Thanksgiving free-for-all – November 23, 2022

This comment section is open for any discussion you’d like to have with other readers (work or non-work or possibly even entirely dessert-focused if that’s your bag).

Happy Thanksgiving!

{ 626 comments… read them below }

  1. BellaStella*

    I am leaving East Africa today after a two week work trip. As an American living abroad in EU there have been a few friendsgivings that have delighted me. Today I am looking forward to seeing my kitty when home and sleeping in my own bed. No plans but may make a pumpkin pie on Sunday. On this work trip I was able to have mashed potatoes at the airport today at lunch so kind of like home :) What is your favourite pumpkin pie recipe if you wish to share?

    1. Decidedly Me*

      Technically sweet potato, but an easy substitute – look up Sweet Potato–Miso Pie With Chocolate-Sesame Crust on Bon Appétit. So good!!

      1. That wasn't me. . .*

        Really?! (Cause it sounds ghastly! But I guess you are serious about it, so i hope you enjoy.)

    2. Camelid coordinator*

      I like the one from King Arthur Flour. Mixing up the filling the night before and letting it sit in the fridge really helps the flavor. Safe travels!

    3. Girasol*

      Last year I made the one off the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can but put it in a homemade graham cracker crust. I had always thought a pastry crust was required – you know, like there are Thanksgiving rules – but the graham crust was easier and much tastier.

    4. carcinization*

      The closest thing I eat/make is a Chai Carrot Pie. It has disappeared from the “My Recipes” website, but it looks like there may be some other versions available online.

    5. lurker except for recipes apparently*

      I tried the Sally’s Baking Addiction linked below this year – with three eggs and heavy cream it was a step up from the recipe on the pumpkin can. Very rich and smooth, and the pinch of black pepper is the perfect final touch.

      Notes: I used a frozen crust, skipped par-bake (but used a slightly higher temp for the first 20 mins), and it turned out great. My gluten-free friend also gave a good review of the non-crust version, which was really just the extra batter baked in a small pan like a custard. Definitely cover the crust edges at the 20 min mark.

  2. Irish Teacher*

    Happy Thanksgiving from Ireland.

    I’ve actually got a 2 hour staff meeting after school today while ye are having ye’re holiday!

    1. English Teacher*

      Happy happy, and my condolences! What’s your favorite holiday that you actually get time off for?

          1. amoeba*

            We have St Martin’s Day in Germany – not actually a bank holiday, but a nice tradition. There’s parades/processions (? So, you are the parade, you don’t watch it) for children with home made lanterns. And we have a thing similar to trick or treating then, where children go to shops or people’s homes with their lantern and sing a song to get a treat. You also tell the story of how St. Martin shared his coat with a beggar and there’s human-shaped pastry that you generally share between two people to symbolise that.
            I mean, obviously it’s Christian in origin but apart from the obvious “Saint” in the name it has very little connection, there’s no mention of God or a church service or anything. (Also, even the Protestant half of the Christian population here doesn’t actually *have* saints and we celebrate it anyway). So it’s quite widely embraced by everybody, I’d say. It’s starting to get a bit eclipsed by Halloween, sadly, because it’s only two weeks before with some of the traditions being quite similar…

    2. Skittles*

      And a happy Thanksgiving from Australia too!
      Just a regular day here for us downunder. Thanksgiving sounds like a lot of fun.

    3. londonedit*

      Happy Thanksgiving from London, where it is also just Thursday. I’m about to go into a meeting that could last most of the afternoon!

      Christmas is definitely my favourite holiday. We make a big deal of it in my family and I take the full two weeks off over Christmas and New Year. Love it. Apart from that our public holidays aren’t really tied to any particular celebration (except Easter, but we’re not religious so we don’t celebrate beyond using it as an excuse for a big Sunday lunch). The other bank holidays are just ‘the last Monday in May’ or ‘the last Monday in August’ and it’s just a day off, there isn’t a celebratory thing attached.

      1. amoeba*

        Same here – although I do love Easter, not really doing the religious thing either, but all in on the Easter egg hunt/Easter bunny theme!

        And we typically have fireworks for August 1st, which is our National holiday. Also the day after my birthday, so as an immigrant, I was thrilled to learn about it!

        1. PhyllisB*

          I have a friend whose birthday is 4th of July. When he was a child, he thought all the fireworks were in his honor.

      2. Irish Teacher*

        Similar in Ireland (unsurprisingly), although we do have a few others that are…tentatively connected to specific holidays. Christmas, St. Stephen’s day (day after Christmas), New Year’s day, Easter Monday and St. Patrick’s day are for specific things. (Interestingly, Good Friday isn’t officially a day off, though a lot of companies do give it anyway.) And in addition to that, we get the Monday before Halloween off and since last year, the Monday before St. Brigid’s day, so those are kind of connected.

        The St. Brigid’s day one was mostly a “we’ve less public holidays than most countries in Europe. We deserve an extra one. Where should we stick it? Well, there’s really nothing between New Year and St. Patrick’s day and we get a day off around all the ancient Celtic festivals except the first of February and it has both Christian and pre-Christian significance and commemorates a woman, so seems like a nice option.” So it’s not really for St. Brigid’s day, which isn’t much of a thing anyway (except kids make reed crosses in class or they used to when I was young), but the campaign for it used that as a hook, highlighting the ancient goddess as well as the saint.

        1. londonedit*

          Yeah our specific-event ones are Christmas Day/Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, and Good Friday (which is a public holiday here) and Easter Monday. But I guess we don’t really do anything specific on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day, and most people wouldn’t do anything religious-celebratory on Good Friday or Easter Monday. It’s only really Christmas Day that has a specific celebration attached to it. We don’t have anything else like Thanksgiving or Fourth of July. The others are the first Monday in May, the last Monday in May and the last Monday in August, and those are literally just days off (though the late May one was connected to Whitsun originally).

        2. bamcheeks*

          I feel like Hallowe’en means you have much more orderly spread of bank holidays throughout the year than we do. For us it’s end of December and beginning of January, typically nothing until April (Good Friday and Easter Monday), beginning of May, end of May, end of August, nothing til December. Most of them are bunched up around Christmas or Easter, and then we’ve the whole run from August to the 25th December with nothing.

          1. amoeba*

            It’s funny because in Germany we’ve had All Hallow’s long before Hallowe’en was ever a thing! Which makes the US-imported Hallowe’en celebrations very convenient because at least some parts of the country have the day after off already… And we have the National Holiday on October 3rd, so autumn is actually alright.

            Our holidays are still super clustered in April/May. We’re really missing something in summer. Switzerland is better because of August 1st, my favourite!

        3. Lenora Rose*

          In Canada, most provinces stuck a holiday in February just for the long slog. Many call it Family Day, which kind of acknowledges it’s just time off – in Manitoba, we call it Louis Riel Day and use it to commemorate a Metis leader who is seen as a hero here (but was hanged as a traitor at the time. I suspect Ireland has some figures who can sympathize.)

          1. Eff Walsingham*

            Yes! And at first the provinces picked different weeks/ days in February to observe “Family Day”, until it was pointed out to the politicians that not all families reside neatly in one province. It’s better now.

              1. Eff Walsingham*

                I was intrigued, so I just did a search. Apparently six provinces now observe Family Day on the third Monday in February, three have that same day off for another reason, and the people of Quebec have to go to work.

        4. uncivil servant*

          Fun fact: St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the province of Newfoundland, Canada. So is Orangemen’s Day. I worked there for a year and it was agreed, off the books, that we could work St. Patrick’s Day in exchange for another day off when there wasn’t still 8 feet of snow on the ground.

        5. Girasol*

          St Brigid’s day isn’t much celebrated in the US but it’s my favorite personal holiday since (besides Christmas) there’s no time of the year that so badly needs a celebration with candles and treats and thankfulness. For some reason the US celebrates the day as Groundhog Day. An old wives’ tale says that if the sun is shining on that day such that a groundhog might see his shadow, it predicts six more weeks of winter. That resulted in the odd tradition for men in top hats to haul out an actual live groundhog to make the shadow (or not) to prove it. What weird celebrations do you have wherever you are?

        6. Coin Purse*

          My cousin Brigid was delighted when I told her that her namesake day was now a bank holiday in Ireland.

      3. allathian*

        Happy Thanksgiving (or rather Black Friday) from Finland.

        My favorite holiday is Midsummer, which we celebrate on the Friday nearest the summer solstice. Midsummer’s Eve isn’t an official public holiday, but many employers are closed on that day anyway. Midsummer’s Day is an official public holiday, although because it’s always on a Saturday, it’s pretty irrelevant. Most people who need to work Saturdays have to work some holidays anyway.

        I do enjoy Christmas as well, but since we usually host, it gets a bit stressful. The weather’s usually better in late June, too… Actually we usually host on Midsummer as well, but it’s not as stressful because most of the food’s much easier to cook. Just throw a few sausages on the grill outside, boil a batch of potatoes, and make a green salad to go with them.

        Our public holidays are New Year’s Day, Epiphany/12th Night (Jan 6), Good Friday and Easter Monday, May Day (May 1, which many people use to sleep off the consequences of their Walpurgis Night celebrations the night before), Ascension Thursday (40 days after Easter), Whitsun (always on the 7th Sunday after Easter so irrelevant for most office employees), Midsummer’s Eve (always on a Friday, not an official day off but office employees typically get it off), Midsummer’s Day, Finnish Independence Day (Dec 6), Christmas Eve (not an official holiday but office employees typically get a day off), Christmas Day, Boxing Day.

    4. bamcheeks*

      Happy infuriating day. I have spent eight weeks carefully preparing a project plan, meeting with various stakeholders, refereeing fights between stakeholders, trying to make the stakeholders’ wildest dreams match up with the funders ‘intensely persnickety system, writing rationales and calculating everything carefully, and the funders have just come back on the project plan that I submitted THREE WEEKS AGO to say, “Why haven’t you spent the whole [amount they told me eight weeks ago + 50%]?” Which sounds like it should be a good thing but in fact entirely changes what the scope of the project could be.

      1. Not Totally Subclinical*

        Ugh! I hope there is the beverage and comfort food of your choice waiting for you when you finally get done with work today.

    5. Lenora Rose*

      Happy Thanksgiving from Canada, where we got ours out of the way in October. It’s a normal work day here, too, and rather chilly in this immediate vicinity. We’re getting to the time of year when we all spend most of our time wrapped in layers or huddled at home, but brag about our cold-hardiness to those from warmer climes.

    6. Lilac*

      I live in Ireland too—but I’m American so it doesn’t entirely feel like a regular day for me. I was hoping to arrange my schedule so I wouldn’t have to work today, but sadly it didn’t work out that way. I will probably make some mashed potatoes for dinner tonight in honor of the holiday, though! (They’re my favorite Thanksgiving food, besides my mom’s stuffing. Hopefully I’ll be able to convince her to make it for Christmas dinner.)

      I also had family in town recently and we went out for a nice dinner together, so I consider that to be in the spirit of Thanksgiving even if it’s not on the actual day.

      1. LadyAmalthea*

        Happy Thanksgiving from another American in Ireland. I’m going to be celebrating a week late when my parents, sister, and British mother-in-law are here to celebrate my daughters’ 1st birthday on the 30th. I’m planning a menu around the babies’ favourite foods, which helpfully include potatoes, sweet potatoes, and green beans.

      2. Noogle*

        Also based in Dublin! We had a big potluck Thanksgiving celebration last weekend with 4 other families, as many of our kids have exams this week. Supper last night was turkey burgers and sweet potato fries.

        Yesterday, Thanksgiving morning, I got together with about 20 members of the American Women’s Club of Dublin for a coffee meet-up at KC Peaches (owner is from Chicago). Some took the day off, others popped out of work for an hour. It was our 10th year doing this….it’s a lonely day when everyone back home is sharing photos of being together and it’s just another workday/schoolday here, so it’s nice to have people around you who get it!

    7. Helvetica*

      Ah, the Europeans commiserating over not being able to read AAM thread – it is needed!
      Happy Thanksgiving from Brussels – the sun was out today for 30 minutes, so I feel like I do have something to be thankful for.

    8. Bermuda Read*

      Happy Thanksgiving from Bermuda!

      It’s 71F, sunny, the morning’s rain has swept through. It’s not the Fall that I remember from Oregon, but it’s pretty nice. Lots of restaurants are doing turkey take-out, but for the most part, everyone is still working, including me. Will be doing the video call back home soon. I brought in Snickerdoodles to work this week to kick off the holiday season.

      But I will be listening to Alice’s Restaurant as I eat my ham sandwich for lunch!

  3. Gnomes (UK)*

    I’ve lost the stylus to my 15 year old graphics tablet and it turns out it’s cheaper to buy the same tablet secondhand than it is to buy a replacement pen, which may not be compatible with it anyway.

    What do people have for digital art setups these days? A graphics tablet that attaches to a computer, a separate tablet with art programs installed, or something else? Any recommendations for something that isn’t going to break the bank (can’t stretch to an ipad) would be welcome.

    1. ArtistManager*

      3D / 2D pro artist here, I’ve owned probably 10 (graphics) tablets over the past 15 years, and here’s my (biased, of course) findings:
      – Wacom is still the best, and my oldest tablet still works, but they don’t make them like that anymore…
      – Separate tablets that aren’t iPads aren’t worth it – I dislike Apple greatly but other companies just don’t compare for art purposes. I absolutely love Procreate, and no real alternative exists outside of iPad. The user interface and experience are just miserable on other tablets. (This information may be a bit dated; I saw there’s some developments but I didn’t check them out yet)
      – If you really like the screen aspect, and want to use it with your PC, you can get the non-Wacom ones (XP-PEN, for example) for as cheap as 160€ new right now (just googled it), so I assume cheap second hand ones also exist – I don’t know how good they are in terms of build, but the experience of using it is pleasant
      – If you don’t care about having a screen but just a really solid tablet, consider a second hand Wacom Intuos Pro. Their lowest cost ones just aren’t worth it, the plasticky pen literally melted on my windowsill and it just isn’t a nice experience. I’ve had only 2 Intuos Pros, and the only reason I replaced my first one is because it was too large to bring around haha. They are really solid tablets. I see them on UK eBay at a very wide range of prices, depending on the size and year of making, but you can get them as cheap as 30GBP in decent condition.

      My peers in the game industry also seem to still swear on Wacom, but I have no data on whether that’s because it’s just a big name, or because the products are actually high quality. Good luck! Hope you find something that works for you!

      1. curly sue*

        My better half (professional storyboard artist) and our eldest kid (aspiring digital media artist) both have and live XP-pen tablets. Partner has the big professional desktop-sized thing and kid has an iPad sized one, and both have stood up very well to endless hours of use. We got kiddo’s tablet on sale one year for just over $200 Canadian, and it was worth every penny.

