might have been served in the past. Try googling 1960s savory jello and I bet you’ll find some good examples in images.

      1. Rara Avis*

        My step-grandmother was known to serve aspic at Christmas and I think it still qualifies as the grossest thing I’ve ever tasted.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        It was a combination of American GIs coming back from the war, having sampled Continental cuisines, and a war economy with its advances in food preservation seeking out a whole new generation of cooks and diners. A perfect convergence of technology and societal change.

    5. The Prettiest Curse*

      Don’t even ask about the weird sweet potato dish topped with marshmallows that shows up at every Thanksgiving potluck. (Unpopular opinion: vegetable side dishes should not be sweet.)
      I’m convinced that it’s just the same dish getting reheated over and over again, because nobody actually seems to like that stuff.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Also thanks to marketing people!

        My family always either did roasted or candied (cooked in butter and brown sugar).

      2. Jay (no, the other one)*

        That was my mother’s contribution to Thanksgiving every year. Her mother hosted and made the turkey. I ate the marshmallows off the top.

        Now our friends bring a lovely savory sweet potato dish and my husband makes smoked butternut squash. Yum.

      3. Gyne*

        Sweet potatoes are NATURE’S CANDY.
        They don’t *need* marshmallows, but I have no problem with mallow-topped mashed sweets. I am going with chopped pecans in my house, though.

      4. Person from the Resume*

        Sweet potato crunch (with brown sugar and pecans on top) is the best. It’s my favorite winter holiday dish possible because it does taste like dessert but is served as a side.

        It’s basically the same dish as the carrot soufflé except different orange veggie boiled and mashed in and carrot soufflé is topped with powered sugar.

        1. uncivil servant*

          It’s dessert round one for me! I can’t quite get behind piling it onto my fork with turkey and peas, but I leave it till the end of the plate and get a mini dessert. Then I go back for seconds with another round of mini dessert. And then real dessert later.

          (I’m Canadian but an American relative introduced this at a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner once and I love it.)

    6. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      My grandmother and one of her groups of friends (might have been her church’s women’s group?) used to have a monthly “salad luncheon” where they’d each bring a salad. It was definitely heavy on the pasta salads, potato salads, and gelatin salad options. I think as long as it was cold and a bunch of stuff mixed together in a way that ingredients could not easily be picked back out, usually coated in some kind of flavor, it was a salad.

      (Once grandma stopped cooking, I had to remember to buy a gelatin fruit salad at the store on the weekly shopping trips those weeks. Originally the list just said “salad for salad luncheon” and I’d buy things like salad-in-a-bag green salads, but apparently no one wanted to eat those at the salad luncheon.)

    7. goddessoftransitory*

      “Salad” is an umbrella term in the US in the way “pudding” would seem to us re: Britian. I grew up thinking of pudding as a very specific soft dessert–basically Jell-O pudding (or the kind you cooked on the stove to be fancy.) I was well into adulthood before I heard the term applied to what I would have considered meat casseroles, like black pudding.

      So while there are certainly green salads, consisting of green leaves and other veggies with dressing, there’s also everything from pasta to ambrosia to Jell-O ones, that seem like they should be classified as main dishes or desserts. I think the only hard and fast rule is that they need to be cold when served, and contain some kind of vegetable or fruit matter.

      1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        My sister-in-law was shocked on her first trip to Germany, where “salad” usually consisted of meat, potatoes, cheese, and pickled extras. She told me she’d never had such a craving for lettuce!

        1. amoeba*

          When was that? And where? I mean, I’m German and can confirm that we do have lettuce salad here – indeed, the German word for “lettuce” is literally the same as for salad (Salat)! And if you don’t specify, that’s what most people would expect (if you order a side salad, it’s always lettuce with maybe some carrots or sweetcorn or whatever to look fancy).

          Yes, potato salad is also huge, as is pasta salad, and it probably depends on the region. Those do unfortunately often contain some bacon or ham, traditionally. We do also have “meat salad” but that’s usually more eaten as a sandwich spread.

          But I’d say the standard definition of a “salad” here would definitely be either lettuce or other crude veggies with dressing and maybe some protein toppings (feta cheese, egg…) And it has not changed that much since at least the 90s. So I feel like your sister was just unfortunate and went to a place with horrible cuisine!

            1. amoeba*

              Yeah, that would be the meat salad I mentioned! And if you add (Swiss) cheese, it becomes a Swiss Sausage Salad, haha.

              They do exist! And before I became mostly vegetarian, I actually liked them, like, on sandwiches. Like a tuna salad kind of thing.

              They’re usually not what we consider a typical salad though!

              1. Phryne*

                I’m not sure we have the same thing in mind. I would have expected something like tuna salad/potato salad/hussar salad, various ingredients mixed with e.g mayonnaise you can put on bread. This, however, was a plate of sausage slices with raw onion in vinegar… and nothing else…

                1. amoeba*

                  No bread with that? Interesting, would have expected that, but then I’m not Bavarian! The one from my region does involve smaller pieces and mayonnaise, but I have to say I like the one without, not quite as heavy…

        2. WestsideStory*

          I took Mr. Westside with me on a business trip to Germany some years ago. He loved the food, being a traditional meat and potatoes kind of guy, and enthusiastically posted photos of our restaurant meals on Facebook.
          One of his friends queried back on FB: “where are the vegetables?”
          He replied: “in another country.”

    8. Sitting Pretty*

      My grandparents owned a little restaurant in Oklahoma and they were both great cooks. The biggest section in my grandma’s recipe box was behind the “salad” tab. I didn’t really think much of this until long after they were gone but salad is really anything combination of things you can mix together and keep refrigerated and will stay good to serve later. Great for restaurants, big families, or Sunday dinners.

      This means salad almost always has a dressing/binder of some kind as a primary ingredient, whether it’s mayonnaise (most of the time) or sour cream or jello or some other kind of vinegar-and-oil dressing.

      So yeah, potato salads are in there. But also, egg salad, chicken and tuna salad, various cole slaws, ham and pea salad, pasta salads of many varieties, fruits or veggies suspended in jello, fruits mixed with custard, many kinds of bean salads, corn salad, and lots of vegetable-and-starch combinations. The one notable omission from was the green-leaves type we think of now!

    9. RagingADHD*

      As far as I’m concerned, they are nothing but torture devices for otherwise innocent seeming grandmothers to inflict maximum suffering on their unwitting grandchildren. My grandmother had a whole repertoire of Jello “salads,” with anything from canned mandarin oranges, or peach slices, or marshmallows, suspended in it like a fever dream. Served with either cottage cheese or (I am not kidding) mayonnaise.

      Vile. Absolutely revolting.

      1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        Or delicious, cold, fruity, sweet but slightly tangy food to offset the rich main courses on a holiday. Potato, potahto. :)

    10. Jello salads yeah!*

      As an extra historical aside, the popularity of gelatin salads are often found at a higher rate among areas of people of Scandinavian descent in the US and especially Lutherans in the Great Plains and Midwest. The popularity of such dishes has stuck around in these communities when it dwindled in others supposedly because of the enjoyment of gelatin and that the gelatin texture was common in Scandinavian dishes. And still today, if you find yourself at a Lutheran potluck in the Midwest US you’ll have 90% gelatin salads served for the meal. Including savory gelatin dishes. It’s an experience!

      -Signed the great great Granddaughter of Norwegian and Swedish Lutheran immigrants to Minnesota

      1. allathian*

        That’s interesting, and a difference between Finland and Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Norway). Jello salads aren’t a thing here, at all.

        We do have a cold meat dish (aladobi, from the French à la daube), that’s essentially cooked meat cubes with gelatin added to the meat juice and served cold, tipped on a plate. Actually this sounds a lot like aspic!

        My dad loves it and it’s been a must at our Christmas table until recently. Nobody else’s particularly fond of it, so when we started hosting Chrismas, we stopped buying it after the second time my dad canceled at the last minute (he’s become a bit of a recluse as he’s aged, and doesn’t celebrate any holidays anymore).

        1. DistantAudacity*

          Yeah, jello salads aren’t a thing in Norway either :)

          Things-in-aspic was a thing in the 60s and 70s, but certainly not anymore!

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            How about using sour cream where I would expect not-sour cream, to accompany sweet things? A Norwegian ex used to do that, but I’m not sure if it was because he was Norwegian or because he generally did things a bit oddly!

      2. WestsideStory*

        I actually think the popularity of jello-based salads in the Midwest also had something to do with the lack of fresh salad greens for the colder six months that include thanksgiving.

    11. carcinization*

      I’m a Texan, which is at least usually considered a type of American, and I first heard of “cookie salad” last year on Food Network and was completely disgusted/mystified, having never imagined such a thing existed or that it would be called a salad. It’s a dish from a different part of our huge country that I have never visited. We do have cold creamy foods in our region that I find off-putting (potato salad, banana pudding), just not that particular type.

    12. Chaordic One*

      I sort of consider myself to be a boring bland mid-western American. I’ve always had a bit of problem getting used to the idea of eating sweet things like jello salad or fruit salad (or even cranberry sauce) in the middle of an otherwise, mostly savory meal. The sweet salads just seem so dessert like, and not appropriate as part of the main meal to me.

      I have been surprised to experience a whole bunch of different kinds of vinegary vegetable salads without lettuce. The most obvious one, and something that I had seen before, is 3-bean salad, but there were a whole bunch of other things mixed together, including some with potatoes and all sorts of different vegetables. A lot of the salads seem like various canned vegetables just mixed together. They’re O.K., but they weren’t anything I grew up with. I’m really curious about aspics. I might have seen one only once and I’d like to try one again if I ever get the chance.

      1. Clisby*

        I’ve only had tomato aspic, and like that a lot. One of my grandmothers loved it, and would make it when she visited us.

    13. Person from the Resume*

      I’m an American and while all these explanations make sense I just consider them basically different foods/ food groups that have salad in the name.

      A green salad is what you think of as salad. Fruit salad is just different fruits mixed together. Then there’s the whole category of potato, tuna, chicken, ham, pasta salad which is a type of something held together by a mayo based dressing. And that ambrosia salad or weird jello salad is something I rarely encountered. I think ambrosia salad and those jello salads (which I expect to be sweet) are desserts. But my people (Cajuns) don’t really make those in my experience by my having long eaten those once or twice in my life.

      1. londonedit*

        Interestingly there’s a difference in terminology for the egg and tuna versions – I know in the US you’d call those ‘egg salad’ and ‘tuna salad’, but here they’d be called ‘egg mayonnaise’ (or egg mayo) and ‘tuna mayonnaise/mayo’. Egg mayo is a really popular sandwich filling, and tuna mayo is really popular for sandwiches and jacket potatoes (often with added sweetcorn). An egg salad or a tuna salad would be a plate with ‘salad’ ingredients like lettuce/cucumber/tomato etc, plus sliced egg or plus tuna. Or like a tuna nicoise salad.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          But interestingly, the “egg mayonnaise” and “tuna mayonnaise” can be converted into “pasta salad” simply with the addition of pasta. Whereas hot things mixed with pasta would not qualify.