    2. Lilac*

      I’m not sure what your budget is, but Amazon has iPads for around $230 right now. They’re not the latest model but not super old either—I think they’re the 2021 edition. I don’t know if they ship to the UK at that price (and the international shipping/import fees might not be worth it), but if you know anyone in the US you could have it shipped to, maybe that’s an option? I live outside the US but I’m having one shipped to my parents and getting it next time I’m in town.

      1. Gnomes (UK)*

        Yes, I have – unfortunately I’ve moved since I lost it, I looked pretty thoroughly when I was still there (including in and under the sofas) but it seems to have just disappeared into the ether!

    3. Eff Walsingham*

      My overall tech device experience suggests that you should buy one of the same tablet secondhand, stat, if you’re happy with it. As long as the ‘new’ one has its stylus, you’re still achieving your immediate objective, even if the device hasn’t held up as well as your primary. We have “stunt doubles” for quite a bit of our getting-no-younger tech. Generally speaking, anything 15 years old has less obsolescence built into it than whatever the same company is selling today. The trade-off is that all my devices weigh more than anything my peers are using.

  4. Mimmy*

    I was just invited for a Zoom interview with a major university (staff position, not academic) on 12/5. Y’all, it is scheduled for 2.5 HOURS! I would expect that much time for an on-campus interview, but on Zoom?? I’m waiting for a follow-up email with information and instructions that should explain the length. Has anyone ever done a similarly long virtual interview?

    1. Bunny Watson*

      My daughter just had one as well. She met with three different groups in that time frame, so many of the same questions just with different folks. Good luck!

    2. lion*

      I’ve had an interview that was around that length. I met with two different people back to back, and there was a short break in between. I would assume you’ll be interviewing with multiple people given the length. Good luck!

    3. Shhhh*

      I work for a major university, and we generally have replaced all in-person interviews with Zoom interviews since COVID. My guess would be along the lines of what Bunny Watson said – multiple meetings with different groups within that time frame.

      Good luck!

      1. Middle Aged Lady*

        Testing your tolerance for long meetings, ha ha! Academentia is what my best friend called the university.

    4. Mimmy*

      I should clarify that this is not a director-level position. The job announcement was one of those where the listed job is “Intermediate or Senior Analyst”. I specified in my cover letter I was applying at the Intermediate level.

      1. Fierce Jindo*

        I’m faculty in a unit that hires positions like that, though I’m not involved in that hiring. You might meet with the supervisor and one or more colleagues from the team you’d join, their supervisor, and HR in separate interviews. I’ve only done faculty interviews (1-3 days!) but I expect this is also exhausting, so be ready to keep up your energy!

    5. ThatGirl*

      I would expect it to be with multiple people/groups for sure. I spent about that long in my individual contributor interviews but talked to like 5 people.

    6. Baker_Writer*

      University staff person here who has been on the other side of those loooooooong Zoom days (hiring committee). It’s probably several planels of people and you will likely have short breaks in between. Plan for those breaks; do something that shakes off the fatigue. GOOD LUCK!

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

        And maybe have some easy snacks and drinks handy for those short breaks to keep your energy up! Good luck — I hope the job turns out to be a great match and that you get it! : )

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        For those of you who run online events please remember that hourly “nature breaks” are a kindness.

        Dilbert famously speculated that his company’s managers were hired on their brain to bladder ratio… don’t be that company.

    7. Ellen Ripley*

      I did an 8 hour Zoom interview for my current job (1st hour was me presenting on my prior work, then 7 one-hour interviews with different people, ranging from potential managers to peers).

      It was tiring but I got to meet some nice people.

    8. talos*

      Big tech loves to do blocks of 4 1-hour interviews, which is not *quite* the same but is pretty comparable.

      Have water and a snack on hand and make sure your chair setup is comfy for multiple hours.

    9. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Oh wow! Never that long and video fatigue is real. It helps me to have snacks and drinks on hand and then to physically put my body in radically different positions during breaks – like lay on the floor and stretch for example.

    10. Card House*

      Arg, this is not good accessibility practice. Some people will be able for it, some people would need a decent, long break after 40-60 minutes. (Of course, some wouldn’t be able for it at all but I’m thinking of the level of ability of the folks who would generally apply for this job.)
      Regardless – best of luck, I hope it goes great.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          If they do not give you an agenda , I’d suggest asking for one.

          The 21st c version of Dante’s inferno holds a special place for execs who hold critical 3-hour meetings with no announced breaks and call on people who are trying to go use the bathroom.

          So help me if I do put in for retirement? I’m going to break the social standard in the last few of his meetings and tell him AND the attendees that I will answer his question AFTER a quick bathroom break. Seriously, people would stop sneaking out of his meetings if he would put hourly bathroom breaks on the agenda. Even 1.5 hous or 2 would be better.

          1. Mimmy*

            They said I was going to get a follow-up email with information and instructions. I thought I’d get it shortly after getting the phone call (this past Wednesday) but maybe they wanted to schedule everyone first (they’re doing interviews the week of 12/4). If I don’t see anything by midweek next week, I may contact them.

    11. Pizza Rat*

      Not on Zoom. Before Covid lockdown, there were a few interviews where I had to take half a day to talk to several people over four hours. No bathroom breaks either, which is really unfair because so much talking means I want water. I hope you get a quick break halfway through for those.

  5. beep beep*

    I’m fairly recently dairy-free; is there anything I should avoid trying to substitute plant butter or milk in? So far most everything has worked out alright, and family friends we’re doing the big meal with are happy to accommodate, but I’m still wary of pitfalls. Today I’m making a chocolate fudge pie, which is usually in large portion butter, so I really hope it comes out well.

    1. amoeba*

      Not an expert, but I believe butter can usually be substituted quite easily. Would be more wary/look for specific suggestions for everything custardy/everything that’s supposed to set…

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Yes. Plant based milks do not work as a sub in custard/pudding recipes. If you have a recipe that specifically calls for plant based milk, then it’ll work because the recipe will account for that. But it doesn’t work as a straight swap for recipes expecting cow milk. It won’t set.

        1. Imtheone*

          My experience is that custards and puddings cooked on top of the stove will set fine. Instant chocolate pudding never gets firm when made with soy milk.

        2. Nina*

          Granted I make custard with powder, not eggs, and also in the microwave, but oat milk and almond milk both work fine in my experience. Soy gets weird. You might want to consider adding a tiny bit of some kind of non-dairy fat to get the luxe factor back but it’s totally possible.

      2. kalli*

        There are specific custard replacements that get added to plant milk to make custard. I haven’t met one that doesn’t scratch the itch – but they’re generally proprietary mixes of vanilla bean powder/vanilla extract, various flours (tapioca is really common) and an emulsifier.

        Silken tofu for more cakey-type things (cheesecake) helps a lot, as does adding a bit of coconut oil if not using coconut milk.

    2. londonedit*

      Butter and milk are usually fine – it’s just a case of finding your preferred non-dairy milk and your preferred non-dairy butter brand. I can’t think of anything that would cause a problem, but with milk it’s mainly about considering the flavour of the milk itself. Soya milk tends to be quite sweet and vanilla-tasting, so that might be better to use in a sweet dish, and almond milk has a distinct almond flavour, but that can work really well depending on what you’re using it for. Oat and rice tend to be the most neutral of the non-dairy milk options.

      Cheese is the particularly tricky one – fake cheeses are getting better all the time, but it’s still tricky trying to find ones that behave as cheese would.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        Soy milk is my don’t-go-to of the various ones, unless you know everyone involved likes it; the flavour is too distinct, and it’s almost as much of an allergen concern as nut milk. Oat milk seems to work pretty well. I tend towards almond or cashew milk but I have no folks with nut allergies other than peanuts. I think that nut milk is known to foam less well for the various froofy espresso drinks but I haven’t heard of baking issues.

        1. Stay-at-homesteader*

          For both baking and coffee drinks I’m a big fan of oat milk or Ripple milk, which is a brand made with pea protein. Both of my kids are/were dairy and soy-intolerant for their first couple years, so Ripple makes an excellent replacement, nutrition-wise, and oatmilk is great if you’re not as concerned about nutrition (especially protein content).

        2. Chria*

          I recently discovered chickpea milk (which includes pea protein and some other plants) and it’s not bad. Low fat but really high in protein and I don’t really notice the taste once it’s in stuff.

        3. kalli*

          My dad uses lentil cream in coffee/tea for the froofyness. It’s not really great in baking but rice milk is fine for me and I just add extra oil or vinegar as needed to get the appropriate ratio for mimicking whatever product.

        4. Phryne*

          I know various people who swear by pea milk for frothy coffee drinks. Personally I don’t really care for it, but it does foam nicely apparently.

      2. Chaordic One*

        As someone with dairy and soy allergies, I really like the “Daiya” brand of dairy and soy-free cheeses. (Not quite as good as real cheese, but not bad.) They have a cheese and mac mix that is almost as good as Kraft Velveeta. I find them at WalMart and Kroger.

    3. Traffic Nerd*

      I cook and bake regularly for a dairy allergic friend and the substitutes have worked fabulously. I tend to use oat milk because it’s so neutral. The one thing I’ve found plant based butter doesn’t do is brown, so nothing that relies on that specifically. You also have to retrain your eye for baking, things will look more blonde but still be done. Everything for our spread today will be dairy free, from rolls to potatoes to pies, so go wild!

    4. miel*

      According to the package, instant pudding won’t set with soy milk. I don’t know if it would work with oat/ almond/ other milk!

      I hope your pie turns out great. It sounds delicious!

    5. jellied brains*

      Most vegan milks & butters are great substitutes. I’d just avoid more flavorful ones like coconut milk

    6. cheez pleez*

      My partner is allergic to dairy whereas I’m not. I’ve spent a lot of time finding recipes he can eat that still please my dairy-loving taste buds. One of my favourite things to make dairy free that’s super easy is roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I buy the white potatoes because I find their creamier than russets. Roast a bulb of garlic in the oven for about 45 minutes, and as that’s roasting, boil your potatoes. Once their nice and tender, drain them, saving some of the water in a bowl. I use potato water instead of any milk substitutions because it doesn’t change the taste of the potatoes but gives them a light, creamy texture. Instead of butter I use either olive oil or the Earth Balance vegan butter. A little salt and pepper, and as much roasted garlic as your heart desires. So delicious and creamy!!

    7. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I find Trader Joe’s vegan butter really captures the taste of butter for me! If you need a buttery spread without chemicals and artificial things. It is coconut based.

    8. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Vegan cheese is an acquired taste that I never acquired- tastes like dirty gym socks to me.

    9. Lime green Pacer*

      I’ve been substituting vegetable margarine for butter in baking for decades. You get a somewhat nicer flavor with butter, but results are still great.

    10. AGD*

      Rice milk might have the least distinct taste, but it’s too watery to substitute well for milk. Soy milk sometimes has a terrible aftertaste. Oat milk is creamy and good in most things.

      Pretend cheese varies wildly accordingly to brand and flavor. Some of them taste good, some not. Some have decent texture, some don’t. Some will melt at high temperatures and some not.

    11. Sssssssssssssss*

      This is what I’ve told my dairy-free son for years: Baking is forgiving (candy making is not!). So, substitute away, and experiment freely.

      For most baking, substituting oil for butter has worked for me. (After all, most cake box mixes ask for oil…)

      BUT if what you’re baking has an expected result of flakiness or requires to be crumbled first (scones, for example), a good non-dairy margarine is best for those that require crumbles; and for a pie crust, lard was best. I tried to substitute with oil and it was a most sad pie crust.

      There is a possibility that the non-dairy marg is too high in water for some baking so results may vary.

      Where dairy lurks: cold cuts; gravy mixes; canned non-condensed chicken soups; anything breaded; and unbelievably to me, for a while in a variety of salt and vinegar chips. So be vigilant when reading ingredient lists.

      Good luck! Signed Mom to a kid whose dairy allergy kept us on our toes for 20+ years and counting.

      1. londonedit*

        Also, where I live anyway, reduced-fat versions of things. Mayonnaise, for example – the full-fat version will be naturally dairy-free because it’s basically oil and eggs. But the reduced-fat version will take out some of the oil and replace it with cream.

      2. Minimal Pear*

        Dairy allergy here, Crisco makes an excellent shortening stick for baking (yellow package) that works wonderfully for pie crust. I don’t know how available it is throughout the world.

      3. Janne*

        Yes, some chips contain whey because it’s a cheap ingredient and apparently it helps with the taste of the chips or maybe the seasoning sticking to the chips? It’s also in most paprika chips in my country (which are the second most favorite chips after just plain salty chips).

        For candy making, coconut condensed milk exists and it tastes wonderful. I made really nice fudge with vegan butter and coconut condensed milk. Here (Netherlands) they sell it in the biggest supermarkets and also in some ethnic shops.

    12. Dancing Otter*

      Not a lot of experience here, but I can tell you that Swedish meatball sauce is abominable with soy milk. Thanks, BIL, for using up all the real milk on Christmas morning.
      I think the long simmering was not compatible with soy milk. At any rate, it ruined the whole dish.

      1. amoeba*

        Some of them tend to flock out with heat or acid – sometimes even in more sour espresso! Would go for the “Barista” version, tends to avoid this better…

      2. I take tea*

        For any creamy sauce thing, oat cream works fine. Or oat milk and flour, of course. It usually is worth it to get the more expensive brands, in my experience.

    13. Biology Dropout*

      I’ve been dairy free for most of my life, and my go-to subs are Earth Balance for butter, Elmhurst almond milk or Oatly oat milk for milk, Follow Your Heart Parmesan shreds for Parmesan and provolone-style cheese for other stuff, Kite Hill Ricotta for ricotta, Kite Hill sour cream for sour cream.

    14. Biology Dropout*

      I have a ton of recipes if there’s anything specific you want! Today I’m making spinach pie and apple pie, both GF and DF.

      1. Minimal Pear*

        Ooh, what are you using for GF crust? I’ve tried it, when I had a housemate with a gluten allergy, and it was dismal.

        1. Biology Dropout*

          Honest I cheat and buy Wholly Wholesome GF crust. With the cost of the GF flour I like (King Arthur) and the amount of flour GF crust takes, it winds up being cheaper and my family likes the flavor better than regular crust, so it’s a win win!

    15. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      I went vegan for a bit a few years ago. The only dairy replacement I’ve kept is making my own cashew cream to replace heavy cream in cooking. It’s affordable as it’s homemade (costs less to make than buying the equivalent heavy cream) it freezes well and is pretty easy to make.

        1. Snell*

          I don’t know about ImOnlyHereForThePoetry’s ratios, but cashew cream is so simple you can’t really call it a recipe. These days I do 1 cup raw cashews, either soaked overnight or soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes, drained, plus 1/2 cup of water. Blend until very smooth. Depending on the application (or when I was pressed into frugality), maybe water it down until it’s the consistency you like/need.

    16. BubbleTea*

      In the UK, at least, the cheapest brands of soya milk taste the best. The posh ones add weird vanilla flavourings and stuff that makes it less milk-like.

    17. They Don’t Make Sunday*

      Haven’t seen it mentioned so I wanted to plug Miyoko’s plant-based butter. It tastes very convincing on bread (my dairy-eating friend wrinkled her nose, then devoured it on fresh bread). It can be subbed one for one in muffins, cookies, cake frosting, etc.

      If you need a dairy-free pumpkin pie recipe, look up Southern Living’s “Dairy-Free Coconut-Pumpkin Pie.” It’s very good. We make ours with a Wholly Wholesome vegan crust.

    18. Clare*

      A lot of people say oil substitutes well for butter when baking… it does and it doesn’t. It makes everything much more dense and you’ll struggle to get it crumbly. So if you’re a fan of dense, gooey brownies – perfect! But if you’re trying to get a light fluffy cake or a proper British scone for a Devonshire Tea, oil won’t give you the right texture at all. For those circumstances try and find ye olde recipes that replace the animal fat in butter with the animal fat in lard (if you’re a meat eater). If you’re not a meat eater then I’d recommend using recipes written by vegetarian/vegan professional bakers. Swapping out the entire recipe for something new and delicious will give you a much better eating experience than ruining a cake with oil.

      (Yes oil does ruin cakes, and I’ll fight y’all Americans on that any day. Google ‘make box mix cake taste homemade’ if you don’t believe me. Lemonade scones are likewise an abomination. )

      1. allathian*

        All of the cake recipes I’ve used contain eggs (my sister is ovo-vegetarian so she doesn’t mind free-range organic eggs in baking), and I’ve happily used various brands of non-dairy butter.

    19. Nicki Name*

      Hello and commiseration from another person recently dairy-free and not by choice!

      Margarine/plant butter should always work as a 1-to-1 substitute for butter; that’s what it’s designed for. For cooking (but not baking), oil can sometimes substitute for butter, and coconut milk for milk or cream, but sometimes it’s taken a few tries to get it right.

    20. Random Dice*

      Do you know about cream of coconut (the unsweetened can by Thai Kitchens called “coconut cream” not the sweet pina colada stuff)?

      That stuff is amazing in desserts.

    21. Falling Diphthong*

      Youngest discovered he had a strong dairy allergy just after moving home for covid. Useful gleanings:

      Earth’s Balance margarine is the one near me that is truly dairy free. It works well for baking.

      I found chicken broth worked really well as a substitute for milk and butter in mashed potatoes.

      Over Thanksgiving dinner my niece mentioned that they had discovered tofu cream cheese was indistinguishable from regular. Haven’t tried this yet.

      My go-to special dessert is now Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. This is a delicious light moist cake that happens to be vegan. People with no dietary restrictions happily scarf it down.

    22. I take tea*

      The only thing I really think is a problem is cheese. Vegan cheese is generally not good. I use a lot of nutritional yeast, it gives a cheesy flavour. Add it at the end, should not cook. Mixed with nuts it makes a good parmesan substitute for pasta. Try different types, some are a bit bitter.

  6. Chocoglow*

    While my family is gathering on Saturday, I’m nipping into the stores this morning to grab chili fixings and some ingredients for pie; I haven’t made my apple pie in ages and since we never do a traditional dinner, I’m not going with traditional desserts either.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But for years, my folks got so tired of the prim and proper meals that when I was around ten, Dad just made breakfast foods. pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns…it was the best gd Thanksgiving. Beaten soundly the next year by Mom’s cheeseburger and ham n cheese bierocks.

    1. Jm*

      I have lasagne ready to go in the oven and a small/experimental white lasagne. Used to make it for guests but. Haven’t made it for years. There is some resistance’what no turkey?’ It smells wonderful already.

      1. carcinization*

        I made lasagna today with ground turkey instead of ground beef, and this isn’t the first Thanksgiving I’ve done that! My mom brought homemade bread so of course that became garlic bread today.

      2. PhyllisB*

        We’re doing our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, but we’re having BBQ ribs, potato salad and other things. My mother is getting a day pass from the rehab center and she decided she’d rather have that than regular Thanksgiving fare. Did make two traditional desserts, a blackberry jam cake ( first time I’ve made this) baked coconut pie, and a batch of brownies for the picky teens.
        Of course I had to taste test the brownies. Didn’t want to give the kids bad brownies. It was really a public service.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Breakfast for dinner is always a winner! :)

      I’m on my own this year (no biggie; I’ve been on my own many times) and I’m having pepperoni pizza. \0/ I’ll put some veggies on it and some banana peppers. My sibs are going to be at Mom’s today, and we’re supposed to set up a Zoom or something so we can eat together. So I’m cleaning the apartment while the sun is shining in here in case they want a virtual tour, lol.

      The closet is so full — it may explode!

      1. Dog momma*

        We started doing pizza Xmas Eve when we were both working. Made it much easier than trying to cook; often after a trying day! Then were able to relax a bit before church services. We’ve kept up the tradition since retirement.
        When I was a kid til late 20s, it was always ethnic food, then the usual turkey dinner for both Xmas meals. We got married and spent 7 Xmases with his daughter/ her mother til we relocated almost 1000 miles away

      2. mreasy*

        Banana peppers on pizza is THE WAY. Almost nobody in NYC offers them so I started buying my own and adding later!

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I tried that with my mom for a while. But she loved cooking the big traditional roast feast. She wasn’t an enthusiastic cook except on holidays and her feasts really were delicious. We just shrugged and put ourselves to work next to her. And occasionally made her sit down.

      But at least it was an opening for my italian sister in law to bring her family’s traditional pasta in perpetuity.

  7. Foyle*

    Happy thanksgiving (from Ireland again!)

    I left a super-toxic job about a month ago and am interviewing at various places, but in the background I’m really questioning my career path in general. I don’t love my field but it’s a natural fit for my personality type and I’m good at it….although I find myself feeling unfulfilled and slightly terrified at taking another job in the same sector. It’s corporate and legal-adjacent so every conversation is tough, serious and mentally challenging. I’ve taken to unemployment far more easily than I thought I would and I enjoy having time to feel like I’m actually living my life.

    My question is are there any resources you can recommend to try and help me work out if the career path I’m on is the right one? I’m open to anything really (eg. books, blogs, online resources or coaching). I’m in my early 40s and don’t love the idea of trying to qualify in a different area, but also don’t think I can go back to the draining corporate machine to put in another 20+ years.

    1. Decidedly Me*

      Is your field all corporate? If not, maybe look for the same kind of job in a different kind of company (start up, etc).

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      What about nonprofits or smaller organizations who could use your skills? Where you’d be the one person doing X. Consulting? Freelancing?

      Genuine best of luck to you!

    3. Weekend Warrior*

      Cal Newport stresses figuring out your dream life or lifestyle first. The advice was meant for new grads but I think it’s a useful check in at any stage. His questions include:
      How much control do I have over my schedule?
      What’s the intensity level of my job?
      What’s the importance of what I do?
      What’s the prestige level?
      What type of work?
      Where do I live?
      What’s my social life like?
      What’s my work life balance?
      What’s my family like?
      How do other people think of me?
      What am I known for?
      I think it’s also really important to think about the aesthetics of your dream lifestyle, e.g. do I want to live in beautiful or at least pretty surroundings, is being close to nature (or education or culture) important to me, etc.
      Full article at

    4. Anonymoose*

      In my experience the best way to look at options is to track down some details. Look at job applications for any title or field that interests you, and read up on the expected responsibilities and qualifications. Do you have all the mandatory qualifications, and if not are you willing to do the work to get them? If you think it’s a good fit then apply, or find someone in the field that can meet for an informational interview. If you apply and get interviews then you can ask questions to see if it’s a good fit.

      My work is all about how to make better decisions, and the best way is to find out more details rather than wonder about it.

    5. Kes*

      If you don’t want to have to totally switch I agree with the others on considering adjacent options (and adjacent can mean a number of things: different type of organization, similar work in a different domain, different jobs within the same area). Consider what other options might leverage your existing expertise and skills.
      Also, think about and dig into what parts of your work you like and dislike, as well as what you are good at, so that you can think about what type of work would leverage your strengths and have more of the aspects you like while minimizing the parts you don’t like. What do you think would make you feel fulfilled? Try and isolate the key factors that really make a difference for you (in either direction). What would a job or career need to have or not have in order to be a good fit for you?

      1. Weekend Warrior*

        This! I have a comment in moderation (I hope) linking to Cal Newport’s career advice for new grads, i.e. design your ideal life or lifestyle first then consider what jobs or careers might best fit. Advice worth revisiting at any point in our careers, especially as we learn more about ourselves through experience.

    6. Random Dice*

      I wish you could access Johnson O’Connor Foundation aptitude testing, but it’s all in the US. astounding how they piece together how one tests with the work

    7. Mztery1*

      This might not apply to you 100% but this is something I work with with my students, who are primarily graduating seniors. A lot of them don’t know what field they want to answer – sometimes it’s in their major and sometimes it isn’t. I have them work on three questions —

      What do you really like to do? This doesn’t have to be job related but if it is all the better. What do you really enjoy doing that you feel good about?

      Then what are you good at? This usually is some intersection with the first question, but not entirely. There are many things you might be good at that you don’t enjoy doing.

      The third question is what have people admired about you, or commented on you about that has been really meaningful for you? This question is a bit tougher – not that you should do what people think you should do but what kind of comments do you get about your work that you’ve taken to heart that are really meaningful for you?

      Putting these questions together, often helps students figure out what they might want to do next. I hope they are helpful for you

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        I love this advice.
        I would also add, what is it you’re doing when you completely lose track of time? That is always a good clue re- what you really love to do

    8. KeinName*

      There is a free online environment for researchers who are unsure on where to go next and it includes reflective exercises, knowledge about jobs, and much much more, you could try it: prosper uk (from Nottingham university I believe). It’s very easy to use and has a very calm design.
      Also has questions to ask others who know you about your strengths etc.

  8. RussianInTexas*

    The latest aggravation from my employer (there are a few):
    The open enrollment notice was sent out yesterday at 4:50. Yes, the day before Thanksgiving. The submissions are due no later than next Tuesday. Now, my company is not actually off on Black Friday, but about half of the people are talking it off anyway. I am off the entire week, and only found out about it when a coworker texted to commiserate.
    I hope there are no changes in the plans, because otherwise they can’t expect any work from me on Monday, I’ll be comparing plans.
    It’s a smaller company, and there are no rules about the open enrollment period for the companies under 50 employees.

    1. Kes*

      Wow, that’s terrible planning by them. Also that’s pretty short as an enrollment period. That does suck.

  9. Elle Woods*

    Yesterday’s adventure was a gas leak at my house. (Fixed and no damage or injuries.) Today’s adventure? Taking my turkey out of the fridge to prep for dinner only to find that it’s spoiled and should be thrown out according to the folks at the turkey hotline. Now I’m really glad I bought a turkey breast too. Guess that’s what we’ll be having for dinner!

    1. RussianInTexas*

      House adventures are the worst.
      Last week I woke with from a strange noise. Sounded like tearing paper. Saw nothing, went back to sleep.
      In the morning my partner told me that one of the two glass panels in the master bathroom shower decided to quit. It just collapsed, no reason, just fell out of the frame.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I had it happen with a refrigerator shelf I’d taken out to wash — very glad I had the strainer in the sink because most wound up in there. I was left holding an empty plastic frame, looking at a pile of square glass chunks.

    2. Squidhead*

      Oh no! I’m curious, though, without being too graphic: how did you know it was spoiled? We always thaw a frozen turkey for several days (1 day per 4lbs or whatever is the rule) and I’m always a bit worried about this despite never having a problem.

      1. Elle Woods*

        Nothing too graphic about it. There were some black spots on it and it smelled a bit funny. It’s a 16-pound turkey that had been in the fridge thawing since last Saturday. The rep at the turkey hotline said that if the spots were purple they were bruises, but if they were black, that was a problem.

          1. JustAnon*

            I’m not in the US, and yet I had this tidbit of (for me useless) information thanks to a memorable scene in The West Wing: President Bartlet calls the Butterball hotline to arbitrate a disagreement about the temperature to which the inside of a turkey should be heated to make sure the stuffing is safe to eat :)

    3. No Tribble At All*

      Noooooo my condolences!! Glad you have a backup turkey breast!

      My family has had two House Adventures around the holidays. The first, the dishwasher broke on Christmas morning. My parents wanted to use paper plates for dinner, but my two siblings and I, all teenagers, insisted we wanted Fancy Dinner and washed all the China and pots by hand.

      The second may be more or less tragic. The fridge broke the day after thanksgiving. ALL the leftovers had to be thrown out.

      1. Elle Woods*

        Oh no. Those don’t sound like fun adventures at all though I do love you & your siblings “can do” attitude. My parents’ old fridge died about three days after Thanksgiving a few years ago. It was a pain–especially since it happened the day AFTER trash day.

      2. allathian*

        My parents don’t have a dishwasher, so when they host us, we do the dishes.

        Our son’s surprisingly particular about keeping his room neat, his desk is certainly a lot neater than mine, and he’ll regularly grab the vacuum without being told. He’s 14, so it just goes to show that not all teens are messy.

    4. Csethiro Ceredin*

      Oh no! The backup turkey is something to be thankful for, I guess.

      We had a major power outage midafternoon on our Thanksgiving Day. All those poor people with turkeys already in the oven had to do some awkward guessing about how much time to add once it came back on.

    5. Wicked Witch of the West*

      About 30 years ago on Thanksgiving morning my Mom came in the bedroom where I was getting dressed to let me know the power was off. I dug out the only phone we had that worked when the power was off to call the electric company. The very young sounding customer service rep said the blah blah had a blah blah and blah blah and would probably be fixed around 2 or 3 pm (it was 9am). It wasn’t just us, it was the whole long block, so no borrowing the neighbor’s oven. I’m like, OK. She said: you’re awfully calm, you must be going to someone else’s house for dinner. I said no, I’m expecting about 25 people, but I cooked my turkey yesterday and my mother brought the pies. My family would have been content with cold turkey sandwiches and pie. They got the blah blah fixed about 11am, and all proceeded according to plan.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I need to know how you handle the logistics of that turkey in advance. How do you cool it fast enough to be safe? How do you reheat? It would make the timing of everything else so much easier.

        1. Wicked Witch of the West*

          1) we don’t stuff the bird
          2) leave a tent of foil over it for the potential of flies or sticky fingers
          3) when cool enough to handle, pull off wings, legs, and thighs
          4) slice breasts
          5) wrap meat tightly in foil (segregate by white or dark meat), and put in fridge
          6) to reheat put bundles on sheet pan(s) in a 250 degree oven for about an hour.
          At that time I was cooking 1 twenty or so pound bird. As the crowd got larger, it grew to 2 twenty or so birds. Thankfully my younger brother became my c0-chef and would do the second bird at home (across town) and bring the bundles to stick in the oven.
          Disappointingly, he informed me in 2018 that they were moving to a different state. So after 44 years I retired as the Thanksgiving queen.