    14. beep beep*

      Lots of people have said accurate things about the 50s boom of marketed cheap gelatin and marshmallows (and home appliances! Mixers, large refrigerators, etc, becoming affordable to the middle class), but I will also throw my hat in the ring with my most beloved “salad”, strawberry pretzel salad. It’s made by baking a mixture of crushed hard pretzels and butter in the bottom of the pan, then layering on top whipped cream and strawberry jello with bits of fruit in. It’s delicious!

    15. WorkingRachel*

      As others have said, “cold things mixed together” is the meaning of salad that encompasses all of these variations.

      I was brought up as a Minnesotan, Scandinavian Lutheran, and in my mind salads are also not desserts, even when sweet. I have fuzzy memories that at church potlucks the Jello salads and similar sweet “salads” occupied a separate table or section between the main dishes and the true “desserts” (bars, cookies, pies, etc.). Perhaps as though they were some kind of palate cleanser. Perhaps also because they did, indeed, occasionally include vegetables (I still like Jello salads that include shredded carrots–I think my mom made something along these lines called “sunshine salad”).

  27. fanciestcat*

    I used to be fairly into gaming when I was younger, but fell out of it a long time ago. For reference, the last console I owned was a PS2. Now that I have more time again, I’m considering getting a PS4, mainly because it’s cheaper than a PS5 and has some long awaited sequels to PS2 games I played (Psychonauts 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, Lego Starwars Skywalker Saga). People on this site have pretty good taste, any recommendations for PS4 games I could try? I generally like RPGs and puzzle games.

    1. YoYoRo*

      So many but depending on the difficulty level here a few to look into. It’s a mix of things so hope there’s one you enjoy!
      – Crow
      – Immortals Fenyx Rising (Ubisoft’s BOTW)
      – Outer Wilds
      – Tails of Iron
      – Ghost of Tsushima
      – Journey
      – Detroit Become Human
      – Life is Strange

    2. Polly Anderson's Christmas at Home*

      Not sure if Ikenfell is available on PS4, but its worth a look! Also Genesis Noir is very good.

    3. Smap*

      If you like Double Fine (from Psychonauts), you probably already know about Broken Age.

      I can’t recommend Nier Automata highly enough.
      If you like puzzles plus RPGs, check out Tunic.
      Other games you might enjoy that are available on the PS4:
      – Persona 5 Royal
      – Inscryption (or Slay the Spire if you want similar card game-based play)
      – Return of the Obra Dinn

    4. anon24*

      My favorite RPGs that (I think) are available on PS4:
      The Witcher 3 (absolute favorite game)
      Horizon Zero Dawn
      God of War
      Red dead redemption 2

      Of course Skyrim is just an absolute classic, and I would assume it’s available on PS4 but I don’t know.

      1. amoeba*

        Yes, The Witcher 3 is so, so good! I’d personally also recommend the other two, they were great in their own right – but obviously dated by now. I played on PC, so cannot comment on the PS version.

    5. new old friend*

      The Talos Principle is hands down my favorite puzzle game– feels similar to Portal but a little less obtuse and more uplifting of a story.

      I think FFXIV is dropping PS4 support at some point(could be wrong, I’m a PC player), but while it’s an MMO, it’s *extremely* Kingdom Hearts. (There’s one boss fight that you seem moments from losing until you get a cutscene of your friends believing in you very very hard, which gives you the strength to win. And also a group of 13 (but sometimes 14) people in black robes and terrible terrible conference room design.)

    6. Gatomon*

      The PS4 is a great console! General suggestions, lots of these are remasters from PS1/2/3 eras you might have missed or want to play again:
      – Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX (remaster)
      – Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy (remaster)
      – Spyro Reignited (remaster)
      – Okami (remaster)
      – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (remaster)
      – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
      – Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (remaster)
      – Skyrim (remaster)
      – Fallout 4
      – Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
      – Stray
      – Chicory: A Colorful Tale (I played on PC, so YMMV with the coloring mechanic)

      These games are on the more violent/grim end of the spectrum so they may not appeal to you, but:
      – The Last of Us Part I and Part II
      – Red Dead Redemption II (prequel, no spoilers for the first)
      – Ghost of Tsushima
      – GTA V
      – A Plague Tale: Innocence (this might be the toughest storyline on this list, downright terrifying, and the sequel isn’t on PS4, but… Amicia and Hugo stay with you)

      I haven’t played these myself yet, or disliked them personally, but they are well regarded:
      – Star Wars: Jedi Survivor (if the port is well done, my copy for PS5 arrives Friday!)
      – God of War
      – Assassin’s Creed (I dunno, there’s a trillion of them it seems, I can’t figure out where to start myself)
      – Marvel’s Spider-Man
      – Elden Ring (the dentist is less painful to me)
      – Persona 5 Royal (the JRPG of JRPGs)
      – Horizon: Zero Dawn (I tried this right after RDR2 and it just didn’t grab me coming off of that masterpiece, I’ll retry someday)
      – Death Stranding
      – Bloodborne


      1. Phryne*

        – Assassin’s Creed (I dunno, there’s a trillion of them it seems, I can’t figure out where to start myself)

        I play on PC so don’t know about PS4, but my favourite of the more recent ones was AC Odyssey, for story, ambience, gameplay. Other people’s opinion may vary of course :) But that would be my recommendation to someone who wants to try one.

        Also The Witcher 3 is simply one of the best (RPG) games ever made.

    7. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      Cannot recommend the Yakuza/ Like a Dragon series and its spinoffs Judgment and Lost Judgment highly enough. Serious crime drama in the main story (except for Ishin, which is a serious historical drama), absolute delightful bananapants chaos in the minigames and side quests. Y7 (“Like a Dragon”) is a straight up turn based RPG.

  28. Seahorse*

    Ha, I’m American and don’t understand this either! Salads should have leaves, and anything with jello or cool whip is a dessert as far as I’m concerned.

    Granted, I still eat and enjoy the fruit-and-sugar dishes, but I quietly judge them as not being “real” salads.

      1. But what to call me?*

        Still not a salad, as far as I’m concerned. It’s just a bowl of pasta with some other stuff mixed in.

        Not that that’s a battle I have any interest whatsoever in fighting, but I think I’ll always have a little ‘grr that is not salad!” running through the back of my head in response to all of them.

    1. allathian*

      How about potato salad?

      My sister makes a great “fruit salad” (actually compote) every year for our Christmas dinner. It contains both fresh and canned fruit, and it isn’t painfully sweet. We eat it with vanilla sauce.

  29. PivotTime*

    My roomie and I are having some friends over for a PJ Turkey Day gathering. Roomie is picking up a pre-made Turkey Day dinner for us all. My only ask is the canned cranberry sauce- if it doesn’t have ridges, it’s not cranberry sauce to me. My job is picking up the apartment. I love my family but I’m spending three weeks with them around Christmas, which is enough.
    Two days off not hearing the demands of academic library patrons (I hate them all right now), hanging with friends and then job hunting sounds great. I’m so miserable and exhausted at this job that it just sucks out all my energy. I need the time to gear up for dealing with another week of these entitled, demanding (insert a swear word here).

    1. GoryDetails*

      The PJ Turkey Day sounds lovely! (I also have a fondness for the canned cranberry sauce. On one episode of a kid-themed cooking show, the challenge was to make food imposters – dessert dishes made to resemble savory dishes – and one brilliant young cook made a Thanksgiving dinner complete with the canned cranberry sauce, complete with the ridges. She got serious applause from the judges for that touch!)

    2. carcinization*

      I love the wiggly cranberry sauce too but don’t get it that often… this year we’re having a spinach salad with pecans and dried cranberries as a side for our turkey lasagna, so the cranberry component is still present, just in a different form.

      Today I spent most of the day cleaning the duplex I share with my husband as my mom is coming to visit for a couple of days… mostly getting the spare bedroom to be habitable for a human rather than a cat, and cleaning the floors in the rest of the house/moving the cat’s stuff temporarily into the master bedroom.

    3. Clueless faculty*

      Ok to all – I’m faculty. How do I make sure I’m nice to the librarians (who are mostly also faculty but still have to put up with the rest of us?)

  30. Sssssssssssssss*

    So, we lived in the US for three years (ages ago) but never sampled what look like to be “standard” American Thanksgiving dishes.

    Like, what is up with the green bean casserole with the canned fried onions? I could not wrap my head around that one. Does it taste good? Do people actually like it? Or is it just me who doesn’t like green beans that prevents me from appreciating this dish?

    Marshmallows over sweet potato sounds awesome but we didn’t try that one either.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I’m allergic to mushrooms, so I always get spared, but my best guess is that it’s a salty dish that hits similar notes to a vegetarian risotto. I call it “Cream of Death Casserole,” so YMMV.

    2. Paris Geller*

      Green bean casserole is very divisive. I love green beans-hate green bean casserole. Way to ruin a great vegetable if you ask me!

    3. Sindirella*

      I find green bean casserole to be absolutely disgusting. But as Paris Geller says, it’s a very divisive dish. People either love it or hate it. I ban it from my home.

    4. Charlotte Lucas*

      I have lived in the US my entire life and have never eaten either dish (or been to a Thanksgiving where they were served).

      1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

        Same…it would be interesting to do a geographic poll. I’ve grown up in SoCal (various places) and never had green bean casserole, but there have been just cooked green beans.

        1. California Dreamin’*

          I’m also a SoCal native and never had green bean casserole until I married into a midwestern family. I absolutely love it, though! (My husband the Nebraska native won’t touch it.)

    5. Jeanne*

      I absolutely love green bean casserole. Mushroom and onion flavors go super well with green beans, in my humble opinion.

    6. LizB*

      Green bean casserole is enjoyed by many people, but if you don’t like green beans you probably wouldn’t be one of them! From my perspective, it’s hard to go wrong with beans in a creamy mushroom sauce with crunchy onions on top. In the past I’ve made a version from scratch instead of using canned components, and I love it.

      1. Clara Bowe*

        +1. Love a from-scratch green bean casserole. But I am from the US Midwest and enjoy a variety of foods that ideally look as though they have been dropped from a height.

        1. amoeba*

          Yeah, honestly, this European is mostly just confused by the canned food as standard for a fancy holiday dinner. I mean, nothing against convenience food! But it just seems weird compared to all this effort with the turkey…
          I’d love to try one from scratch, might have to try making it myself! It does sound good to me, in general. And I like green beans.

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            Except that it seems like you have to make cranberry sauce from scratch for Thanksgiving, and I’ve only ever had it out of a jar at a UK Christmas.

    7. anywhere but here*

      +1 to loving green bean casserole. I think there’s enough other things going on (fried onions. . . yum) that it’s possible to enjoy it even if you don’t like green beans. As a kid, I really just liked it for the topping and the cream of mushroom (even though as a child I would have said that I hated mushroom).

    8. Panicked*

      I did not grow up eating green bean casserole, so I have no affinity for it. My husband, however, would riot if it wasn’t on the table.

    9. Generic Name*

      Well, if you don’t like green beans, so that makes it hard to like green bean casserole. I personally love green beans, but I’ve never liked the casserole. Maybe the kind I’ve had were made with canned green beans? I remember it being mushy. No thank you.

    10. Elle Woods*

      I love green beans, especially fresh from the garden, but I hate green bean hotdish. Even when made with fresh green beans it’s not great IMO. My take is that it’s one of those dishes that became tradition and no one really stepped up to say “nope, not on my table.”

    11. Slinky*

      Green bean casserole is kind of an old-school thing and its popularity has been fading for years. Some people still like it, but most people find it pretty gross. That said, I make a version with fresh ingredients, which we love every year.

    12. Donkey Hotey*

      Green bean casserole? No thank you.
      My grandmother in laws green beans (which to be fair should be called “bacon with dinner green things in the middle”) yes, please.

    13. YouwantmetodoWHAT?! *

      My family LOVES green beans casserole and I always have to make at least a double batch. Crispy onions are delicious and can be put on SO many things.
      FYI, my go-to green bean casserole is the one on the back of Trader Joes portabella soup box (that soup concentrate is fantastic and as soon as TJs has it I start loading up (it’s seasonal). I use it for the base of quite a few dishes.

    14. Forrest Rhodes*

      As a kid I was “Meh” about green bean casserole; as an adult, I love it.

      When it’s not for Thanksgiving, I add stuff to the basic recipe to turn the dish into a full meal, like: a bunch of cooked chicken (either defenestrated from a grocery-store roasted bird or a can of chicken white meat) plus chopped mushrooms and sauteed onions and garlic and extra black pepper. Sometimes it’s plus jalapenos.

      Surprisingly good.

    15. Nicki Name*

      I’m very meh about green bean casserole (or anything else using green beans) since I don’t like them much myself. I do like yams with marshmallows, as long as I keep my portion small– they get overwhelming fast.

    16. Hotdog not dog*

      According to my aunt, we have to have it because we’ve always had it. The fact that none of us actually like it is irrelevant. (Coincidentally, according to my uncle, my aunt is also the reason we have to have scotch at Thanksgiving.)

      1. Forrest Rhodes*

        Out-loud laughing. Yeah, that does make sense! Nothing like a good double-malt to dull the pain.

    17. Justme, The OG*

      I hate green bean casserole. I love green beans but in the casserole they’re always overcooked. IMO the only good part is the onions.

    18. goddessoftransitory*

      Green bean casserole can be delicious, but proportions matter, and it must be served HOT to taste right. As it cools it gets gluey.

      I have a new variation on the recipe with a sour cream sauce and cheddar cheese topping that I’m trying this year–hope it turns out well!

    19. funkytown*

      Wow, I’m so surprised at all the anti- green bean casserole folks! I think it’s delicious and so does most of my family so I didn’t realize it was so divisive at all.

    20. RagingADHD*

      I do not like the off-the-packet recipe for green bean casserole. It is bland (tastes of nothing but pure salt) and slimy. I have made a version of green bean casserole with fresh green beans, real mushrooms in bechamel, etc, and it was so much nicer than the canned stuff.

      To me, sweet potatoes are so sweet they don’t need marshmallow. That’s too much.

    21. HBJ*

      I think green beans are delicious, but I don’t like green bean casserole. We are having it tomorrow because someone else volunteered to bring it, but I’ve never made it, and we never had it growing up. And yes, I’m in the US.

    22. carcinization*

      The green bean casserole is literally the only thing I actually like about traditional Thanksgiving food, though admittedly in my family it has more often been served at Christmas. If you want to look at a fancy version where the onions and the creamy-mushroom-liquid component are home-made, Smitten Kitchen has one. I’ve made that version a couple of times and I like it that way too, no more or less than the traditional one with convenience foods, just different. I do love green beans in almost all forms so that probably helps, but I’m sure some people love the mushroomy or oniony parts more.

    23. Retired Accountant*

      I like green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with marshmallows, once a year. I also like fruitcake.

    24. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I’m always shocked that the green bean casserole is still a thing. I remember it being popular in the 1970s, are it a few times at relatives’ houses, was very unimpressed, and figured it was just a fad that would disappear in a few years. I have no idea why people still make it.

    25. londonedit*

      I can imagine that sweet potato with marshmallows would taste really nice, but I absolutely cannot wrap my head around the idea of eating that as part of a savoury meal. Marshmallows???

      That’s the one that always blows British people’s minds, because we just can’t imagine eating something that sweet with other things that are savoury.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        I do agree and I find it hard to imagine – but apple sauce and cranberry sauce are quite sweet and they are had with roast dinners.

    26. Becky S*

      Green bean casserole was developed by a woman working for Campbell’s Soup in Camden NJ decades ago. It used Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and those strange canned fried onions that were a Campbell’s product. She died a few years ago and had an obituary in the NYT.
      I happen to love the dish, especially with extra onions, but I understand why people don’t like it.

    27. Ellis Bell*

      I am British and have only sampled green been casserole once – I wasn’t expecting much because I don’t like green beans. It was really delicious though!

  31. Nerdgal*

    My SO and I have both had Covid so our kids and grandkids will be celebrating without us. I’m done with my isolation period so I will be picking up takeout for us. But we will have THREE pies because I had ordered and already paid for them. The pie baker says they should freeze well.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      Pie does freeze well. Cut it into individual slices before freezing and the you can defrost one at a time as you want.

  32. Always Tired*

    Two gripes for me:

    (1) Everyone is encouraging me to “beat the traffic” and work at home for the afternoon, but I have to be here to receive and scan the mail (it just came in at 1pm) and At this point, I’m not going to brave “get out of town” traffic to go do more work. I’m hitting the pub before going home to bake pies and I’ll make up a few hours on Friday, thank you very much.

    (2) My mother is passive aggressiving me about not spending the two nights around the holiday anymore to help prep for then sleep off thanksgiving. I have a cat now who does not like to be left all alone, who I do not like to leave all alone. Also, my dad is retired now. Part of why I used to go help was because he didn’t have time to do any prep work and did all the food stuff and polish the silver on Thursday proper. I know for a fact everything that needs to be cooked then cooled is in the fridge now, and the silver was polished yesterday.

    1. Past Lurker*

      Sorry about your mom’s behavior, but the phrase “passive agressiving” will from now on be part of my vocabulary!

  33. Jeanne*

    I’m very excited and slightly nervous to be hosting two friends for Thanksgiving dinner. It’ll be my and my husband’s first Friendsgiving and first time making Thanksgiving food for 4. We’re vegan, so it’ll be vegan versions of traditional Thanksgiving food. We’re making mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pasta salad, and collard greens, and we bought turk’y roasts with gravy and pumpkin pie and ice cream. Also, there will be wine and sparkling juice. After dinner, we might watch The Nightmare Before Christmas and/or hang out by the fire pit in the backyard. Wish me luck with hosting! I want to knock it out of the park.

    1. Rockette J Squirrel*

      Don’t think you’ll need luck, but good luck! It all sounds wonderful – Have a great time!

    2. Busy Middle Manager*

      How do you make a vegan pumpkin pie? Give me ideas please, I already modify the recipe for “regular” pumpkin pie (the first time I made it I was horrified how much sugar people pour into it, how did I not realize!)

      also not sure if you’ve tried it, but I love Amy’s Veggie Loaf TV dinner with mashed potatoes and peas. I think it has a good texture/taste

      I need a holiday like yours. I’m anxious about mine, too many people bring way too much every year, act surprised it’s 3X as much as we need, ask you why you’re not eating even when your plate is full, etc. I need a simpler holiday with fire pit like you!

    3. allathian*

      I don’t think you need luck, but I hope that you also take some time to enjoy yourself. Your meal sounds delicious!

      The first time my husband and I hosted family for Christmas dinner, I was so determined to get everything just right that I spent a significant part of the evening after dinner stress-crying in the bathroom, to the point that I missed our son opening his presents. He was 3 at the time and nobody had the heart to require him to wait until I’d recovered, including me. We’re in Finland, we celebrate on Christmas Eve, presents are opened after dinner. My family was sympathetic and understanding and didn’t give me a hard time about it afterwards, for which I’m very grateful.

    4. WorkingRachel*

      This sounds awesome, and very similar to what I did with some friends yesterday! 5 of us had a vegan feast that included a rice-filled pumpkin dish, collard greens, green bean casserole, stuffing, and two pies (I’m quite proud of the pecan one that I brought), among other delicacies. There was tofurkey but it didn’t turn out well and I don’t think any of us were too upset about it. There were seitan “chicken fingers” to serve as a meat substitute.

      Hope it turned out wonderfully!

    5. Jeanne*

      Update: It went great! The food and company were good, and we ended up watching Thankskilling, which I found hilarious. We sent our friends home with leftovers.

  34. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

    Buying from liberal companies.

    I like Penzy’s spices and their politics so I decided I would use them for Christmas presents this year for my annoyingly conservative relatives. But I can’t only buy spices. Any recommendations for other places with a similar vibe?

    1. Hola Playa*

      Love this and thanks for sharing. That About Republicans webpage is pretty awesome and hilarious even if I don’t entirely agree!

      Here are some shops I love and have bought for myself and others. Some are openly liberal and philanthropic, all are openly anti-racist, most are women-owned small businesses, many have intersecting marginalized identities.

      Candles – Ellis Station
      Jewelry – dos pinceles
      Flower delivery – Farmgirl Flowers
      Plant pottery – CharlieOStudio on Etsy
      Art – LovelyEarthlings and scoutcuomo on Etsy
      Snarky cards – Unblushing on Etsy
      Leather goods – Kingsley Leather
      Leggings, work out gear, and accessories – Not Only Pants

    2. Polly Anderson's Christmas at Home*

      Finding local shops could work depending on where you are. If you’re shopping for readers, Bookshop.org is a place to buy books through independent bookstores. You could pick a bookstore with a mission they support (for example, an old haunt called A Room of One’s Own is a trans-feminist bookstore in Madison WI allows you to shop its webpage).

    3. Distractable Golem*

      Paul Newman’s (popcorn, dressing, pasta sauce)
      Ben & Jerry’s
      Amy’s frozen meals
      Berkeley Farms dairy products
      Soda Stream
      Whole Foods—just kidding, it’s owned by Amazon

        1. Distractable Golem*

          I didn’t realize that! I was listing companies that have high RILF (Republican Irritation Likeliness Factor), even if they aren’t so special in their actual business practices.