    6. Girasol*

      We used to be able to count on an electrical outage whenever anyone came to visit. Once at Christmas it was (thankfully) after dinner. As I raced around lighting candles, Cousin said, “I saw a flash outside. I’ll bet a transformer blew.” His six year old’s eyes went big and round and he whispered, “There are Transformers out there??”

    7. noncommittal pseudonym*

      I once had a garbage disposal gt stuck *on* at 10pm on New Year’s Eve. It was weirdly hard-wired in, so I couldn’t just uplug it (it was a rental – no idea why they did that). Throwing the breaker turned off the entire kitchen, including the fridge. I had to call a plumber at 10 pm on New Year’s Eve. I was staying home with the flu, anyway, but still!

    8. Seashell*

      Glad you had a breast available!

      Today, my daughter tried making Brussels sprouts in the air fryer, because the turkey was taking up the whole oven. Suddenly, the outlet & the nearby dishwasher (which was running) stopped working. It was one of those outlets with black and red buttons, but I couldn’t get it to reset. Luckily, my husband came home and fixed things with the fuse box. I was dreading the idea of handwashing every dish on Thanksgiving.

  10. lion*

    I’m looking for advice on negotiating salary for an internal promotion. A more senior position opened on my team recently, and I applied for it. The process is moving somewhat slowly for HR reasons, but based on feedback from my manager it’s very likely I’ll be offered the job. In the meantime, I’m wondering what to do if the offer is less than I’m hoping for and also how to figure out what salary would be reasonable.

    Another member of my team is at the same level as the new position, and I know what he makes. He also just started recently, and I’ve actually been at the company longer than he has. I know I can’t just say I want the same salary, but assuming I’m offered less, how would you handle this? What resources do you use to determine what amount makes sense? For what it’s worth, he and I have similar backgrounds (literally worked at the same company prior to this); he was a step above me in seniority at our previous employer, but I have a highly valued professional license that he doesn’t have.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Sometimes it can be as simple as “I was hoping for something more in line with $X. Is that possible?”

    2. Anonymoose*

      If your team member is a different gender than you, then I would be tempted to say that you know his salary and are wondering why yours is less, because it wouldn’t be legal for the company to offer two equivalent employees a different salary because of their gender, and of course you would want to ensure company is doing everything they can to be legal and equitable.

  11. Optimus*

    We had to say goodbye to my “heart cat” unexpectedly this past Monday (3 days ago) and I’m only just getting to where I can Act Normal. I’m so thankful for husband, friends, and coworkers who totally get the depth of the loss, and thankful for today’s distractions, early dinner with in-laws, etc.

    What I am wondering about and looking for input on is how to go back to working in my home office after the holiday. My desk chair (which is SO comfortable and I want to keep it) is all full of her claw marks. She used to sit on the desk and give me lovey faces, purr, accept hugs and scritches, and join in on Teams meetings. So far this holiday week I have avoided the office by working on the couch with my work laptop. But come Monday, I will have to be on camera for the usual weekly meetings and… I just don’t want to be in that room. (I love the space itself. It’s just full of reminders.) But the camera on my laptop makes me look HORRIBLE. I really need to be in the office for these calls. What do you all think? Rip the bandaid off and make myself work in there until I’ve re-adapted? Something else?
    This is a WFH issue I have never encountered before.

    1. bamcheeks*

      Go in there over the weekend, tidy up and move a few things around, and make a special place for the things that particularly remind you of her. (Some of these will be stuff that is otherwise rubbish that you aren’t ready to get rid of yet, and some of it will be stuff that you will keep long-term.) It is easier if you face that stuff deliberately and give it the time and attention and sadness it deserves than just get ambushed by stuff you don’t expect when you’re in the middle of something else.

      And condolences.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        I wallowed through this situation about a year and a half ago, and I think this is the path I should have followed, for maximum self-care benefit. Fortunately I had very few meetings and was able to reschedule some stuff, because I was a mess. I only felt the need to tell one client, and he was sympathetic, or at least, he responded as though he was.

        So sorry for your loss! It’s the hardest part of loving pets. Or probably of loving, full stop.

      2. Optimus*

        Thank you, each of you. It would be really difficult to rearrange the furniture but I should be able to rearrange the space on and around the desk. The chair is so kind to my hips that I will definitely keep it, but cover it for a while. Maybe doing those things and also just acknowledging how loved and missed she is will help me through it. She didn’t have toys in there; she’d mostly look at me, or my phone, or my monitor, or rub her face against the AP Stylebook (don’t we all?).

        We do have other cats. She was just so, so special. Her big personality and love was so outsized for a little beast. I am sure eventually the cat distribution system will introduce us to a new friend.

    2. DannyG*

      Go to Office Depot and get a new chair, even if it’s just for a while whilst you’re grieving. Redecorate the office a little, but save your current stuff. When you can, maybe make a collection of pictures of her .

    3. Oysters and Gender Freedoms*

      I’m a big fan of rituals if you are ready.

      First go in there and have a grief ritual. Music, candles, scents, read poetry — anything that helps you grieve and honor your cat. Maybe set up a mini memorial or altar somewhere where you won’t see it while working and can cover it.

      Then later, do something to set your office up for work mode. Maybe put a blanket over the chair to hide evidence of the kitty. Set out your paper and pens very deliberately. If you made an altar, cover it (lovingly). I would also dress very strongly in work mode for a little while.

      Basically you need the space to hold two very different parts of you and for now you are making clear delineations so you can (hopefully) safely honor both. Make sure to circle back around and let grief mode back in at the end of the day.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Put a blanket over the chair so you can’t see the marks anymore, and maybe rearrange the desk a bit this weekend? Or even splurge on a new desk, and set it up differently?

    5. Ellen Ripley*

      When we lost our cat, feeling his absence around the house was unavoidable. What helped me was setting aside time to grieve and think of him each day. Also reminding myself of all the good memories I had with him, talking and laughing with my husband about his cute and silly behavior we missed. I’m so sorry for your loss and glad you have a good support system to help you through it.

    6. Clare*

      I’m so so sorry. I know the feeling and it’s devastating. It hurts so much. I’m sorry.

      When my cat died unexpectedly had to move in with family for a while. I simply couldn’t be in my house without him. If you need to, I give you permission to go and wfh in the spare room of a friend or family member.

      I also went out and adopted 2 more rescue cats as soon as I moved back home. Some people were confused because I was so torn up about my other cat. But I didn’t see it as ‘moving on’ or ‘being unfaithful’. I saw it as acknowledging how much joy he brought, that he made my brain go ‘Again! Again! ASAP!’. I needed not to have his spaces be empty, to see flickers of movement in the corner of my eye, to hear the occasional thump or rustle and know ‘It’s just the cats’. If you’re the same, I also give you permission to go out and adopt another little one. Do what helps you, not what you ‘should’ do.

      The pain never goes away, but in time you won’t feel it as regularly. Best wishes to you Optimus.

    7. sswj*

      I had a similar situation – lost my best feline friend and had to face my home office without him. I went and sat down there when I had time to grieve, and simply let go. I mourned him with tears, words, pounding fists; I just let the loss wash over me and through me (and 7 years later I’m tearing up writing this). It was an exhausting catharsis, and I was a mess, but it helped. I was able to clean my desk area, rearrange things a bit, and I made one of my favorite pictures of him my desktop wallpaper. It’s still there, and I still stroke his nose.
      In my case I was helped by the many other cats in my house, there’s always somecat on or near my desk. They aren’t my E, but they too are my friends and I think they understood somewhat. I actually have my elderly fuzzbutt Rose purring at my elbow right now :)
      I’m so sorry you’ve lost your friend.

    8. Thinking*

      I wonder if it would help to do a co-working share for a couple weeks? I’m not sure how that works with moving your monitor around, and it would cost something (although often there is a free trial), but it would be a different space.

  12. Madre del becchino*

    What is the commentariat’s recommendations for classic AAM stories to revisit? This past week while I’ve been sick I’ve deep-dived into Cheap-Ass Rolls and Guacamole Bob. What are the AAM stories not to be missed?

    1. No Tribble At All*

      At the bottom of Alison’s “About Me” page she has a Favorite Posts link. At the bottom of that is “a smattering of weirdness” which includes Call My Boyfriend Master and Putting Curses on Coworkers :D

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        The co-worker who ate the OP’s spicy food and then the co-worker got sick and the OP got in trouble

      1. Elizabeth West*

        LOL it’s hard to outdo that one. Top pick for the AAM Hall of Fame and most WTF workplace, lol.

      2. Anonymoose*

        I had an invitation this morning to a work duck club! It ended up being a fundraiser to race virtual rubber ducks, and each department is encouraged to get together and raise the most money as a ‘club’. It must have been a coincidence with the name but I did read through the email carefully for any other subtle AAM references.

    2. Gracie*

      The saga with hourly updates of “the new hire who showed up is not the same person we interviewed”

      The guy who ghosted his long-term partner who he lived with and then later ended up with her as his boss

    3. Elle Woods*

      My faves:
      employees with leap year birthdays finally getting a day off for their birthdays,
      the one whose coworker prayed for her fiancé’s death, and
      the holiday party that included a line about “I will confront by you Wednesday of this week.”

    4. Happy*

      i don’t have a link, but the story about the Christmas party where the girl’s date played piano and ‘sang AT her’.

      1. Rainy*

        And after you read that, read the AAM fanfic on AO3 that uses it as a Marvel AU plot! It’s called “You’re where you should be all the time” and it’s by laurakaye. :)

        1. SarahKay*

          You beat me to it with the rec for the fanfic! I loved this story so much and it totally became my ‘gateway’ fic for a huge amount of Agents of SHIELD / Avengers fanfic.

        2. Madame Arcati*

          It’s such a funny sweet story – I’m not into MCU or any superhero movies really (I’ve seen one or two I think but there are about fifty seven of them aren’t there) and I never read any kind of fanfic, but I have this story bookmarked because I like it so much!

    5. the cat's ass*

      Oh gosh, SO MANY! This site totally saved my during the pandemic at its worst, and I’ve turned all of my co workers on to it as well!

      The Christmas party where the guy did magic tricks and his date (the hysterical narrator) gets accidentally wasted and is taken home safely by two of magician boy’s co-workers.

      Life’s a rich tapestry, y’all!

    6. Mornington Cresent*

      The guy who threw the condoms all over the table at his interview, and the incredible update that goes along with it!

    7. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

      The one where the letter writer quit with no notice at a critical time for the company and letter writer was in a key role. Letter writer gave the company the same amount of notice the letter writer received when demoted with a pay cut (for nepotism reasons) some time prior. It was delicious. I don’t know the title of the post though!

    8. Kes*

      Look through the worst boss of the year competitions as well – some good stories there (well, good in the sense of interesting)

    9. Not Totally Subclinical*

      One of my very favorites is “My coworker is setting toilet paper on fire in the bathroom”, 26 Feb 2019. The opening lines of Allison’s response are priceless, and the comments riffing off that part of the response equally so.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I’m especially fond of the much later update when a relative of that person discovered AAM and sent Alison a snapshot of the fish case in question.

        Resigned by cod!

    10. Ali + Nino*

      Not sure if I’m getting the names right (and maybe this is too late to be seen but…):
      – the manager who wouldn’t give an employee time off to attend her own graduation, and then got upset that she quit
      – “Is the culture I’ve created on my team too exclusive?” There was doubling down in the comments, a long off-line saga, multiple updates and, ultimately, a happy ending.

    11. Former Mailroom Clerk*

      The “Go Get Your Dog” series is really good (“My company wants to sponsor me for a service dog, but I’m not sure I should accept” and I think 2 updates)

      Some of the “Interview With …” posts are really fun – I think there was a prison librarian, lab worker at the arctic circle, someone that worked in the adult industry, and Alison’s (then) 16 year old niece who had her first job. (Those are just the ones I remember, there are probably others)

    12. Closing Time*

      The post/updates/multiple Friday threads that were the saga from
      ‘I Work on a Hellmouth’ were what got me hooked on AAM.

      It took me probably a month of enjoyable weekend/evening reading and now I’m a daily visitor here. Classic!

    13. Ali*

      The one where a person pushed their coworker into oncoming traffic because they had a bird phobia. (The LW was an observer, not one of the two main characters.)

  13. I can't remember my username*

    Yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, my company laid off 1/3-50% of the staff (I’m unsure of the actual count but an entire shift was laid off).

    Then because they really wanted to commit to the bit of poor taste, they announced that the holiday party was now +1 (it had been previously staff only) because presumably they had already rented the space/food and need people to eat it.

    Not really looking for advice, just venting.

      1. I can't remember my username*

        Apparently not. I bet it has something to do with payroll. Easier to lay everyone off before the next pay cycle.

      2. Manders*

        My previous employer went bankrupt on Dec 23. No paychecks and no health insurance right before Christmas was painful (I don’t celebrate Christmas, it was painful for all the other reasons). They didn’t even provide us boxes to pack up our desks, so we were literally dumping out stuff in the warehouse.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Honestly, enough people make huge purchases on Black Friday that it might have been intended as a kindness.

        But we all know kind would have been two weeks earlier.

    1. Generic Name*

      I actually laughed out loud at that, because it’s so cartoonishly villainous. Like did the ceo sit in a high-backed leather chair, petting a cat while wearing leather gloves while making that decision?

  14. Mitchell Hundred*

    So I recently finished watching the TV show Dragon Ball GT, which was not good, but one thing about it that I liked was that they made extensive use of the beautifully ridiculous term “Blutz Waves.” And that made me wonder: does anybody else have a piece of fictional jargon/technobabble that they’re particularly fond of?

    In case anybody is curious, Blutz Waves are a type of radiation emitted by the moon in the world of Dragon Ball, and when the show’s protagonist is exposed to enough of them he turns into a giant ape that can shoot lasers out of its mouth.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            So many that we are getting bizarrely close to a Darmok and Jalad family culture.

            Someone has a harmless therefore slapstick accident and triggers teasing? Laugh while you can, monkey-boy!

            We find something in a bizarre location: Why is there a watermelon there?
            Person who realizes they left it there replies I’ll tell you about it later (And then goes and puts the thing away.)

            “Almost there! Almost there!”

            “Oh frettled gruntbuggly…”

            “Make it so, number one.”