    4. Mari*

      there’s a local gift shop here called “Silver in the City” that supports a lot of great causes and has some fun gift ideas. some of them are very obviously of a liberal bent though, lol.

      1. Mari*

        oops meant to include you can just google the name and it should pop up, but if not include indianapolis :)

    5. Bluebell*

      Women’s Bean Project in CO is a nonprofit that does job training for women, and you can buy great food gifts from them to ship in the US. Not overtly political but a great cause and pro- empowering women. They have soup and baking mixes and some very nice gluten free options as well.

  35. NeonDreams*

    I’m a news reporter, so I will be running around like a headless turkey tomorrow covering everyone else’s thanksgiving, haha. I really don’t mind though, because I don’t like huge family gatherings anyway. Happy thanksgiving!

      1. NeonDreams*

        Pretty much! I covered a Turkey Trot at the local park, and a church and Salvation Army giving out thanksgiving dinners to the community. Racked up a lot of miles since one place was 15 miles away from the other.

  36. Hola Playa*

    Is anyone having useful conversations or self-education around the origins of US Thanskgiving, modern colonialism, and Indigenous rights and current issues? I’m always curious how others are feeling about it.

    1. Sindirella*

      This is such an interesting question, and something on my mind today too! I work in a Native American organization. I’m one of a very few number of non-Indigenous people in the entire agency of 500 people. All my co-workers are talking about their Thanksgiving meals, who’s coming to their houses, and how they are going Black Friday shopping.

    2. not nice, don't care*

      Sadly, I’m not hearing much about it, and I work for a very liberal-minded public university. I did hear a commercial (for IHop I think) promoting their ‘turkey meal day’ and wondered if this is a nod to colonialism or just trying to attract customers from cultures that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

    3. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      I’m interested in how schools are teaching it these days.

      In my personal life, I now use it to reflect on what I’m thankful for and not do the whole pilgrims and Indians thing that I grew up with.

      1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        I think of it as a slightly-late-season harvest festival, and give thanks to the earth and farmers. One could include a diety of their choice if that’s appropriate.

  37. HRBear*

    I submitted an informal EEO allegation and my supervisor refused to meet for arbitration. How worried should I be they’re preparing separation paperwork? I’m looking into a lawyer for when I file the formal allegation as it’s been a year of….. too much to list here.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      Oh no! You’ll have to wait for Friday’s work thread if Alison posts one as this is the non-work thread.

    2. Observer*

      If your HR has any sense and competence, not at all. This would be classic retaliation for clearly protected activity.

      If your HR is bad? Absolutely look into a lawyer.

      Do keep us posted, regardless of how it works out. (Hopefully well.)

  38. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

    A number of years ago, I finally gave up the ghost of celebrating Thanksgiving with my family (which I ALWAYS dreaded) to doing so with some local friends. It is so freeing. I actually enjoy and very much look forward to the day now, which is filled with good food, good beer, and good company.

    I work Friday, because Government, but the last few years it’s been mostly by choice (as in, I could take the day off if I wanted to, but no need, though if the day was GIVEN I certainly wouldn’t be sad!), so again, no complaints. I think I’ll be playing some Mariah classics while I work this year!

  39. Elle Woods*

    Thing I did not have on my Thanksgiving prep bingo card: natural gas smell in my house. Called the gas company, who came out within in hour, diagnosed the problem, and got it fixed. I hope that’s the only “excitement” I have to deal with this long weekend!

    1. Slinky*

      Oh no! But glad it was fixed. A few years ago, on the night before Thanksgiving, I opened my refrigerator door to discover the fridge was 60 degrees. Right before we were going to be cooking a giant meal. We were renting, so the company replaced it with a working fridge, but with the timing of the holiday, we had to wait. The freezer worked, fortunately, so with a cooler and bags and bags of ice, we got through it.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Last year, I had a once-in-30-years ice dam in my kitchen drainpipe the Friday before Christmas. (The plumber who came out to try to address it, who hadn’t seen such a thing in 30 years, was here for like four hours working on it and refused to charge me, bless hm.)

      This year, a week and a half before my Life Day feast, I walked out into my garage in the morning and found my WHOLE-ASS STANDING FREEZER hanging as open as it could be, so we had to get rid of pretty much everything, including the roast beef and ham we had bought for said feast. (We had just been saying we needed to clean it out, so the first thing I yelled after some choice expletives was “THAT IS NOT WHAT I HAD IN MIND.”)

  40. Genderqueer Goose*

    Thank you for all the advice this past weekend! Still not sure what I’m going to do, but I did decide to throw my prompt (email extended family about my upcoming top surgery) into chat got for fun, and now I’m having a lot of fun with chat gpt! I do feel like I’ve plugged myself into the evil matrix a bit, but it’s been fun coming up with prompts! Has anyone else played with ChatGPT or any other AI? What’s been your favorite result?

    1. new old friend*

      If you like playing with AI, check out the AI Weirdness blog! Lots of research-minded stuff and a lot of it is deeply hilarious

    2. Professor Plum*

      Write it like . . .
      A southern belle
      A football announcer
      Star Wars movie
      Hallmark Christmas movie

  41. BlueWolf*

    Hubby was supposed to work this weekend, but now unexpectedly doesn’t have to. Since we’ll both have the 4-day weekend free, we decided on a last-minute getaway. We’ll be in a tiny cabin in the woods enjoying campfires and audiobooks. We won’t have the usual Thanksgiving feast, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

  42. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

    Gift advice: I’m looking for some good one-handed gadgets. My dad is going to have a surgery with a long recovery period where he’ll have limited use of his non-dominant arm, and he’s someone who is generally a fan of kitchen gadgets. (He regularly uses a Salad Shooter to the point where he’s worn out the cones and had to buy replacements, and he also has something called a “Cheese Chopper” that he uses regularly to slice cheese, to give you an idea what I mean by kitchen gadgets.) He is also a big fan of the plastic package opener I bought him one year that looks like an oversized letter opener with a handle, and the year I bought him a tomato knife.

    He doesn’t cook complicated meals and he doesn’t drink hot drinks, so I’m looking for more things that help with snack/salad prep or help with opening packaging. Non-kitchen one-handed gadgets (maybe for yard work?) also welcome.

    1. D'Euly*

      My father was in the same predicament last summer.

      A chopping board with spikes to hold whatever you’re chopping in place
      A tray with an overarching handle (it’s unbelievably tedious to move things around the house when you can only carry one coffee mug/book/water glass at a time)
      A really solid pair of kitchen shears. My father’s biggest peeve was the plastic clamshells from the deli etc. which he just could not open one-handed.

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        Ooh, those adaptive cutting boards look promising! I’ll probably get him one of those.

        Good idea about the tray/basket/caddy issue. I’ll keep an eye out for something along those lines tht would be easy to carry one handed.

    2. Alice*

      There’s a machine you can get that peels, cores, and slices apples. Usually I use it to prep many many apples for sauce or pies, but if he likes apples, and he doesn’t like always eating them whole, maybe that? Good luck.

    3. Astor*

      Whatever people reply with here will be more tailored, but you might also like the “Well Equipped” series on the Epicurious YouTube channel. It has videos of a kitchen product design expert reviewing other gadgets. One of the things he usually looks for is “how easy is this to use with your non-dominant hand when it’s covered in oil”, so that might be a good place to look for ideas. Or possibly a fun thing to watch with him? There’s lots of duds but some good gadgets too. I’ll reply with a link.

    4. Jay*

      I stick blender with attachments.
      I love mine and it’s very operational with just one hand.
      It lets me do most of the things you would have to use large food processors/blenders/mixers to do and it’s small, light weight, and easy enough to use that, even when my chronic arm issues are acting up and I have to use only my non-dominant hand for a day or so, I can still cook and bake reasonably well.

    5. Anono-me*

      Menards has a ‘handy’ can opener of the one touch variety on sale right now for about $7.

      If your Pops lives somewhere that gets cold he may like a hunter’s muff. It is similar to the old fashioned Victorian muff, but in camo with gortex etc.

      A small 1-2 gallon version of a Homer bucket to use as a carrie caddy.

      Contigo spill proof mug. You need to press a buttonas you drink to have liquid c9me out of it. ( I would give everyone in the world one of these if I could. )

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        We don’t have a Menards around here that I know of, but I’ll keep an eye out for can openers at other places.

        I’ve been a Contigo mug fan for years, but dad pretty much only drinks water, milk, wine, and carbonated beverages so I doubt he’d appreciate one. (For that matter, I have several of mine that I’ve left at his house.) He does have a Contigo water bottle somewhere, which I should probably remind him of.

        I don’t think he has a muff. Not sure if he’d use one or not this year since it’ll probably be warming up by the time he has his surgery (it was supposed to be in January but got cancelled due to an anesthesiologist shortage, and they’re not even going to call to reschedule it until December) – seems like something he’d appreciate more when he gets back to golfing again. (He wears Gortex gaiters over his pants golfing now, so he’s certainly got a wllingness to apply camping/hiking clothing to his golf wear. Incidentally, if you live someplace wet, Gortex leg gaiters are a great gift for anyone who is tired of having mud all over their pants golfing in the winter.)


    This borders on the off-topic but… A dear friend of my with excellent taste in food and drink bought me a bottle of whiskey as a Christmas present after we saw it in a movie. The bottle appeared briefly in a scene and was a special commission by the director that was released as a special edition in a unique bottle. I am a rare drinker and have never had whiskey. It had been sitting in my bedroom now for a while. I got bored and decided to see what it is worth. Currently, bottles sell for $1000 to $3000 US. I now realize that if I were to taste it, each standard serving would be $75 to $150. This is too intimidating for a very amateur drinker like me. What do I do with it?

    1. Hazel*

      Sell it and buy a small bottle of something nice for yourself! Seriously it will be wasted on you (I love wine but whiskey is beyond me). Macallan Elegancia scotch, if you can find it, is smooth with no burn and comes in small bottles. Get yourself one with the proceeds of your bottle and tell your friend they got you into it …

    2. Angstrom*

      Explain your reluctance(and appreciation) to your friend, and ask if you can “exchange” it for having them hold a whiskey tasting for the two of you. Your friend sounds like someone who would enjoy explaining the different styles, and you’d get far more out of it than a few sips of something you wouldn’t fully appreciate.

    3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Frankly, I’d sell it. Odds are good you won’t even like it and it’s worth nothing once it’s opened.

  44. Corelle*

    My husband has elected himself the Deviled Egg Maker in the family within the last couple of years. He made deviled eggs for all our holiday gatherings this weekend. He asked for my input a bunch of times (how many eggs to make, which if our egg trays to use, what ratio of regular/bacon/spicy eggs I thought he should make) and then proceeded to ignore EVERY one of my responses and did what he wanted. I started to make my dish, only to find that the man boiled every egg in the house. I told him 24 was plenty, 30 if he wanted to be extra. HE BOILED 42 EGGS. We have to leave for a dinner in two hours and I am making my dish last minute and I have no eggs. I just need to vent, he is making me insane.

    1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Arrgh. The eternal battle between the non-bakers who eat hard boiled eggs and the bakers who were planning on using eggs strikes again.

      Depending on what you’re making, applesauce, banana, or flax seeds can sometimes be used instead of eggs. Or you can send the enthusiastic egg-boiler to the chaos that is the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving…

  45. Chauncy Gardener*

    Can someone please help me get in the right headspace to not kill my husband’s sister and her husband when they show up late (like an hour plus) and instigate screaming political arguments tomorrow? I want to punch them (him particularly) in the face right when they come in to just pre-empt stuff. All we ask is that they show up on time. Bring my 93 YO MIL. Nope. No can do, crackerjack. And I hate this so much,
    Any advice is welcome!!

    1. Southern Girl*

      Tell them what time dinner will be served and then eat without them if they are late. Long-time reader of advice columns here. No advice about the politics. Good luck!

      1. Observer*

        Tell them what time dinner will be served and then eat without them if they are late.

        This. 100%

        And if they complain about it, refuse to engage. If you can get away with it you can mildly invite them to leave. But once, and then refuse to engage.

        Also, is there any reason you can’t set a “No politics” rule and then shut down any political conversation when it starts, before it turns into an argument? Don’t even get into whether they are right or wrong (or delusional). Just “We’re a no politics zone today. ~~ New subject~~” I suspect that others will be happy to follow your lead.

        1. Distractable Golem*

          Yikes sorry that that’s the dynamic. Being noticeably stoned when that’s not the vibe of the gathering is pretty rude in itself, imho. Did you live through the night? Are we crowdfunding your bail?

    2. Brevity*

      If you haven’t already, check out Captain Awkward, particularly the holiday rants and advice. She is awesome.
      Also: decide to Not Care. It really is that easy. Sis shows up late? Okay. Here’s some cold food left over from the dinner we told you started two hours ago. Yelling about politics? Okay. We’re going to go into this other room now. Unhappy with any of this? Okay. Guess you’ll just have to be unhappy.
      Again, Captain Awkward has some great ways to make the Not Caring happen.

      1. WestsideStory*

        1ooo+ on this. Not caring is the way to go. This at be the first time you are trying it but it makes such a difference.

    3. Double A*

      I say enjoy that hour, it’s one less you have to spend with them.

      Also definitely start dinner on time.

    4. Jean (just Jean)*

      Variation on Brevity’s Not Caring:
      Respond to all polemic comments with “mmmm.” Then change the subject. Do they have a favorite celebrity, musician, sports team, athlete, or other bland topic that bores you silly? Talk about that. Don’t worry if what you’re saying is not factually correct. Let them correct you. Have fun with it. Example: “How hard do quarterbacks have to practice in order to make a perfect hole in one?” or “Did you hear that the Housewives of [insert city name] are all going to join a religious community right after Christmas?”
      Full disclosure: I’ve never tried this. But it might be better than grinding your molars to dust while suppressing the urge to throttle these annoying guests!

    5. Bagpuss*

      How frustrating. If it was just SIL I’d say stick to your normal timetable an she can join in when she arrives.

      However, since she’s dependent on getting MIL there, I’d consider how much you like MIL and how upset she and/or your husband will be if she misses out on everyone sitting down together, and perhaps plan to serve the main course an hour later than you planned. Let your husband make that decision as it’s his family.
      If you are having starters, maybe serve those at the original time so everyone else is less likely to be hungry and snappy.

      Maybe once everyone has arrived just say that you want the day to be a happy one so there’s an absolute ‘no talking political issues of any kind’ rule across the board. (again, this should probably come from your husband)

      Good luck

    6. Chauncy Gardener*

      Thank you to everyone who responded!
      It all went relatively well. We do need to wait until they show up since they bring my MIL and in her culture everyone MUST eat together. Apparently the other day my husband read his sister the riot act about being on time, and they were only 15 minutes late. A true Thanksgiving miracle! I think my husband (and I) are really worried that this will be our last Thanksgiving with his mom, so we really wanted it nice for her.
      And maybe because our nieces (BIL/SIL’s kids) both brought boyfriends, so they appeared to be on better behavior, perhaps coached by their offspring!

  46. Bath Towels Stump*

    I somehow managed to rip yet another bath towel, so now I’m down to just one and need to buy new ones. Any recommendations for ones that are a) quick to dry me off, b) soft/feel nice, and c) large enough to wrap around a full-figured body? Thank you!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Costco has some lovely bath sheets, if you have or know someone with a membership – they’re big and soft and like ten bucks each, though the color options are limited.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        +1 for Costco bath sheets.
        Two cautions — with the store full of Christmas merchandise, the selection may be even more limited than usual. Maybe order from their website. And don’t neglect to wash them before using them, because mine ran. Well, magenta.

    2. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      I have some micro-cotton ones from Dillards (Noble Excellence brand which I think is their store brand.). They are all cotton, very soft but not thick so they dry quickly and are not heavy. Bigger than a normal towel but probably smaller than a bath sheet. I really, really like them. The sale price was good but I’m not sure about the non-sale price

    3. Llellayena*

      I’ve got very fluffy-soft bath sheets from Walmart. Better Homes and Gardens brand. They dry wonderfully and they’re huge. They also have some good colors/patterns if you want something not just a solid color.

      1. Hazel*

        If you don’t mind buying non-neutral colours, the Fieldcrest ones at Walmart will come on good sale. Also Threshold ones at Target. They have lasted so well since Target departed Canada years ago!

    4. Observer*

      Do yourself a favor and get bath sheets, unless they have bath towels that are “extra large” (which is something that’s surprisingly rare.)

      I don’t like the least expensive Walmart towels (I don’t remember the brand.) I did get some Target towels that I really liked – reasonably soft, stayed reasonably soft after washing, and nicely absorbent.

    5. Bath Towels Stump*

      Thank you all for the feedback and suggestions, much appreciated! Off to go shopping (online)!

  47. Unkempt Flatware*

    I’m so proud of myself for finally telling my father in no uncertain terms that we wouldn’t be spending any holidays together until the end of time and that he has ruined endless holidays—even ones he wasn’t invited to. I usually dance around it and tell him white lies to protect his feelings.

      1. Unkempt Flatware*

        Thanks! It won’t stop him from trying to have the same conversation every year but I’ve laid the groundwork.

    1. Indolent Libertine*

      Good for you for Returning Awkward to Sender. I hope you enjoy your holidays surrounded by people who don’t ruin things.

  48. Alice*

    Hi folks, I need some advice about my Thanksgiving problem (which is a good one to have, don’t get me wrong, but IDK what to do about it).
    My half-sister sent to my mother and me some lovely Thanksgiving gifts. Many lovely Thanksgiving gifts. Many lovely expensive Thanksgiving gifts. Way too much for a household of two and a Thanksgiving party of three.
    How do I politely say, “I love that you are thinking of us and I really appreciate it, but this is way too much”?

    1. Phryne*

      Gifts sometimes are as much for the sake of the giver as the receiver. Personally I don’t think the cost is the relevant part of a good gift, and often prefer giving something more expensive that I think someone really appreciates than something cheap that might not get used.
      Ask yourself why the expense of the gifts bothers you. Do you wonder if she expects reciprocity? Do you often have trouble receiving gifts (or compliments) and why?
      Do you suspect she spend more than she can afford, and why do you think that? (I ask because my sister, who earns more than me, always seems to worry about my finances when it comes to spending for family gifts. And they are both perfectly fine and none of her business anyway ;))
      If you think strings are attached to the gifts, you can decide to push back gently on that, but if the feeling comes from inside of you and not external factors, leave it.

  49. Bibliovore*

    What would you do?
    A friend of mine who has been so very kind, above and beyond the call of duty loves banana cream pie. (a rarity in these parts)
    I was in a fancy cafe downtown, well-known for their baked goods and lo and behold they were selling banana cream pies for Thanksgiving.
    I texted my friend a picture and asked if I could pick one up for her. She was thrilled.
    She came by my home a few hours later and said we should each have a slice right away.
    With great giddiness and flourish, she proceeded to cut the pie (it really was lovely with edible flowers and florets of whipped cream on the top)
    The pie filling ran like a river.
    As Prue on British Bakeoff would say- the custard had not set.
    So this was a $36 pie fail.
    Especially sad because of our highly anticipated treat.
    I took a few photos.
    In the big picture of things this is a luxury disappointment.
    Do I just let it go?
    Do I email the pictures and ask for a replacement pie after the holidays? (the bakery/cafe is not conveniently located to me but I would be willing to try again)
    Do I ask for a refund?

    1. Sloanicota*

      I’m always hesitant to send anything back (particularly if I ate the liquid-y pie in some way, which I probably would have) but honestly they may be totally aware of this and have had a lot of people ask, so it’s possible they’re having a trade-in that’s no trouble for them at all to include you in. So I’d at least try once and mention it, but I probably wouldn’t push if they said ‘all sales are final’ (but wouldn’t go back to the place).

    2. Jay*

      If they are bakers worth their salt, they will do one or the other, although I would recommend contacting them as soon as possible, not waiting on it. Both because you did not get what you paid for and because if there was a flaw or mistake in a batch of their baked goods, they WILL want to know about it.

    3. Bagpuss*

      Yes, email, send the picture and explain the issue and ask for a refund, or a post holiday replacement

  50. Melody*

    I got my first dental implant today and I’m lying in bed with an ice pack on my face. It’s going to be a mashed potato and pumpkin pie day for me tomorrow. And my 15 year old has been throwing up all day. Luckily my husband is always in charge of the turkey- so he can do his thing and I’ll just laze around eating pie.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Oof, take care of you, dental surgery recovery sucks. When I had mine done, about two days after the surgery, my whole face was bruised up. I had two black eyes and looked either like I’d also gotten jacked in the mouth, or drank a gallon of chocolate milk to make myself feel better, heh. My husband wouldn’t leave the house with me until it cleared up.

    2. M2*

      It’ll be worth it, I have dental implants! Good luck with the pain over the next couple days.

      Have your teen test for Covid. One of my kids only symptoms was throwing up! You won’t want Covid if you’re recovering from surgery.

    3. Busy Middle Manager*

      Good luck, hang in there, remember the reason you got the implant. Discomfort/exhaustion from mine went away quickly and then there was a huge relief to finally get rid of that old bad tooth that kept giving me issues

  51. You really can’t do anything when someone says shut up*

    Really bummed right now, my wife just tested positive for COVID. This is the 4th year we haven’t really had a Thanksgiving and I was looking forward to it.