            Someone walks in when i’m wrapping christmas presents? It’s Delenn all the way: If you value your life be somewhere else.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              I read this to my family and got even more for you. I can’t write them all; we may have an sf addiction. ;)
              -I grok that. (Robert Heinlein)
              -Maybe sprookjes don’t like nice neat rows. – Magic to a Herschling. -I’ve fallen on Stuckfish. -We eat it because it it is beautiful. -In Veschke’s honor. (All Janet Kagan, Hellspark)
              -Gronk! (Janet Kagan, Mirabile)

              -I *understood* that reference! (Captain America)

              -TANJ (Larry Niven)

              -Ooh, shiny! – Plus I can kill you with my mind. -I swear by my pretty little bonnet. I will end you. (All from Firefly)

              And when somebody snitches the first pancake off of your plate:
              -Luck to you! ( Elizabeth Moon, the Deed of Paksanarrion)

    1. No Tribble At All*

      When we were kids who’d been overexposed to Star Trek The Next Generation, we had lots of fun shouting “coolant leak! Eject the warp core!!” and combat rolling across the room a la Geordi LaForge

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        And early Star Trek! Every Enterprise emergency included Engineer Scott roaring, in a very fake Scottish accent, “I can’t hold her, Captain! She’s gonna blow!” My best friend and I have used that expression constantly over the past 40 years for everything from a malfunctioning dishwasher to a rickety grocery cart. Also, whenever we can’t get something to work, we say, “Great. But where are we gonna get dilithium crystals at this hour?”

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I like “Damn it, Jim, [insert whatever here]!” and “I canna push it any faster, Captain!” As well as “There’s no intelligent life down here.”

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Any time something is not working properly, I ask my husband if he has tried reversing the polarity and I can literally watch him counting to five in his head. “One… must… two… not… three… throttle… four… wife… five… okay.”

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Ah, marriage :) when a dumb joke gets funnier the more times you tell it (does it though?? Does it??)

          Every once in a while, reversing the polarity IS the answer — I put batteries in backwards to something the other day.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      I’ve actually been watching the original Dragon Ball (not Dragon Ball Z). It’s surprising how tonally different the show is.
      Yes, it has martial arts tournaments, but it seems to be a lot more about adventuring than fighting a series of opponents whose power levels are an order of magnitude above the one who came before them.

      1. Mitchell Hundred*

        Yeah, it is a real tonal shift. I guess you could think of it as the show maturing alongside its protagonist.

    3. fhqwhgads*

      Which makes even less sense because that character already turned into a giant ape whenever there was a full moon – until his tail was cut off. In the original Dragon Ball. So I guess the waves made him transform anyway AND added the lasers?

      1. I should really pick a name*

        I think the idea is that the Blutz Rays are an explanation of WHY he turned into a giant ape during full moons.
        I believe he had the lasers in the original Dragon Ball.

        1. Mitchell Hundred*

          I don’t think that’s true, actually. The villains in Dragon Ball get to fly and shoot lasers, but I’m pretty sure the heroes don’t get that stuff until Dragon Ball Zed.

    4. Seawren*

      My family likes to quote “A llama? He’s supposed to be DEAD!” as often as they possibly can (we live in a semi-rural area, so our odds of encountering a llama are probably higher than average).

      1. Pam Adams*

        There was a pet psychic once who said “the llama wants to be pretty. ” I think it had been grabbing people’s hats. The owners gave it a scarf.

    5. Clare*

      ‘Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow’ by John Pertwee’s Doctor is a particular favourite of mine.

      I especially like it because it’s 3 levels deep. If you don’t know any physics you go: “Sounds legit.” *shrug*. If you know some physics you go: “That’s wrong, neutrons are neutral – they don’t have a polarity!”. And if you know a lot of physics you go: “Sounds legit.” *shrug*. (Neutrons can be polarised with a magnetic field.)

      1. allathian*

        I’m going to like it from now on, too. That said “reverse the polarity” of whatever has become a trope in sci-fi shows and movies. I can’t remember if it was used on the original Star Trek show, if not, it probably originated with the Pertwee Doctor Who.

        “Don’t cross the streams. Do NOT cross the streams!” from Ghostbusters. I always love it when it comes up in discussions about the inadvisability of dating your coworkers.

  15. Macaroni Penguin*

    Dear Americans, why do you mix marshmallows and vegetables together? Yams? Sweet potatoes? Those are two food groups that should not be combined. Honestly, it sounds like a terrible idea.
    And why can’t you celebrate Thanksgiving in October like a reasonable country?
    A Perplexed Canadian

    1. Lenora Rose*

      Fellow Canuck here: I’ve had sweet potato pie of the marshmallow type, and I was pleasantly surprised, though I also found I could only eat a very small amount before it got to be too rich for me. It’s more closely related to pumpkin pie than yam fries. I’ll usually stick with the yam fries. (especially as my yam fries are generally made with curry spices; cinnamon, cumin, and garam masala, meaning cinnamon is the only other, very tentative, connection.)

        1. Rainy*

          Tossing the sweet potato sticks in egg white is key, in my experience.

          I still remember the duck poutine I had at a super fancy restaurant in Kingston that was duck confit and duck gravy over cheese curds on sweet potato fries. :)

    2. I should really pick a name*

      It’s fine for people to like things you don’t like.

      A Perplexed but Indifferent Canadian

      1. Happy meal with extra happy*

        I try to take comments/questions like these in the spirit they’re intended, but I’m always just so perplexed and annoyed that people get so confused and apparently upset that their food preferences are not universal.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          I get that the poster is trying to be humourous, but there are so many ways to do that without criticizing others.

          It’s possible to say “I don’t understand mixing sweet potatoes and marshmallows” without saying there’s something wrong with someone for liking them.

          1. Lilac*

            Yeah, I think I agree with this. I get that the comment isn’t meant to be taken as an actual insult (and I personally am not a fan of the sweet potato/marshmallow combo), but I also don’t love the idea of calling someone else’s traditional holiday food gross or weird. It’s fine if you don’t like it (like I said, I don’t)! But maybe don’t make fun of others for liking it!

            1. Macaroni Penguin*

              Gang, it’s a lighthearted joke. A friendly jest between nations. There’s nothing wrong with sweet potato pie.

              1. Happy meal with extra happy*

                You posted a comment with zero indications of humorous intentions and one that is often made 100% seriously and with the intent to be judgmental. I’m glad you weren’t being serious, but perhaps next time be more aware that tone can be difficult to convey in text.

                1. Lilac*

                  Yeah I think you really need to know your audience for these kinds of jokes. (And your audience needs to know you.) It’s tricky in a (mostly) anonymous forum.

                2. Macaroni Penguin*

                  Jokes at other people’s expense are not funny. Dry humour over the top mock outrage bantering about sweet potato pie involves no cruelty. It’s supposed to be funny because the joke issuer means the opposite of the presented statement.

              2. Slartibartfast*

                Detroit native here. Canada and America are kind of like siblings, we bicker a lot but it’s meant with love. For what it’s worth, poutine is awesome and I don’t know why Americans haven’t embraced it.

                But I will never understand ketchup chips.

              3. Girasol*

                Indeed! When we (Americans) visited Australia and stopped at a bakery for pie for lunch (they make the best meat pies there!) my husband asked if they ever made anything like an apple or cherry pie. The baker looked at him funny, said no, and added in a very doubtful tone, “But I suppose you could do that.”

    3. fposte*

      Dear Canadian—

      I can only agree with you on the date, and it would reduce the “Oh, God, we just *did* this” of making the big Christmas meal.

      While I didn’t grow up with marshmallow sweet potatoes and am largely indifferent, I think you are shackling yourself unnecessarily to supermarket categories. The word “sweet” is in this thing’s name. Like pumpkins, it is the substance of a sweet, sweet pie. I grew up putting butter and brown sugar on baked sweet potatoes. Rise up, free your mind, and welcome the opportunity to have dessert for a vegetable course.

      1. Cacofonix*

        But then, how could we possibly top the drama of Christmas if everyone had an extra 5 weeks to diet and mend fences after the drama of Thanksgiving? The world relies on your entertaining recounting of this drama. Bigger pants for everyone on Black Friday sales, I say.

      2. Nervous Nellie*

        fposte, you are a national treasure. And you owe me a keyboard. I just snort-laughed tea all over this one.

    4. RussianInTexas*

      As a person who started celebrating American Thanksgiving as an adult, I don’t understand and don’t like sweet casserole with marshmallows. At all.
      However, sweet potato pie and sweet potato empanadas are awesome. And so are sweet potato fries, especially with cayenne or Cajun spices.
      Also, yams technically =/= sweet potatoes.

      1. Lilac*

        My family always did a brown sugar/pecan topping on the sweet potatoes. Still very dessert-like, but preferable to marshmallows IMO. (And I am also a big fan of sweet potato fries!)

        1. RussianInTexas*

          I actually really like marshmallows and can eat the whole bag if unsupervised. But in set potatoes they are a bit much.

        2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Oh yes, the brown sugar/pecan sweet potato casserole is AMAZING. I’m not much of a fan of the marshmallow one, but then I don’t like marshmallows.

      2. Elle Woods*

        I’m not particularly a fan of sweet potatoes with marshmallows either. One of my relatives makes a really good sweet potato casserole that I love. It’s the recipe they use at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Delish!

      3. WellRed*

        Yes! I love to add spice to sweet potatoes. Do not understand the need to add sweet marshmallows to sweet potatoes.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          One of our most popular sides at feasts is my husband’s adobo sweet potatoes, which are way too spicy for me but we still never have leftovers :)

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I can live without the marshmallows and prefer savory sweet potatoes with butter, salt, and pepper. Or sweet potato fries, yum yum.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          There is an Argentinian place in my area that makes an array of them. Various meats and cheese, with different sauces like bbq, mole, wine, but also vegetables (my favorite is spinach mozzarella), also a ton of dessert – pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, guava, peanut butter, etc. I can eat the dulce de leche one daily. I shouldn’t, but I can.

    5. Cacofonix*

      Not for nothing but as a Canadian returning from Japan, have discovered hot roasted sweet potato with a dollop of chestnut ice cream on top for dessert. Tastes good with vanilla ice cream too. The Japanese love their sweet potatoes in so many ways.

      At home, yams are far more common, but if sweet potato and marshmallow is a dessert, then quirky but okay? Please tell me it’s not part of the main meal?

      As for Thanksgiving in November vs October for Canadians, I’d say that nations can choose their own holidays and observances without checking in with us. We have different origins for TG than the US.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        Sweet potato casserole is absolutely a part of the main meal, a traditional side to turkey, alongside green beans and stuffing.
        I never make it, I prefer my sweet potatoes to be on the savory side, and make Bobby Flay’s smoky chili scalloped sweet potatoes.

        1. Cacofonix*

          Oh my, oh my! Your version of scalloped sweet potatoes sounds delicious. I did the google, which is the only thing preventing me from begging you to invite me to yours for Thanksgiving. Thanky!

      2. londonedit*

        This is why we British people are similarly perplexed – I think we could get on board with the idea of it being a dessert, but a side dish? With meat and vegetables?? Blows our little minds. But I think (aside from things like pork and apple, or cheese and fruit chutney) we have less of a tradition of eating sweet and savoury things together – I’m always seeing American recipes for salads which have the usual salad leaves/veg/cheese etc but then also whack blueberries or strawberries or something in there.

        But then sweet potatoes are a relatively recent introduction to the white British kitchen (I don’t remember seeing them when I was a child) and they’ve definitely been marketed here as a) a generally savoury vegetable and b) a healthier/more nutritious alternative to potatoes. So we have ‘why the heck are you putting marshmallows on a vegetable’ and also ‘why the heck are you eating that with a roast dinner’ to unpack.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          Interestingly, roasted game or poultry with baked apples and/or sweet berry sauce is a traditional “fancy” meal in Russia. My mom would roast a goose with apples and sauerkraut. And sauerkraut itself would be served with chopped apples, onion, and sunflower oil. We would also have sweet pumpkin or corn pudding/porridge for breakfast.
          But that’s really the extent of the sweet on savory flavors.

        2. Happy meal with extra happy*

          I mean, is it really that weird that different cultures have different food traditions?

          1. londonedit*

            Of course not, but this is just something that blows non-American minds every year. I guess it’s so different from pretty much anything we’d encounter (and very different from anything we’d serve with a Christmas dinner or a Sunday roast) that it’s just intriguing. I don’t think anyone is genuinely ‘angry’ about it. Mock-affrontedness? Yes, because it’s humorous.

            1. Happy meal with extra happy*

              Is it funny? I guess I don’t get the humor. Like, beans on toast is such an unusual combination, as an American, or linguistically, “mushy peas” sounds more like toddler vomit to my American ears (Brits like to add “-y”’s to adjectives more often, which sounds more diminutive to us), but making jokes about it just seems like lackluster.

              1. londonedit*

                I think it’s a difference in humour styles.

                I’ve never understood why Americans think beans on toast is so weird – don’t you eat spaghetti hoops on toast? Heinz beans are just beans in that same tomato sauce. People here are divided on mushy peas but I think they’re great.

                1. Happy meal with extra happy*

                  First, they’re spaghettios. :)

                  Second, no, I’ve never heard of that being a thing here? And that’s why I find these “jokes” weird and somewhat lacking in awareness. You don’t understand why we find one of your food traditions odd, but it’s funny to make fun of one of ours.

                2. londonedit*

                  OK, well, I’m not the one who started the thread and I don’t think I’ve made fun of anything? All I’ve done is point out differences and try to explain why the idea of marshmallows with a roast dinner seems so odd to British sensibilities. I get that the original poster could have framed their comment in a less dry-humour sort of way, but I can also see that they were trying to be funny.

                3. Decidedly Me*

                  American here. I have never seen nor heard of anyone eating spaghetti hoops (which I know as SpaghettiOs) on toast.

                4. Lilac*

                  That’s actually not a thing in the US! We might have a plate of spaghetti with a slice of bread on the side, but it’s never ON the bread (and it’s usually a different type of bread than what’s typically used for toast). I’d never heard of spaghetti hoops on toast until I lived in the UK.

                  In any case, though, pretty much all countries have their own food traditions that might seem weird to others. I know this thread is all in good fun, but I find the back-and-forth of “no, YOUR foods are weird, ours are normal!” to be a bit tiresome.

                5. Kay*

                  @Tradd – since we have exhausted the reply ability. No getting in the way of Americans and their avocado toast!!

              2. Macaroni Penguin*

                My post was intended to be funny? There’s nothing wrong with sweet potato pie. No one (at least not me) is genuinely angry. Mock-affrontedness is a type of shared banter? I mean, I think that Hawaiian pizza is weird, and it was apparently invented in Canada. My country is fair game for weird food criticism. And celebrating things unreasonably early.

                1. Eff Walsingham*

                  Yes, Hawaiian pizza originated here in Canada. I don’t like sweet toppings on pizza, but it’s my husband’s favourite. It gave me great pleasure to bring him to the Source.

        3. peanut butter*

          didn’t minced meat originally have meat in it? I think of that as british, and sweet with meat. but maybe it’s not british?
          – neither british nor american

          1. londonedit*

            Minced meat and mincemeat are two different things. Hundreds of years ago a lot of British cooking mixed meat with sugar and spices and dried fruits, because they were all very expensive things and if you were a posh Tudor then you’d show off your wealth by serving your guests all the very expensive things all together.