    1. Isabel Archer*

      Aw, I’m sorry. If you and your wife were planning to go to someone’s home for dinner, could you still go by yourself, just for a bit? If she’s been missing the holiday too, hopefully she’d be okay with it. Even just for an hour, with some leftovers when you leave, might be enough.

      1. Alice*

        OP, I hope your wife recovers quickly and fully. But please think twice before going to the party yourself. I assume that you have spent some time with your wife. If you are presymptomatic or asymptomatic, you might bring COVID to the party and continue the transmission chain. If you do go, remember that CDC guidelines for people who have been exposed say to wear a tight fitting mask when you are with other people. Also, to be confident that you’re negative based on rapid tsrs, without symptoms, FDA says to use three rapid tests over several days.
        I’m sorry about the spanner in the works if your Thanksgiving.

        1. anon24*

          Chiming in with my very personal experience/opinion, I don’t trust the rapid tests. I’ve had covid twice, once from working in healthcare and another from a friend working in healthcare and I’m very familiar with the symptoms from a clinical standpoint. The second time I got covid I woke up on a Tuesday with a cough and sore throat and a familiar burning in my lungs and rolled over to a text “I just tested positive for covid” from the person I had been with 3 days prior. I took a rapid test every day for 4 days and all of them were negative, I ended up going to the pharmacy and getting a PCR and it came back positive at the same time the rapid tests were reading negative. I also can’t tell you how many patients I’ve had who clearly have covid and go “well I’ve taken multiple tests and they were all negative.” If you’ve been exposed stay home and if you can’t take proper precautions.

        2. You really can’t do anything when someone says shut up*

          No worries, even before we knew it was COVID I was thinking we wouldn’t go if she still had the flu like symptoms.

          1. Observer*

            No worries, even before we knew it was COVID I was thinking we wouldn’t go if she still had the flu like symptoms.

            THANK YOU!!!

            People tend to forget that flu can be nasty too. So keeping anything communicable to yourself is a really, really good thing to do.

            It really stinks, so you deserve some extra credit for how difficult this is.

            If kudos from an internet stranger is cheering to you.

      2. Dancing Otter*

        Because there’s no way living together and sleeping in the same bed would have spread the virus to the LW, so clearly there’d be no risk of giving COVID to everyone else? Have we learned nothing in three years!?
        LW, I hope you’re both well soon, with no lasting effects.

          1. Pippa K*

            And I feel like Dancing Otter’s tone was appropriate for conveying exasperation at the idea of a person with known covid exposure going to a gathering and exposing others. It’s an exasperation that a lot of us share, and it was directed at a suggestion rather than a person.

            1. Isabel Archer*

              Apologies to all for my thoughtless suggestion. Definitely didn’t think it through. Sorry you got Covid too, OP.

          2. Alice*

            I mean – I said it politely further up. But I understand why Otter let some feelings show. Do you think I’m happy about having Thanksgiving with one trusted guest, instead of going to my family’s big gathering? No – but with the family not willing to test “because COVID is over,” and my mother being treated for cancer, it’s not safe to go. That’s how much our society values people with disabilities – even in a happy family. It’s hard to always be positive and considerate in the circumstances.

            1. You really can’t do anything when someone says shut up*

              Yeah it wasn’t ever an option for me to go alone since we both wfh on Tuesday, and I don’t want to get our parents sick. I’m bummed that I can’t even get some groceries for Thanksgiving, though I can improvise.

              I haven’t been as careful in the last year but it’s still annoying that we get it now, a month after getting a booster, and not last month when we went on two trips. Sorry your family are being inconsiderate, that’s too common these days.

      3. Indolent Libertine*

        Even knowing that the “household attack rate” for COVID is down around 50%, there’s no way in hell I’d welcome someone in my house who lives with someone who currently has it. Please stay home, OP, and I hope her case is mild and brief and that you escape.

      4. You really can’t do anything when someone says shut up*

        I appreciate this, I might get in on some leftovers later this week. After the positive test I didn’t bother quarantining since I figured the damage was done. Here we are the next morning and indeed the damage was done.

        1. miel*

          Shoot, I’m sorry to hear that.

          Wishing you both a quick recovery. I hope you can get some good food one way or another – a drop off from friends, or maybe a delivery of groceries or takeout.

          Take care.

    2. Anon56*

      I feel this. My mom tested positive and called us right before we were to do the 5-8 hour (Thanksgiving traffic usually means 7-8 hours) drive. My children are beyond sad they’ll miss Thanksgiving with the family. It’s too late to do the other side because they are a plane ride away. It doesn’t make matters better that we are always the ones visiting my side of the family and they never come to me.

      So, went out and bought all the food in a crazy busy store, trying to decorate, cook for tomorrow and maybe do things with local friends over the weekend. I want to make it fun for my kids, but I can feel their disappointment. They love big family gatherings because we don’t have any family close to us.

      It’s really hard for my kids. None of our other family offered to let us stay with them (we are all close and they have rooms). Hotels are expensive due to family location and with having to board our dog (mom and family don’t want pets staying at their homes) it seemed like a lot to spend without getting to see grandma! So we will try another weekend or maybe we won’t, who knows.

    3. allathian*

      I’m sorry, wishing you a mild case of Covid and an easy recovery.

      My husband and I had Covid in October. Our teenager who spends most of his time at home in his own room didn’t get it.

  52. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

    I am done with Thanksgiving dinner! Yay!

    I made turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and butternut squash (instead of sweet potatoes.) broccoli is cut and ready for the steamer. I also already carved the turkey and made stock with the bones.

    Tomorrow all we need to do is drive to my parents house and heat it all up. Mom bought pies, rolls and cranberry sauce. It’s my first time making the dinner in advance so I really hope the turkey doesn’t dry out.

  53. LawBee*

    I’m going to drop this here and move tf right on, but this is going to be a very difficult Thanksgiving for my family. We lost someone earlier this year, too young and too soon, and completely unexpected. I am DREADING tomorrow. We’ll get through it. Hopefully tonight is as bad as it gets.

    1. WeavingLibrarian*

      Hope you can take a few moments and just breathe. I am so sorry. Holidays can be so difficult. Be kind to yourself.

    2. Jean (just Jean)*

      I’m so sorry.
      May everyone be kind to themselves and each other tomorrow. And maybe put a box of tissues somewhere besides in the bathroom. I don’t know how your family handles grief but this internet stranger says it’s okay if someone starts to cry or has to step away for a private moment. All of you are only human and this is very, very hard.

    3. allathian*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope that you can find some consolation in each other’s company.

    4. WestsideStory*

      My thoughts are with you. This year we lost the person who personally hosted thanksgiving for well over 2 decades. It has been tough. Remember they are always with you. It’s T-Day now, we have hosted their memory but the tears come when you least expect.
      Wishing you peace.

  54. MERGE!*

    I have long wondered about this and thought I’d ask it here: what is the deal with people who don’t merge properly in traffic? There are a ton of merge zones on the highways and roadways near me. The ones where a sign on the side of the road and arrows on the asphalt tell drivers they need to merge. But instead of actively merging, they simply stay over there and then you have to accommodate them once their lane actually ends and they’re suddenly fender to fender with you. WHY? Are you one of these people or live with one of these people? Can you tell us why?

    *Note: I am not talking about when a lane ends for construction or something where ‘zippering’ is the proper procedure. I’m talking about a lane ending because that is simply the end of the lane.

    1. Ginger Cat Lady*

      Using both lanes for as long as they exist and zippering at the end IS the proper procedure there, too. Let people in!

    2. Busy Middle Manager*

      Inexperienced drivers, Sunday-only type drivers, not everyone even learned to drive properly, some people were always bad drivers but the DMV was in a good mood the day they learned, some people think they are being polite while breaking driving rules….

      My BFF is awesome in most ways but not a great driver. He learned to drive in a rural area of Europe and didn’t drive alot once he came here, says his driving test here was super easy and just started driving more maybe 10 years ago (around 40 for him), and I was the first person to convince him the left lane on highways is indeed for fast cars, and 60 MPH is not fast. We argued about it a few times because he was driving so slow and I was embarrassed about the people passing and glaring at us. He was just oblivious! Everyone has a blind spot I guess?

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Back in 1979 in Ireland, there was a point at which 60,000 drivers were given a licence without taking their test because the backlog was so long. Presumably at least some of those people would have failed and should not be on the road. I mean, I doubt they are effecting the situation, as most of those Merg is talking about probably didn’t get their licence in Ireland in 1979, but just an example of how bad drivers can get through the system.

        1. londonedit*

          My grandmother was given a driving licence after the war, because she drove ambulances in London during the Blitz. Her driving was…probably excellent for tearing around war-torn London, but not so much for general life in the market towns of rural south-west England.

      2. Bagpuss*

        He was probably right that the driving test was super easy. My sister worked in the USA for a few years and had to take her test there to get a US licence as well as her UK one. She said she was really shocked at how minimal the requirements were compared to the UK test . I presume it varies by State?

        1. fhqwhgads*

          It varies a bit by state, but my understanding is the US driving tests are WAY easier than basically any other first world country. It’s just very very easy to get a license in any state, testwise.

    3. Sloanicota*

      People are short sighted! They want to stay in their own lane as long as they can, especially if they feel it’s the fastest at the moment – the fact that they may actually end up losing time if they sit during the final merge is a future-them problem. And to be fair, I have certainly merged obediently when told, only to find my new lane increasingly jammed by later mergers / other slowdown and realized I would have made better progress staying in my own lane longer.

  55. K9 Names*

    I’m looking for names for a female dog. This is preparation of adopting a dog soon.

    Just whatever ideas… I’m terrible at naming and I’m looking to spark my naming-imagination!
    (Yes, I’ve done name searches)

    Whatcha got? :)

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My trend for my dog names seems to be three syllable, starts with A, kick-ass female figures. (And a one syllable middle name.)

      My Elder Statesdog Gone Beyond was Angua Grâce, for the first female werewolf in the city watch of Ankh Morpork (I think that’s right, I didn’t actually name her originally). My Junior Ambassador is Alannah Jane, for the main character in Tamora Pierce’s Lioness Quartet. And the Attache is Abigail Rose, for both Abigail Bartlet from The West Wing and Abigail Adams, and also Mother Abagail from The Stand if we insist on books. :)

      Alannah and Abigail were both almost Aoife. But I knew that if I went that route, no one who heard it would be able to spell it and no one who saw it would be able to pronounce it, and I was quite finished with that from Angua. (I have no idea how Pratchett pronounced it, but when I adopted her we pronounced it “An Joo Ah” like Angela with a U in the middle, and EVERYBODY who tried to read it would sort of helplessly go “ayn… gwa?”)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        If Abigail had been a boy, she would have been Abraham, for Mr Lincoln instead of Mrs Adams.

      2. K9 Names*

        I was trying for pirate women and those were uninspiring names (Mary).

        I pronounced it “an goo uh”.

    2. Rainy*

      I think cheeses and sausages make excellent dog names, personally.

      Maybe she’ll look like an Andouille or a Brie or something more exotic–the nice thing about cheeses and sausages is that there are a zillion varieties so something will probably work.

        1. Rainy*

          We were 100% going to name the dachshund after cheese but the night we set out to drive to meet his breeder it was super foggy on the highway and really spooky, and when we met him he had melting brown eyes and so we named him Mulder. :)

    3. Generic Name*

      I have a female Aussie mix. Tri-color, but mostly white. Has some black speckles (I guess it’s called merle?). I named her Pepper.

    4. AnonEmu*

      Make sure to do the “hollering” test – IE, if you have to stand on the back porch and call the dog back inside, does it carry and does it sound too silly for you (level of acceptable silliness varies between individuals). So names with “ee” endings or vowels you can stretch out can be good that way. Or that the name has a nickname that works for that too.

      Personally I have no shame about walking around the apartment going “Muppet, Muppeeeetttt, lil Mup-Mup, where are you?” (it’s amazing how in such a small apartment a 5.5kg cat can find so many places to hide esp if she has run off with something she knows she shouldn’t have).

      But also for pets it’s fun to pick names based on media too, or otherwise cute/silly names- and one of my cats is named Annie (after a book character I like) and Muppet got the name bc she is big and fluffy and her head is full of fluff and she goes limp with happiness when cuddled.

      In general I like going for media/nerdy names for pets. Had her personality been different, Muppet would have been Susan (Ivanova), and Annie was almost Jadzia (Dax).

      Jadzia and Kira would both make good dog names though, or Dax – lots of good Star Trek names tbh. I also know someone with a dog named Princess Leia.

      1. Stanley Kowalski*

        I love a good “hollering” dog name. “Shane” and “Henry Aldridge” come to mind for male dogs, and of course, my favorite name for a female dog is “Stella.”

        1. Bluebell*

          A friend of mine had a cat named Paul and loved going out at night to call him in. She was planning on Marsha if she ever got a female cat, but then her dad insisted on Paula instead.

        2. frystavirki*

          I actually was specifically disallowed from naming our dog Stella because my dad would have been too tempted to quote Streetcar Named Desire literally every time he said her name. It’s a huge shame, since she has a five-pointed white star on her chest and my parents didn’t like any of the other star-related names I picked, like Nebula or Nova. So we have a Luna.

            1. frystavirki*

              Yeah, it’s quite a common dog name. I think one of the most popular? We have a lot of dogs we know who I call Other Luna. It’s such a common name that I have a running joke where every black and white labby-looking dog is a member of the illustrious breed called the Luna. Other animals also accepted on a vibes basis; a binturong is a Luna. I wouldn’t have gone for it as a first choice, but it does nickname well.

      2. K9 Names*

        Right re: hollering. Her name now (not sure it’s what she was actually named by an owner) is cute but not sure it’s “easy” to call.

      1. Bluebell*

        Before we chose our dog’s name she was referred to as Princess Fluffy Sparklepants. The male dog before that was Gustav Puppyhead. There are a lot of female dogs named Stella and Bella in my area. Freya is another I hear fairly often.

    5. Chaordic One*

      I’ve always heard that the best things to name a pet after were pretentious beat poets, but, unfortunately, I’m not that literate, knowledgeable about such things, or that clever. I’ve settled for naming my pets after 1980s punk and new wave singers.

      1. Rainy*

        I usually name my pets after historical figures or characters from books, and my husband names pets after random objects, so we have a bit of an odd assortment.

    6. Sloanicota*

      My dog is a boy, but I decided I wanted simple, one syllable names for him that I could say firmly. I debated Max and Ralph and I wish I had chosen Ralph, as he’s much more of a Ralphie kind of dog upon closer acquaintance. I think Ralphie would be a good name for a girl dog too :D

      1. Sloanicota*

        There was supposed to be a second half to that comment: if you have any guesses on the breed, I like to match the name to the country of origin, so a Belgian Malinois might be Poirot or a German Shepherd might be Gerta, etc.

    7. Chauncy Gardener*

      We have had a Winnie, Lucy, Sheena, and Lil. We know of a Brie, Breezy, Goober (yes this dog is a MAJOR Goober), Tilly, Tippy, Violet and Tess.
      Congrats on your soon to be addition!

  56. I don't mean to be rude, I'm just good at it*

    For one of the few times in the last 25 years I’m not working on Thanksgiving. My 12 year old let the turkey out of the bag and now I’m expected to attend the family dinner.

    I am not overly political, but lean towards conservative beliefs and will be surrounded by uber-democrats.

    I have strong pain killers ready for me when I get home from biting my tongue all night.

    1. Holiday Time*

      Perhaps keep an open mind that they may have some good points? Caring people can find common ground.

      1. Observer*

        Sure. But both sides need to keep an open mind. And it’s a pretty big leap to assume that @I Don’t Mean is closed minded and uncaring but all of their family is open minded and caring.

        But, if that is the assumption that their family is making, maybe that’s why they are expecting a headache.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      Do they tend to discuss politics a lot? Since you aren’t especially political and just lean conservative, it seems like only directly political discussions are likely to be a problem? Maybe just say, “oh, I’m not really interested in politics, but I’d love to hear how your baby/new puppy/grandma is doing/how you are getting on at work/a hobby.”

      Of course, I don’t know your family and whether they are the type of people who can’t grasp the idea that anybody might think differently from them, but most people don’t talk about politics all that much, at least not directly. I mean, most things have a political angle to them, but if you aren’t particularly political, I’m guessing it’s just stuff like “we need to ban all guns” or “we should be taxing millionaires half their income” or “imprisonment should be an absolute last resort” that would bother you and hopefully, people would be reasonable and avoid those topics if you aren’t interested. (Obviously, those are just random examples; I don’t know what areas you are conservative about, but those are things people with conservative views might disagree on. I’m not saying you necessarily do.)

    3. allathian*

      I suppose it depends on your particular brand of conservative views. Some I find merely objectionable while others are downright abhorrent. If you subscribe to any of the latter, I guess you can count yourself lucky that they’re willing to host you.

      That said, I hope everyone atttending can talk about the things that you more or less agree on rather than picking a fight.

    4. londonedit*

      I’m always amazed at how politically charged Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to be in the US. Maybe it’s because traditionally in Britain, topics of conversation that are generally off-limits in polite company are money, sex, politics and religion. I can’t imagine getting into huge political debates with my family at Christmas – it’s just not something you talk about, any more than you’d ask Aunt Moira whether she and Uncle Gerry are still going at it on a regular basis.

      Anyway, I agree that attempting to change the subject or saying ‘I don’t want to talk about politics today’ are the best approaches. I am very much not conservative but I wouldn’t want to spend what is meant to be a happy day discussing politics.

      1. Who, Me?*

        Money, sex, politics, and religion being off the table, as it were, is polite for American dinner parties, too. I’ve sometimes quoted that during beginning dinner arguments.

        I’m a flaming Democrat, but outside of these settings I’m happy to discuss politics with Republicans, as long we’re not just shouting slogans. There’s a lot of common ground.

    5. Sloanicota*

      I’d probably ask the host if we can declare No Politics a rule for the table, and then defer to that if the subject comes up. It was a very common rule here under the prior administration even if everyone agreed politically, because it was just such an energy suck for conversation, and I don’t really want to listen to everyone’s impassioned political discourse even if I do agree with them, when I’m just trying to celebrate a family holiday. However, you’d have to know your audience in the request – for some families it would just be impossible, or everyone would know it was because of you (which personally I might prefer over having to hear their thoughts over turkey and stuffing!).

    6. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      One thing I’ve discovered that I love to to find common ground. Even on such charged topics as, for example, abortion rights. What do different sides have in common? They don’t want there to be unwanted pregnancies.

      Evaluation of their methods to get there may need to be off limits for discussion – I find myself getting up in arms at the harm of several of these methods and the systemic issues around them and etc – but if we can redirect to the fact that we care about the same x thing, it may be a way to ease the conversation. No one is going to say anything at the dinner table that’s actually going to affect policy or resources around this topic, so, let’s talk about what we share in common, and how we feel (not think or evaluate) about it.

    7. Dr. Doll*

      uber-democrat here and I am soooooo tired of politics as well that I would be grateful as all get out if someone would stuff a sock in the topic.

      maybe your 12 yo can help.

  57. AnonEmu*

    No Thanksgiving down here in Oz but we have plenty of Black Friday sales – I am keeping an eye out for portable AC units to go on sale maybe, but otherwise this is a regular week for me. I do have tickets to a local theatre production Friday night though!

    I also need to spend this weekend getting my Christmas presents boxed and ready to mail to the USA for my relatives so things arrive on time. I had Christmas knitting to finish but that’s all good to go, and I have already decided that to prevent this next year, everyone is getting hats ;p

  58. Might Be Spam*

    My daughter is out of state with her boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving so I invited three single friends for Thanksgiving. It started getting bigger and other people wanted to be invited. I’ve never been very popular, so I was surprised that so many people wanted to come and I didn’t have enough room. The husband half of a married couple wanted to blow off HIS whole family and come to my place instead. I’m pretty sure his wife yelled at him and the result is that we are all invited over to their place instead. I’m ok with it because I just didn’t want to be alone, in the first place.

    My original guests were more disappointed than I expected, and therefore we are having a single ladies Christmas Tea at my place next week. We decided that the husband’s wife should be an honorary single lady and invited her to join us. I’ve never given a tea party before and I’m spending the weekend working on a menu. I’m really looking forward to it.

    I was surprised at how well my party was being viewed, because I grew up as the family scapegoat and learned not to be social. Since my divorce and going low contact with my birth family, I’m learning that normal people are actually pretty friendly. I’m feeling pretty good about this holiday season.

    1. Holiday Time*

      Way to go bucking the family scapegoat role. Sounds like people are drawn to you lately. I hope you enjoy the dinner and tea! Thanks for sharing the feel-good story.

    2. Sloanicota*

      Aw, I too would be sad if I thought I was going to have a friendsgiving with my single friends and ended up being invited to some couple’s house (with his family there??) instead. Honestly, I would probably bow out. But if I were hosting I’d feel exactly like you haha.

    3. Who, Me?*

      “I was surprised at how well my party was being viewed, because I grew up as the family scapegoat and learned not to be social. […] I’m learning that normal people are actually pretty friendly. I’m feeling pretty good about this holiday season.”

      That was very well said and I can relate to that.
      I’m also a family black sheep and scapegoat to this day, and am always surprised how much people like my informal, slightly messy parties and ask about them. I’ll tell my little story below.
      You just know that you are popular and not alone.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        I’m the same as you folks. Sorry there’s so many of us, but isn’t amazing how nice normal people can be? I’m always astounded. In a good way.