            It’s been a long time since what we now call mincemeat actually contained any meat, but originally (again, centuries ago) it would have been minced-up meat mixed with spices and dried fruit. Nowadays, the mincemeat we have in mince pies at Christmas is just dried fruit, candied peel, traditionally suet (though people often now leave that out or use vegetarian suet) all preserved with alcohol like brandy. To be clear: there is no meat, minced or otherwise, in mincemeat (all one word) or mince pies (which are made from shortcrust pastry with mincemeat inside).

            Minced meat (or just ‘mince’) is what Americans would call ground meat – just meat that’s been minced up. Not the same as mincemeat.

        4. Scully*

          American married to a Brit here, which means we have Thanksgiving and Christmas meals that are pretty much the same. You’re confused by sweet potatoes with a roast dinner, I’m confused by bread sauce. Does a more unappetizing sauce exist?

          1. londonedit*

            Bread sauce is another of those very traditional and very old-fashioned recipes from hundreds of years ago that’s falling out of favour – not many people like it these days!

        5. RagingADHD*

          Blackened salmon on an arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette, fresh strawberries and mango is heavenly, and I will die on that hill.

          So is a mixed salad with balsamic, shaved parmesan, fresh pears and dried cherries.

          I don’t like the sweet potato / marshmallow thing because it is sweet on top of sweet. But crisp + savory / spicy + sweet + sharp/sweet is awesome.

        6. Girasol*

          What do you do with pumpkin or winter squash? I’ve always thought that they seemed similar in flavor and texture to yams. In the US pumpkin or squash might go into a sweet spiced custard pie for dessert, or be mashed as a side dish (my Thanksgiving acorn squash is mashed with salt, butter, and orange juice). Or it might be steamed and the halves stuffed with creamed chicken or beef or bulk breakfast sausage fried with apples. Pumpkin soups aren’t a thing in the US but when we visited Australia we tasted some delicious ones.

      3. Macaroni Penguin*

        Oh yes. This is all intended to be lighthearted bantering. Clearly different countries have different celebration origins.

    6. The dark months*

      Fellow Canadian here – Look up That Midwestern Mom on social media for her skits on Minnesota salads that are not salads.

      As a kid my mom made ambrosia, but I don’t think I ever saw it at anyone else’s house. All the kids were thrilled that marshmallows made it to the table as a main dish and not desert.

    7. Mitchell Hundred*

      As a Canadian, the mere act of commenting on this thread puts me at risk of having Stompin’ Tom show up in my dreams to tell me how disappointed he is.

      1. Cacofonix*

        You’re reading it, so now you’re just confessing out loud. Stompin’ Tom knows all. But recite the lyrics to Bud the Spud and you shall be saved.

    8. Llama face!*

      Fellow Canadian here and I’m pretty sure we gave up all rights to judge other countries’ unnecessarily sweet foods when we invented nanaimo bars.

        1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          Poutine is great, especially in cold weather, but it’s become comfort food for me.

          I’m not Canadian, but I have family in Montreal, and make a point of having poutine at least once per visit.

          1. Girasol*

            With Canada’s wonderful example of poutine right next door, I don’t know why it hasn’t caught on in the US. Poutine should be everywhere and yet it’s rare here.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        *Did* we invent Nanaimo bars, though? I thought maybe it was another thing like Hawaiian pizza, that has no connection to the place in the name. I mean, I couldn’t resist ordering a Nanaimo bar on a visit to Nanaimo, and it was pretty vile. I suspect that they weren’t using real chocolate, even!

    9. Dark Macadamia*

      Look, November Thanksgiving is the only barrier holding Christmas back from starting before Halloween.

      1. CTT*

        I’m imagining a turkey yelling “you want me on that wall! You NEED me on that wall!” à la A Few Good Men now.

      2. Macaroni Penguin*

        In my country, we sometimes see Christmas decorations on sale along side or before (gasp) Halloween. I’m convinced that this will break the space time continum somehow.

        1. amoeba*

          Hah, yes. Tried to buy some Halloween stuff, like, 3 days before Halloween, and it was already being posted out by Christmas things…

          1. Girasol*

            One of my neighbors has a yard full of plastic gravestones, skeletons, inflatable turkeys in pilgrim hats, Christmas lights, and Santa Claus all at once. Confusing but festive.

      3. Irish Teacher.*

        In Ireland, I can confirm, it now basically starts the 1st of November. Halloween is the only thing holding it to that point, but right on the 1st of November, the Christmas ads begin.

    10. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Dear Perplexed,

      While I’ve only visited your country a few times (once as a child and another time when I stayed overnight because my flight was delayed), I have great respect for you. One of my dearest friends is Canadian.

      When I came to the US as a child, I was similarly surprised by many of the recipes but also awed by things such as peanut butter…ground up peanuts? made into a spread? What is this magic and have you tried it in hot cocoa?

      It is because of my own enlightenment combined with this abiding respect for you that I must urge you to free your mind and try different and amazing sweet and savory combinations such as sweet spaghetti squash casserole …I don’t remember the recipe beyond spaghetti squash and sugar and butter, but it will knock your socks right off.

      Your downstairs neighbor

      1. Agnes Montague*

        I have never tried peanut butter in hot chocolate, but it sounds amazing and I will have to do so at the nearest opportunity!

    11. Sloanicota*

      It is a great joy, as an American (but one from a state that borders Canada) in the years where we can’t get together on the “real” thanksgiving and instead substitute a Canadian Thanksgiving gathering. We do everything we would usually do on American thanksgiving, we just do it on a weekend where flights are more affordable, road traffic is not so bad, and more things are available in stores – plus nothing is closed, and there’s no weird Black Friday pressure hanging over everything. It is delightful! I always assumed the variation comes from harvest time being earlier in the year in Northern regions, versus, say, Tennessee.

    12. annabelle*

      “And why can’t you celebrate Thanksgiving in October like a reasonable country?”

      You know that they’re 2 separate holidays, right? American Thanksgiving vs Canadian Thanksgiving?

      Sweet potatoes keep for a long time since in Thanksgivings before the age of electricity and refrigeration, yeah you’re going to use dishes that won’t spoil right away. But thanks for crapping on American culture just because you’re testy about Canada’s own history of human rights abuses and genocide against indigenous groups.

    13. Maggie*

      Because it’s good and because we want to. Why does anyone anywhere mix two ingredients together? They think it’s good or they want to. This comment is so rude

  16. Unemployed in Greenland.*

    I love the kitty turkies!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate today. And thank you for the commentariat who gave me strategies for removing marks from a ceramic Dutch oven interior, last week.

  17. Daisy*

    Being queer at the holidays is exhausting (and none of the queer-accepting relatives will even stand up for me) and so after a quick lunch with my parents, I will be spending the day blessedly alone.

    1. Lilac*

      Fellow queer person here—I’m sorry to hear that. I haven’t had to spend a major holiday with the more conservative side of my family since I came out a couple years ago, but I know it’s only a matter of time and I’m not looking forward to it.

      I hope you enjoy your lunch with your parents and you’re able to do something nice for yourself this evening!

    2. Stay-at-homesteader*

      Sending virtual hugs if you want them! I’m sorry your accepting relatives won’t even do that for you. I hope you have an absolutely lovely day!

    3. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      Sorry you don’t have a supportive Thanksgiving (and boo for those who won’t stand up for you). Being alone can be restorative – in the past 20 years, I’ve spent Thanksgiving with family 3 times (due to being in a different state and hating travel over holidays as I always pick up a respiratory illness on the plane), twice with friends (who have since moved) and alone 15 times, which I have kind of enjoyed as a chance to restore my introvert batteries.

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

      Sorry your relatives won’t act better to you.

      I hope you enjoy your alone time and find something self nurturing and fun to do for the rest of the day — you deserve a great day!

    5. Person from the Resume*

      That sucks! I’m sorry to hear that.

      I’m have friendsgiving tonight with a bunch of queer people.

      My family is celebrating thanksgiving on Saturday. But luckily my family is not going to be like yours. I’m sorry your family is not accepting of your identity.

    6. anxiousGrad*

      I’m sorry your family gives you a tough time. I wish that relatives would understand that it’s painful for us to hear people debating whether we deserve basic human rights, even when they’re arguing for our side. Thankfully TomboyX sent a well timed ad today that gave me a chuckle: “We’ve got retail therapy. Click here to escape your conservative uncle”

  18. I should really pick a name*

    Ah, Thanksgiving, the chance to catch up on work for our American customers while they’re out of the office.

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

      LOL, I’m American, but I’m basically doing the same thing over this holiday weekend — catching up on stuff without being distracted by work e-mails.

    2. Colette*

      When I worked for an American company, Thanksgiving was almost like a holiday because all meetings were cancelled and we could get stuff done.

  19. WishIWasATimeTraveller*

    Does anyone else think that an Ask A Manager coffee table book would be brilliant? A selection of the best columns and updates, maybe with some illustrations (I’m imagining the page for the coworker who use to light toilet paper on fire before flushing it). Oh, and it could include recipes like the chocolate cherry cake guaranteed to have your coworkers make NSFW noises!

      1. Lenora Rose*

        True, but it was released in 2018, and there have been 5 more years of the site. Plus, as someone below noted, it needs a glossary.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      And a glossary of terms and phrases with their origins, like Quack, Guacamole Bob, chocolate teapots, IANALlama, Fergus, cheap-ass rolls, Hanukkah balls, Go get your dog, and more.

    2. Pam Adams*

      John Scalzi- science fiction writer and blogger- regularly publishes collections of his posts.

      Also, Captain Awkward is working on a book based on her blog.

  20. nopetopus*

    This is the first year in over a decade that I’m not hosting or bringing the turkey and it makes me really sad.

    1. Kittees*

      Sorry you are feeling bad. It is hard to have a wonderful tradition like that change. I hope that next year you can host again (even with different people if necessary), or find a new tradition that brings you joy. Wishing you warm thoughts.

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Wishing you gentle comfort around the sadness. May you be held and seen in the way you need.

    3. Girasol*

      My favorite coffee shop in the city where I used to travel for work does a breakfast scramble of eggs, cheese, and turkey. A great deal of the bird in my oven now will be set aside for that.

  21. Helvetica*

    What is a weird food combo that you enjoy?
    Personally, I am a huge fan of toast with peanut butter and scrambled eggs on top + a bit of soy sauce. It sounds weird but the savory, acidic and umami flavours really make up something magical to me.
    I also love chilli-lime and dill pickle flavoured chips – the sour note is really great in both of these.

    1. Happy meal with extra happy*

      Apples and dill pickles together. I discovered the combination when I was little, and I’m shocked I’ve still never heard of it anywhere.

    2. RussianInTexas*

      I like those chips too.
      Sometimes I half an avocado, take out the pit, spoon some garlic chili crisp into the each half, and eat with the spoon.
      Yesterday I made a sandwich out of two toasts, cream cheese, smoked salmon, and pico de Gallo.

    3. londonedit*

      I like toast with peanut butter and Marmite, but I don’t think that’s hugely uncommon here in the UK because they actually now make peanut butter with Marmite already in it. I’m not keen, though, because the ratio of Marmite to peanut butter is wrong (in my opinion) and it just tastes like really salty peanut butter. You’ve got to do a nice thin layer of Marmite on the toast, and then a good layer of crunchy natural peanut butter.

      1. Helvetica*

        Oh, I’ve got both peanut butter and Marmite at home (being neither American nor British) so I must try this. Do you think smooth peanut butter would also work or does the crunch add something essential?

      2. Phryne*

        Also good: peanut butter with sambal. Don’t know if sambal is well known elsewhere, but it is Indonesian chili paste. It is thicker than chili sauce and not sweet. There is also an well known Indonesian peanut sauce (sateh), so the combination peanut-chili is a tried and tested one. Really good.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I just bought Marmite because my teen is curious …and it turned up in a really tiny jar. We’ll have to try the peanut butter combo.

    4. Elle Woods*

      Peanut butter & bacon on a burger (with or without cheese). I tried it for the first time a few years ago and it is really, really good. Smooth peanut butter is best.

    5. bamcheeks*

      Two dark chocolate digestives with a layer of crunchy peanut butter sticking them together.

      It’s about as filling as a main meal, mind.

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

        Ooh, this reminds me of one of my faves — two Marie LU Petit E’Colier cookies/biscuits with the dark chocolate on them and some brie in between. A little heaven sandwich.

        1. allathian*

          Two gingerbread cookies (LU Bastogne will do) with some brie/camembert in between. Yum!

          Gingerbread also goes well with blue cheese.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            There is a frosted low-fat girl scout cookie maybe 25 years ago that was meh on its own but excellent with dates.

    6. RagingADHD*

      I haven’t tried it since I was pregnant, but at the time I loved a tuna salad sandwich with brown mustard and sauerkraut.

      1. GoryDetails*

        My mom used to make that; she’d put the whole thing under the broiler so the peanut butter got melty. (She also made peanut-butter-and-butter sandwiches – cold, not broiled. And she liked to eat peanut butter out of the jar by the spoonfull, so…. she really loved peanut butter, I guess!)

        1. PhyllisB*

          In the South we like peanut butter sandwiches with mayonnaise on them. Also banana sandwiches with mayo. It sounds odd if you’ve never tried it, (I’ve gotten some odd looks when I mention it.) But hey, if Kinsey Milhoune can have her peanut butter and pickle sandwich, I’ll stick with my peanut butter/mayo.
          For those unfamiliar, Kinsey was the heroine in a series of books referred to as the Alphabet Mysteries written by Sue Grafton. If you’re interested, the series starts with A is for Alibi. Sadly, she passed away before she could write the title.

          1. PhyllisB*

            Another one my mother-in-law came up with when her kids were young: she would put a slice of cheese on a soda cracker (also know as saltines) and top with a marshmallow and run under the broiler until browned. It sounds odd, but it’s pretty good if you like sweet and salty together.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Heartbreaking quote from her family explaining that there would be no ghost writer for a final volume: “As far as we’re concerned, the alphabet ends with Y.”

      1. Enough*

        There have been more articles lately about peanut butter and pickles. But none seem to mention my favorite pb and sweet pickle sliced. Just the right amount of crunch.

      2. Helvetica*

        Yes! That’s my other favourite. The creaminess of the peanut butter and the acid from pickles mix so well.
        I do have a thing for acidic foods.

    7. Not My Money*

      bologna with peanut butter and miracle whip on white bread. crunchy pb and definitely not mayonnaise.

    8. Can't Sit Still*

      Scrambled eggs and cheddar on a blueberry bagel were a revelation.

      I also like grilled cheese sandwiches made with sharp cheddar, sweet gherkins and spicy mustard on whole wheat bread. A rustic white will do in a pinch, but it really needs to be a sturdy bread to stand up to rest of the ingredients.

    9. Forensic13*

      Swiss cheese and ketchup
      Cottage cheese and French dressing
      both from my childhood, the origins of which I never discovered otherwise

      I rarely eat the second anymore, though I craved it like crazy when I was pregnant. And peanut butter and tomato sandwiches, another childhood classic. Which is extra funny because I HATE peanut butter and jelly.