  59. Amber Rose*

    I started therapy.

    There’s probably a million things I’d rather do than talk about how unhappy I am and relive all my worst memories but here we are. I said I’d do it and I am.

    Do they ever actually do anything or is it just going to be a lot of me saying I’m upset and being told it’s OK to be upset? Because I can tell myself it’s OK to be upset for free.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      Yes, they will do something. My therapist made me put in a ton of work and I did not just sit and spew my guts and have her say there, there. Every session I had homework due and we did cognitive behavioral therapy. I had severe insomnia for five years when I began seeing her and we discovered some serious anxiety behind it. I sleep very well and it’s been years since I saw her last. Look for someone you click with and who also holds you to the work and not one who just wants to see you endlessly.

    2. Ginger Cat Lady*

      Depends on the therapist, I suppose, and on your goals for therapy. My therapist has helped me:
      Recognize patterns in my behavior that were not serving me well. And helped me think of ways I’d like to change those patterns.
      Helped me see strengths in myself that I did not see.
      Validated that some of what I went through (as a child in an abusive home) was truly traumatic, and that some of my strong responses I’ve always thought were “irrational” actually come from that trauma. This has helped me find ways to cope that are not being mad at myself for my trauma responses.
      Learn skills for calming and recentering myself when I feel overwhelmed or flooded.
      It took a while to get there, though. She had to get a more complete picture of the things in my past that were intruding on my present, she had to have heard enough from me to have enough data points to identify patterns, etc.
      I hope that you are able to find therapy helpful. I’d give it some time, and if you haven’t already, think about and clarify your goals for why you’re in therapy. That’s something my therapist asks me to do every 6 months or so.

    3. ThatGirl*

      It should definitely be more than that! What do you hope to get out of it? Ask your therapist about setting goals! If they can’t figure that out with you, you may need a different therapist.

    4. Mitchell Hundred*

      Descriptions I’ve heard (as someone who has only dipped his toe in the proverbial pool of therapy):

      It’s a lot of you saying “Oh wait, this thing I’m talking about is an example of the broader issue I have that’s holding me back, isn’t it?”

      A good therapist will try to give you a sort of roadmap for dealing with your issues, rather than completely solving them.

      Finding a good therapist is kind of like finding a good romantic partner, you need to get someone who meshes with and understands you.

    5. carcinization*

      It definitely depends on the therapist whether they will “do anything” but hopefully you’ve found one that does, if that’s what you’re hoping for. When I’m in therapy I tend to want something practical to help me in going forward as well, and I think I’ve usually gotten some sort of helpful nugget here and there, but… I’m also in the business so I have a tough time in therapy since I know a lot of the tricks already. Sometimes it does seem like a lot of work for little return, and sometimes it actually helps. Everybody’s different though, and there are some people that really don’t respond to any type of therapy. Good luck!

    6. Melissa*

      well done on taking a difficult step. your therapist should be helping you learn new ways of managing your thoughts and feelings. if you’re spending all your time being told “it’s okay to be upset” then it’s time to find a new therapist. good luck!

    7. RagingADHD*

      There are different types of therapists with different philosophies and approaches. But generally, when you have a clear idea of something you want to work on like “manage stress better,” or “improve my relationship,” or “stop doing this self-destructive habit,” then they will recommend exercises or help you plan and work through the steps to make changes.

      It always involves unpacking baggage, but sometimes it’s a lot up front and other times it’s more sprinkled throughout.

      If you feel like you aren’t sure what your therapy goals are, that’s a perfectly valid thing to bring up.

    8. Just...*

      A good therapist will help you develop strategies to deal with your problems. Also how to prevent (at least some of) the bad stuff.

      Good luck.

    9. Eff Walsingham*

      The first two therapists I tried were utterly unuseful, would just parrot my statements back to me in question form, and one couldn’t seem to get over the fact that my mother was more than a decade older than my father. I got nothing from them but a few amusing party anecdotes.

      But the third was a life changing experience. With her help, I recognized things that in hindsight seem obvious, like how hyper critical parenting can make a person judge themselves and others for things that are… not offenses. And lots more. I started seeing her because the sight of happy people made me cry, and it was awkward. I would cry for the entire length of each session, but I started to feel better the rest of the time. I don’t even remember most of our actual discussions years later, but she helped me to understand and deal with my emotions much better. (The sight of happy people still makes me cry sometimes. Now the mere sight of *any* people can set me off. It’s been a rough pandemic for my spouse and I. I might need to go back and get recalibrated.)

    10. The Prettiest Curse*

      2 things about therapy that it’s useful to know:
      1. You may well feel worse before you start feeling better. This is because going over all the stuff that has brought you to therapy is probably going to be painful, difficult and bring up bad memories. Your therapist doesn’t know you, so they need to know your story and why you have sought therapy, and to build a relationship with you.

      2. Stick with it for a while and use some of the strategies suggested by your therapist so you can clarify whether or not it’s working for you.

      Everyone is different and what works for another person may not work for you. So don’t be afraid to tell your therapist if a strategy isn’t working for you. They may have treated lots of patients before, but they haven’t treated you. Good luck!

    11. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Tell them you’d like something more than validation of your feelings and ask what they offer.

    12. Phryne*

      It does something, but not by magic unfortunately. The only one who can really do it is you, your therapist is just there to help you on that journey. And they can only help you if you want to be helped and accept their help. It is up to you to define how that takes shape.

    13. Rainy*

      I have some pretty significant medical (and other kinds of) trauma in my past and my GP wants me to undergo several super invasive and/or painful screening type activities in the near future, so I’m currently looking for a therapist to support me through that. No words of wisdom, but a lot of solidarity. My friends who’ve gone to longer-term therapy have said that once you find the right therapist it’s really helpful. My previous experiences with short term therapy have been okay to downright awful so I’m hoping to break that trend and find someone helpful.

  60. I take tea*

    We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, but I am going to visit my mother anyway this weekend. I’m always a bit worried that I’ll bring something with me, especially as we’re having a wave of Covid here at the moment. I feel fine, just took a rapid test to check and it’s negative, so it should be fine. It’s just always a bit stressful. But looking forward to seeing my mother.

    I hope you all have a good or at least bearable time.

  61. Seeking Second Childhood*

    All those things we wish we’d asked an elder family member that we let internet strangers know so they don’t miss out too— this week we are unable to find a set of recipes.

    Share those recipes people. And if they’re random clippings, stick them all in a labeled container so they don’t get swept up with the trash.

    Missing all my child’s grandparents now, and mine.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Thanks. In five years, we lost my surviving parent and both my husband’s. it’s been sad.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Incidentally, if anyone has a good substitute for Nabisco chocolate wafers, let me know. Mondelez stopped making them this year and that icebox cake Yule log was my Mother’s classic fancy dessert. It was a great thing assign to family kids who are a little too young to handle complex recipes. (Only requirement is mature enough to understand wash your hands, don’t lick your fingers, and use a new spoon each time you’re tempted to taste.)

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        I had to make them last year for a similar recipe. They’re not hard – King Arthur Flour has a recipe on their website.

    2. WellRed*

      And don’t swear people to secrecy on the recipe, as evidenced by a weekend commenter burdened with one. Let them into the light and kitchens.

  62. Who, Me?*

    I used to have major holiday blues and depression, all by myself.
    Being the family black sheep with no contact didn’t help, neither did being suddenly dropped by Ex when I didn’t want to procreate at his whim. It was misery rolled into a ball.
    Better relationships, repairing broken relationships, then better friends and working on my self esteem really made a difference.
    I grew up in Europe (base brat) where the locals didn’t do Thanksgiving and even celebrated Christmas on a different day with different traditions. When I returned to Europe, I started Friendsgiving parties before the word existed for lack of family I wanted to see. It turned out that many British, Australian, and local friends were intrigued by the idea and filled my home with guests, folding chairs, drinks, sides, desserts… there was much merriness. In the years where I was sick or overwhelmed it turned into a Thanksgiving potluck where the guests even made the turkey and filled my home with food and laughter.
    This is so neat, and I’m still in awe .

    Give me all your recipes NOW!!! *threateningly waves a heavy duty ladle*

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      Cranberry Ginger Chutney:
      1 lb fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
      1 whole (yes everything) lime, chopped very fine, seeds removed
      1 whole (yes everything) lemon, chopped very fine, seeds removed
      2 T fresh grated ginger
      2 1″ pieces of peeled fresh ginger
      2/3 c maple syrup
      2/3 c white sugar
      2/3 c brown sugar
      (or whatever mix of sweeteners you like)
      Cook on the stove over low heat forever, or all day, tasting for sweetness as you go.
      Freezes really well!

  63. PhyllisB*

    This isn’t Thanksgiving related, but especially to us older readers: Please be cautious about preventing falls. My 93 year old mother is spending Thanksgiving in a rehab center because she fell and broke her hip. Trying to kill a bug. She tripped over something.
    Very ironic, because as she aged she’s always been so careful make sure her environment is is free from tripping/falling hazards. In fact, she’s always scolding me about not taking enough care with these things.

    1. Pam Adams*

      My mother had conjestive heart failure. Holidays were known to put her in the hospital.

      good luck to your mother.

    2. WellRed*

      There doesn’t need to be anything to trip over, either. People trip over their own feet. My mom did that land also broke her hip. She recovered well. I hope your mom does too.

  64. Snooks*

    Sweet dumplings: Cherries, blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb/strawberries with plenty of juice topped with blobs of dough. The dough is traditional biscuit dough with sugar and vanilla added. Bring fruit to a boil, drop in dumplings, cover with a tight lid and steam. We also make caramel dumplings by caramelizing sugar, adding water, butter, dash of salt and vanilla. These can also be baked uncovered.

  65. I take tea*

    The Kennedy thread made me think:

    What is the first big world event you remember? How old were you? And what did you especially remember?

    I was about seven when the Iran–Iraq War started. I have a vivid memory of sitting on the floor in front of the radio and listning to the news. I remember thinking that it was so weird that they should fight, when the names sounded so very alike.

    I’m actually still astonished over how often people fight over really small differences.

    1. I heart Paul Buchman*

      I remember my mum taking me outside to see Halley’s Comet, I was 5.

      The first on the news would be the fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember my grandmother calling us in and telling us it was important and we would understand when we were older.

    2. Clisby*

      Not really a world event, but I remember Hawaii becoming the 50th US state in 1959. I doubt it would have made an impression on me ordinarily, but my first-grade teacher commented that the school needed a new flag with 50 stars.

      I remember JFK being elected in 1960. I was living in a deep South state but attending a Catholic school, where a bunch of my classmates were absolutely delighted he was elected (not so much delight from my parents.)

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