      I’m a monster :)

    10. GoryDetails*

      The peanut-butter-and-scrambled-eggs sandwich sounds a bit like one that a local food writer calls “World’s Greatest Breafast Sandwich”:

      1 slice of ordinary sandwich bread, toasted
      peanut butter
      pickled jalapenos
      1 egg, scrambled

      Sounds like the pickled jalapenos take the place of the soy sauce in your version.

    11. carcinization*

      I put curry powder, salt, and nutritional yeast on the popcorn before popping it… and then butter and parmesan afterward!

    12. Aphrodite*

      Chunky peanut butter on Triscuit crackers topped with hamburger dill pickle slices. Must be accompanied by cold milk.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Doritos and canned vanilla frosting.

      Monte cristo sandwich with maple syrup AND pickle.

  22. Jongst*

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to thicken lemon curd to use it as a pie filling. All the recipes I have are for making curd from scratch, which I’d do if I had 1) time and 2) lemons. This is why I keep jarred curd around. Flour? Corn starch? Arrowroot? Use it as-is? Can I swirl it with canned fruit pie filling and make it look like a fancy tart that I could theoretically fool everyone into thinking I did it all from scratch?

    1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      A jar of lemon curd would be a bit much to use as pie filling, even if you could thicken it. Do you have cool whip, whipping cream, or ingredients for a custard (milk or other dairy, flour, sugar, vanilla)? Lemon curd would be lovely swirled with something creamy, but I think canned fruit just wouldn’t go well with it.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Well, you could make a lemon curd (cook slowly, thicken with eggs), or you could use sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks, like an Atlantic Beach lemon pie.

    3. fhqwhgads*

      The jarred lemon curd I’ve seen recently is already thick enough to use as pie filling, but if yours isn’t, yeah, corn starch. But start a TINY bit at a time. It’s easy to overdo.

    4. Twix*

      The two options would be to cook a little bit more water out of it over medium-low heat or to make a smooth 1:3 slurry of cornstarch to water and slowly stir it in over low heat until you reach the consistency you want.

  23. Lynn*

    I posted the issues with my job working at the fuel center on previous weekend open threads.

    Currently I am the closer at the fuel center I work at, and I realized why.

    I just realized why I am stuck working the closing shift.

    I am too good at what I do.

    I have seen this issue several times on this blog.

    It’s not personal. They think “Business is Business”. You are the perfect person for the job and doing so well. Why would they ever want to replace you? No one can do this job as well as you. Training someone would cost time and money. It is a smarter business decision to convince you to continue in the role.

    Your boss gets it: You like your company and your job. Your salary is decent but not great. You are good at what you do. Your boss figures you like it there too much to leave and that you have too much at stake. After all, you are a loyal, reliable type of person, not a backstabber type. Your boss is hoping you will settle back down and forget the conversation for a while, so they can keep you in the position as long as possible.

    It is a double-edged sword because my husband wants me to work mornings, but my direct manager and probably one of the assistant managers she works with wants me as the closer since I am the only one who cleans the fuel center during my shift. The other fuel center clerks do the bare minimum.

    My husband worked overnight several years ago, and it lasted too long for his comfort level.

    It got to the point that I told him he cannot continue working overnight.

    Neither one of us wants that to happen again.

    1. RagingADHD*

      I think you are attributing far too personal / manipulative motives to your boss. If they need a reliable closer and you’re the only one, and you keep showing up for that shift, there is no problem to solve.

      If you have asked to be moved to morning shift and they won’t, find another job. It isnt “backstabbing,” and no normal manager thinks so. If this attitude is actually coming from your manager and they act like you somehow owe them personal loyalty, they are not right in tbe head.

      1. Lynn*

        Most of what I included is in an article I copied and pasted from the internet

        Yes, I am already frustrated with continuously working nights.

        My husband works mornings.

        He is alone at home when I work nights, and he does not like that.

        He wants me home with him.

        And I do not blame him for that.

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Good noticing and insights!

      I’ve worked nights for hurricane response before and I found it fun because it was an unusual circumstance (at the time). Doing it full time would not be for me. I feel for you!

      What will you do with this newfound realization?

    3. Observer*

      Your boss figures you like it there too much to leave and that you have too much at stake. After all, you are a loyal, reliable type of person, not a backstabber type.

      Looking for a job elsewhere is absolutely NOT “backstabbing.”

      Start looking elsewhere.

  24. Cookies for Breakfast*

    I’m not in the US and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but I’m a huge fan of pecan pie. My favourite cake bakery in London sells it for a couple of weeks only every November, and I had my annual slice last Saturday. It was an absolute joy. And also, definitely more expensive than last year. It’s probably about time I start considering making my own!

    I’d love to hear about your favourite recipes for pecan pie, and where to find them. Bonus points if they come with metric measurements. And if pecan pie is on your menu this weekend, have a second slice for this internet stranger too :)

    1. bamcheeks*

      I have never made pecan pie, but I had an online recipe I wanted to try once which was American (1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar etc) but had an “Change to metric” button. I clicked the button and it switched to 236.59ml of flour, 118.29ml of sugar…

    2. RagingADHD*

      This is my fave. No metric unfortunately, but I think 1 cup = 250 ml, and 350 F is 180C, but you’ll want to check. It’s pretty forgiving.

      Chocolate Molasses Bourbon Pecan Pie
      1 plain pie crust
      3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
      3 large eggs
      3/4 cup molasses or maple syrup (or a combination of the two)
      1/4 cup bourbon
      2/3 cup brown sugar
      1/3 cup softened butter
      1 tsp vanilla

      2 cups chopped pecans
      (optional) pecan halves for decorating

      Preheat oven to 350. Line pie pan with crust.
      Distribute chocolate in an even layer on crust.

      All ingredients should be at room temperature.
      Whisk eggs thoroughly, then add wet ingredients and mix until well
      combined. Fold in chopped pecans.

      Fill pie pan. Decorate top as desired. Bake on a cookie sheet on bottom rack for 40-45

      1. Phryne*

        I don’t think I can get the pie-crust ready made in my county, what kind of crust is pie-crust? Sweet/neutral/savory? Flakey or crumbly or solid?

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Flakey, oil-based* pastry crust. Dense and flaky if you can manage that. ie not layered, but thick enough to keep the filling from sticking. Pre-cooking the crust for texture was a revelation to me.

          *Butter or lard

          1. Phryne*

            I am a bit too lazy for it myself generally, but the enthusiastic Baudet in my family swear by blind baking crusts (though they mostly do savory, like quice).
            I saw King Arthur baking mentioned in the thread and I found a recipe on the site with vegetable shortening. Not a common product here, but apparently not completely impossible to get. And if I can’t find that I guess butter, cause lard is also hard to get and I’m not a fan.

      2. londonedit*

        We can get sets of measuring cups quite easily here in the UK – it’s easiest just to do that rather than trying to convert, because the problem with cups is that they’re a volume measurement and you can’t easily convert things like ‘3/4 cup of chocolate chips’ into grams because one is volume and the other is weight, and a cup of chocolate chips will have a different weight from a cup of flour or sugar (I think a cup is 240ml in British measures – possibly 250ml in Australian – but that only works if you’re measuring out liquids).

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Actually, you can very easily convert 3/4 of a cup of chocolate chips into grams by googling “0.75 cup chocolate chips in grams” :) as an American baker who prefers to use weight instead of volume – google knows all. (It’s 120 grams.)

          1. londonedit*

            Well, yes, but what I mean is that if your recipe is in cups then it’s easier to just buy a set of cheap US cup measurements rather than having to Google the equivalent weight for every different ingredient.

            I’m going to stop commenting on threads about food, I swear…

            1. allathian*

              I’m in Finland and we measure baking ingredients by volume (deciliters and standardien spoon sizes) rather than by weight. Main exceptions include fat (grams) and eggs.

    3. Just a Name*

      I make a mean bourbon pecan pie. It’s part my husband’s grandmother’s recipe, part Paula Dean.
      Recipe below and picture here if you scroll down:


      • 1 pie crust (the ones in the refrigerator case seem to work better, not generic)
      • ½ cup of brown sugar
      • ½ cup of white sugar
      • 1 teaspoon of salt
      • 2 cups of pecan halves
      • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
      • ½ cup of light karo syrup
      • 3 eggs, beaten
      • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
      • 1 tablespoon of bourbon


      • Preheat oven to 375º
      • Mix brown sugar, white sugar and salt together by hand
      • Stir in melted butter
      • Mix in eggs, karo syrup, vanilla and bourbon
      • Add 1 cup of pecan halves
      • Place pie crust in a pie plate
      • Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust; arrange rest of pecan halves on top
      • Bake at 375º for 10 minutes
      • Decrease heat to 350º and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pie is set (slightly jiggly is good).

      1. Cookies for Breakfast*

        Thank you, really appreciate you sharing a recipe with a family history with an internet stranger. I’d never heard of karo syrup before, or noticed it in stores anywhere I’ve lived, so it’s interesting how much it’s coming up in this thread (I suspected at least one ingredient that would be unfamiliar to me would be involved). If it’s something a non-American can replace with maple or golden syrup, then I have a lot of pecan pie experiments to keep busy with, based on the comments here :)

    4. CTT*

      I just do the recipe on the bottle of Karo syrup. If it was good enough for my Alabama grandmother, it’s good enough for me!

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        Atlanta resident here whose family has been in GA since the 1840s. I use the recipe on the Karo syrup bottle as well. A tiny splip of either bourbon or pecan whiskey is a nice touch, too.

    5. Bluebell*

      I love pecan pie but usually buy it, as I live in a town with phenomenal bakeries. Smitten Kitchen has a recipe, and I trust her versions of things.

      1. Cookies for Breakfast*

        Thank you! I bookmarked the Smitten Kitchen recipe. That’s a website I don’t check out as often as I could, and I’ve no idea why – every time I’ve used it, it’s been great. I have very fond memories of chocolate sablé biscuits I once made as Christmas gifts for friends and family.

    6. BRR*

      I haven’t personally made it yet but I’ve heard the recipe on King Arthur’s website is amazing. A blog named pancake princess does amateur bake offs and it was the winner of her pecan pie bake off.

    7. Vanessa*

      I love my americas test kitchen recipe.
      But I saw one on skinny taste that looks quick and yummy. It’s phyllo tarts.

    8. Yikes Stripes*

      Without a doubt my favorite and best received pecan pie recipe is the Bourbon Ginger Pecan Pie from King Arthur baking – it’s pretty easy, comes with metric measurements, and is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten

    9. Part time lab tech*

      Belinda Jeffery’s all time favourite Pecan and Maple Pie from “The Country Kitchen” is my go to. It uses a pre baked shortcrust pastry shell. If making the shortcrust, grind up 2-4 tablespoons of pecans to mix in.
      However this recipe does not require me typing on a phone and requires only replacing the golden syrup with a cup of maple, adding an extra egg and grinding the pecans instead of chopping. (I will commonly internet search, find two recipes that look good and adjust so this is a normal amount of fiddling for me:)

      1. Cookies for Breakfast*

        Ooh, thank you. I like the look of the Delia recipe, even before the adjustments. The fact it has rum instead of bourbon is a big plus, since it’s a lot easier for rum to already be available in my home. And I’m intrigued by the addition of pecans to mix into the shortcrust! Would you do it alongside the full quantities of the other ingredients, or as a replacement for part of something else (e.g. part of the flour or sugar)?

    10. Jay*

      This is something from my own experience, but I’ve found it to be true.
      People who love pecan pie almost always love a broadly similar regional confection called Shoo Fly Pie. You mostly find it in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. I don’t have a recipie, although you can find them on the internet.
      Just a thought, if you don’t mind ordering online and want a second favorite pie.

      1. Cookies for Breakfast*

        Thank you! I remember the name from a cookbook I have lying around somewhere. I’m sure I’d love eating it, but it’s unlikely I’ll make it myself, because of molasses – that’s an ingredient we never buy. I bought a can once, for the sake of one specific recipe I was testing for a friend, and had so much leftover I had to give it away. Golden syrup and maple syrup get a lot more use in this house.

  25. Solo turkey*

    Who is celebrating Thanksgiving on your own, and what are you doing?

    The first year I was on my own for the holiday, I made stuffing with challah bread (the smitten kitchen recipe). This year, ingredients are too expensive, so I’m making roasted potatoes from Serious Eats. (Sides for me, all the way.)

    I might watch Dune on Netflix later this afternoon.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I am — as I posted above, family is together in OldState and we were planning to eat together over Zoom. I have a couple of movies picked out for tonight that I haven’t seen in a while :)

      The rest of this weekend will be devoted to writing and probably some decluttering. This knee surgery messed up my plans to do NaNoWriMo in November, so I guess I’ll do my own in December. I need to finish Book 3 so I can start studying for a work certification.

    2. Sitting Pretty*

      I’m solo this year too. Dealing with Long COVID makes travel and even just a meal with a group too tough to enjoy. So I sent my teen son off with my parents to our ancestral home in Texas to have a zooey multi-city, multi-day holiday with a gazillion relatives. I am happily swaddled in blankets on the couch with a smoothie while getting semi-regular dispatches from various aunts and cousins about the family shenanigans. It’s absolutely perfect!

      The sun is shining here so the doggo and I will take an easy walk later, and I have started a spooky novel by Tananative Due that will keep me entertained this evening.

      Hope you enjoy the quiet!

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

      I ordered some scones, double cream, and blackcurrant conserve for breakfast from a gourmet food store to make the mornings of the holiday weekend feel special. The food is . . . okay, but I won’t order from them again. Glad I at least tried them out, though — I hate thinking “If only I had done X . . . .

      I have two turkey drumsticks defrosting in the fridge right now. I’ll either do both in the toaster oven or cook one in the toaster oven and simmer one on the stovetop with some soda pop.

      Sides will be those little Le Sueur baby peas, corn, tater tots, and maybe some biscuits, and I bought a slice of chocolate pie to try for dessert.

      Listened to “Alice’s Restaurant” on a real radio as people my age do, and will try to find something to entertain me in the background while I grade and do schoolwork this afternoon.

      Happy Thanksgiving, all you solos out there! I raise my espresso cup to you in solidarity. : )

      1. West Coast Best Coast*

        Oh my gosh thanks for the very timely reminder about Alice’s Restaurant! I was able to catch the end of it.

    4. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      I do the sides I love (stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes) and pick a protein (chicken or steak usually).

      1. Girasol*

        My first Thanksgiving alone and I’m doing the same, just my favorite things: the turkey that the store sent me by mistake, roast garden veggies, cranberries, and a mashed squash. It’s much easier than the usual menu so I’m relaxing with some good music and planning to get into the Mandalorian later.

      2. carcinization*

        My husband and I almost always have the favorite-holiday-sides as a separate dinner around Thanksgiving or Christmas. In our case they are shrimp and grits dressing, and brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots, recipes from Southern Living. This year I had a friend who was on bedrest after an unexpected medical emergency so we brought those two dishes over to the friend’s house (along with some tahini chocolate chip cookies) last weekend.

    5. Grilledcheeser*

      I love solo Thanksgivings. Normally i make a Chandler Tday meal, but it was too sad this year so i did a no-cook single-serving traditional meal. Got up early this morning to hit the gourmet grocery store for local organic roasted turkey deli meat, fresh baked rolls, can of cranberry jelly, pickles, olives, carrots, celery, a slice of pumpkin pie, and apple cider. I already have a cup of Idahoan mashed potatoes to make with boiled water, then i am ready for dinner! Bam! 5 minutes prep! ;)

      1. Peter*

        I snugged in bed longer with one of my black cats, and am eating my favorite foods (which are no necessarily Thanksgiving ones) — chicken which I like better than turkey; collard greens which I grew; potato baked in a small crock pot. I’m taking care of a neighbor’s tuxedo kitty – so I’m getting extra purrs!

    6. Nicki Name*

      There were a few times early in my career when I didn’t have enough time off to travel long-distance for Thanksgiving, so I went to a local Thanksgiving buffet. It was nice to still be around a bunch of people and stuff myself silly with traditional foods.

    7. Manders*

      I was born on Thanksgiving, so I think that’s why I like the holiday so much. I attended a lunch at a friend’s but that means no leftovers, so I made a simple traditional dinner (minus the turkey, which I absolutely don’t care about) for myself so I’ll have leftovers for a few days.

    8. David*

      I’m celebrating on my own, which is pretty normal for me since my family is on the opposite coast of the US (plus there are internal conflicts that make it impossible to get the whole family together). I’m used to being alone on the holidays, so I don’t mind it *too* much, but for some reason this year the loneliness is getting to me more than usual.

      I wanted to try cooking something different this year, so I’m making some pork sirloin that I found in the grocery store (closest I could get to the traditional ham just a few days before Thanksgiving) and stuffed mushrooms. Neither of them is going well and I expect the results to be pretty disappointing. So I’m sort of tempted to decree that this is a non-holiday meal for myself, and go for a redo tomorrow with something I know how to make much better, macaroni and cheese with sausage and mushrooms.

      On the bright side, I have today and tomorrow off from work, and I took an extra day off on Monday so I get a nice long weekend. I’m planning to use it to catch up on chores and read some more of the Wheel of Time series, which I’ve been working on since January and hoping to finish by the end of the year. I’m just starting book 11 (of 14) so the extra time will come in handy!

    9. Rara Avis*

      My family is three is flying solo; I got sick so we can’t join the party at my husband’s brother’s. He had been assigned to make the ravioli (This is an Italian family that does course 1: antipasto, Italian deli meats and cheeses/course 2: ravioli/course 3: Turkey and all the fixings.) so we’re having ravioli for Thanksgiving. Watched the whole parade and dog show. (Usually there’s work to be done.)

    1. NeonDreams*

      Me! I’m a news reporter and covered three community events. Working the last story as we speak.

  26. Csethiro Ceredin*

    Happy Thanksgiving from Vancouver, Canada! Ours is in early October so here I am at work as usual.

    I hope everyone has a lovely holiday (and I hope you get some time off).

    1. Rainy*

      When I lived in Van (grad school) about half my program was from the states and I used to do a big American Thanksgiving for everyone. I miss Vancouver so much. I’m currently job hunting to try and get us closer to friends and family in the PNW and have an interview for a position in B’ham next week. My BFF just applied for a role in New West in BC as well.

        1. Rainy*

          Thank you! It would be really great–a bit of a sideways move subfield wise but also up, the title would be a promotion, and the money is where I need it to be. I also got the email the day after I applied, so that was pretty exciting. :)

      1. Csethiro Ceredin*

        Good luck with the job! Sending good thoughts.

        I like the PNW a lot too… I’m from Ontario/Quebec originally which is also scenic but a very different vibe. And MUCH more snow. I’ll take rain and ocean over snow any day.

  27. Tradd*

    Happy Thanksgiving from the US. I discovered I had no hot water when I got up this morning. Water heater was leaking from vent at top. I shut off the water to heater, as well as turned gas control on front to off. I heated a kettle full of water and used that for a sponge bath in the tub with two large bowls and a plastic pitcher. Got me clean. That’s how our ancestors bathed! Let my landlord know (I rent a privately owned condo). Haven’t heard back from him yet.

    Had to do a bit of work today. I’m a customs broker and there were several very urgent air freight shipments arriving in the US today. The overseas countries didn’t give a flying fig it was our holiday and totally shut down. Customers complained and shippers told them to stuff it. Yet countries like China and India howl big time if we even thought about shipping something to them when they’re shut down for a big holiday. Going to dinner a couple hours away, leaving in a bit. Then I have to work more tomororw.

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

      So sorry about your water heater (but kudos to you on being creative in your response!). Emergencies during the holidays are the worst — I hope your landlord gets it fixed for you soon!

      1. Tradd*

        Landlord finally called me when I was at dinner. Told me he will replace it Monday. I can survive just fine. At least it’s not summer and I’m sweating all the time. LOL.

    2. Two Fish*

      In the other direction, my PastEmployer tried to ship some materials from the US to Europe, to arrive on Monday for a Tuesday meeting. However, that Monday was Easter Monday and there was no way the shipment would arrive before Tuesday.

      The manager involved, who was probably catching all the flak, tried to blame not knowing about Easter Monday on our mailroom. I was glad the mailroom politely said that not alerting us was on the client. I never knew how it was ultimately handled.

  28. Bluebell*

    I know that cats are widely beloved here, but is anyone watching the National Dog Show today? The bulldog was awfully cute!

    1. Not Alison*

      They aren’t showing it till 4pm EST in our area so we are looking forward to watching it while eating turkey legs.

    2. carcinization*

      I watched it but knew it’d be a bit weird because I haven’t paid much attention to dogs since mine had to be put to sleep in August. I was happy and sad at the same time that they didn’t spend much time at all on the Schipperke, since that’s what my boy was.

    3. LAGirl*

      We are a cat family but we always watch the dog show. We TiVoed it to watch in the evening with our pie. We were also rooting for that magnificent Great Dane!

  29. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    Recommendations for ergonomic adjustable height work desks for a small home office?

    I have a small cheap thing that has two adjustable risers – one surface for a keyboard and one for one monitor, but it’s too narrow.

    I’d like space for two monitors. I don’t need it to be electric or fancy. A drawer would be nice but not necessary. Bonus points if it’s white.

    I just need it to be very ergonomic/aligned because I have some pain issues with my neck and back.

    Thank you!

    1. Colette*

      I have an IKEA desk that is always at standing height, and I have a drafting (i.e. tall) chair so I can sit when I want to. Before that I had a floating desk at standing height.

      But I know IKEA has adjustable desks as well.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Amazon: SHW 55-Inch Large Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk, 55 x 28 Inches, Cherry

      I WFH full time and bought mine in January 2020 and I love it. They do have other colors and smaller sizes, but this one holds two 32” and one portrait-oriented 27” monitors and still has plenty of room for miscellaneous clutter. It doesn’t have extra drawers or a keyboard tray, but I have added both aftermarket at various points.

    3. KarenInKansas*

      Dome Depot’s Husky adjustable height table. Various lengths, with drawer or not. Amazingly sturdy because it’s meant to be a work bench. I have one in my sewing room, too, to use with sewing and knitting machines.

    4. Astor*

      You probably already know all this if you’re dealing with back and neck problems, but here’s some suggestions based on my own reorganization of my desk space and the things that I’ve found I have to pay attention to because the easy options don’t do it right:

      Whatever you get, make sure it goes LOW enough. The cheaper (under $300) adjustable desks often only go down to ~28/29″, and normal desks are about 29/30″ high. If you’re not planning on getting a keyboard tray too, make sure it goes as low as you need it to. The older literature describes having your arms parallel to the ground for a 90° angle, but most of the newest stuff that I see says that closer to 100° angle (or more) so that your arms are pointing slightly down is really more ideal and that matches with my own experience. It is really hard for anyone under 5’8″ish to get those angles in a regular desk and chair, and as someone who has had back and neck problems for 30+ years: it’s worth making sure that your arms are right too because it’s all connected and will help each other. If buying the right desk means it’s more expensive and you have to put off getting the second monitor, it’s likely to be worth it if you’re already experiencing pain and other problems. (I have a huge rant about how most desks can cause workplace strains and long-term injuries for almost all women and a significant number of men that I’m leaving out here.)

      If you plan to use it to both sit and stand, I also strongly recommend making sure you can adjust the monitors’ height as you change positions, because the space between your monitor and keyboard needs to be bigger when you’re standing than when you’re sitting. This can be the monitor stand that comes with your monitor if it’s adjustable, or you can buy separate monitor arms that can clamp to your desk and free up space.

      This means that I don’t recommend (for example) the Ikea trotten sit/stand desk for most people even though it’s a perfectly good white adjustable desk, because it only goes down to 28.5″ (and up to 48″). The more expensive Ikea Bekant goes down to 22″ (and also up to 48″) and so is seems more likely to work better for most people, although I haven’t used it myself to comment on it.

      Good luck!

  30. I'm A Little Teapot*

    Share funny things that happen over the (US) holiday! I’m sure we can all use a laugh.

    I’ll start. Cast: Beren, an 11lb cat, Luthien, an 8lb cat. Setting: home, midnight, long past Teapot’s bedtime but there’s a book.

    Beren and Luthien come tearing down the stairs, bouncing off each other, walls, furniture, etc. Beren races into the kitchen, slides across half the kitchen and through the utility room door, falls off the landing into the laundry hamper, jumps out of the hamper and dives under the stairs. About then is when I get there, look under the stairs and just ask if she’s ok. Beren’s response: yes of course, why?

    Luthien, not to be outdone but also spooked by Beren’s momentum, detours to the bathroom. Where 2 minutes later she manages to close the toilet lid on herself and then come streaking out, massively affronted, because the toilet attacked her! It’s not supposed to do that! And stalked off to give Beren’s a few licks.

    1. Lexi Vipond*

      For some reason that reminded me of Tigger and the tablecloth.

      “That’s my table-cloth,” said Pooh, as he began to unwind Tigger.
      “I wondered what it was,” said Tigger.
      “It goes on the table and you put things on it.”
      “Then why did it try to bite me when I wasn’t looking?”
      “I don’t THINK it did,” said Pooh.

  31. Cookies*

    Canadians! My sister has moved to Canada this year, and I’m planning Christmas presents. In the past I’ve sent her custom iced giant cookies from a UK chain (Millie’s Cookies) and I’d like to do something similar this year – are there similar companies that bake and deliver? Doesn’t have to be cookies specifically, and doesn’t have to be particularly “British”, she’s still into the novelty of all things Canadian and adores Tim Hortons (that said, preferably not Timbits – we can get them here and she can buy them herself, I’m looking for something she wouldn’t buy herself, in the 30-50CAD range). She’s near Toronto.

    1. intarsia*

      There are a bunch of great cookie delivery options in Toronto! Craig’s Cookies and Andrea’s Cookies are the first that come to mind. Lots of fun topping/filling options, including some classic Canadian ones :)

    2. tiger fish*

      See if she can get a delivery of Fairmount bagels. Montreal bagels will be different than any other bagel she’s had.

    3. Colette*

      I’ve definitely had cookies delivered (in Regina, not Toronto). I’ve used edible arrangements in the past (for fruit bouquets, not cookies). Google tells me Sweet Flour is a Toronto-area option.

    4. Amber Rose*

      Cookies by George maybe. They aren’t in Toronto but they will deliver there and they make like, unreasonably good cookies. Not custom though, not sure if that’s a deal breaker for you.

    5. Cookies*

      Thank you all! These are great options and it’s useful to have something recommended by people closer to the area, I’ll most likely get one of these for her!

  32. Under the radar today*

    The company I work for is in trouble. There have been some layoffs and there could be more, but the new CEO is reassuring us that the ship isn’t going down. I’m not sure I trust that, though I think my position is safe for the time being.
    I’m obviously going to be polishing my resume and looking around, but I’ve never been in a situation like this. Is there harm in sticking it out while I look for a new job? Is it better to leave earlier if possible? (I could afford to be unemployed for a while if necessary.) My position is in no way responsible for the company tanking, but it feels a little icky to be associated with the end days of a business that’s very well known in my community.

    1. Sandi*

      My only suggestion is to not wait to look for something else. From what I have seen you don’t need to leave right away, but when there are a lot of layoffs then the adjacent businesses hire from the first groups that are laid off, so if you stay then it might be harder to find a good job later. At least if you look for options and aren’t successful right away then you will have tried. I know people who thought they were lucky to be kept on with the current company, but morale can be bad because everyone is worried and then they regretted not looking for anything when they finally were laid off.

      Layoffs tend to be irrelevant of individual competency, so I don’t think there’s any harm in staying there while you look. It’s very normal in these situations for people to look for other jobs, and to leave as soon as you find something.

    2. Colette*

      From experience, that can be a draining environment to be in. That’s not to say you should quit without something lined up, but it’s a good idea to look at other options.

    3. I forgot my username*

      I’m in the same boat. If it wasn’t a holiday, I’d be starting my job hunt in earnest.

      Don’t stick around. Better to be a rat than to drown with the ship.

      1. Observer*

        Better to be a rat than to drown with the ship.

        That’s a terrible line. On the one hand, there is little excuse to actually be a rat. On the other hand, the idea that leaving your employer is in any way even close to being a rat is pretty gross.

    4. Observer*

      I can’t see any reason you should leave before you have a new job lined up. If you don’t find something before the company goes under, it’s not going to reflect on you. It’s also highly unlikely that any mud, even if there is any, would stick to you.

      But I would start looking.

      1. Survived a lay-off*

        Hi. I was laid off and taken by surprise. Things that I wish I had done: reviewed my budget and adjusted a few spending things in advance “just in case”, become active on linked in, updated my resume and done a few applications just to practice and to feel less blind-sided, started to reach out to my network.

        For me, leaving the job in advance would not have worked – I had a severance package, so I could potentially have missed out. In my area, the job market is terrible and people who left pro-actively are being laid off – or are surrounded by lay-offs.

        If you get another offer, then you can decide when you actually have a job-offer in hand and have something concrete to compare. But I wouldn’t leave pro-actively unless the environment turns toxic.

        Good luck!

  33. No turkey for us today*

    Just need to vent a little. We were supposed to go to my sister’s for the meal today, and one of my other sisters (who my daughter talks about constantly) will be there too. The first words out of my two year old’s mouth when I got her up were, “Going to Gramma’s (sister #1; she’s a lot older than me and has grandkids my daughter’s age) and see Aunt Mo!” (Sister #2) Broke my heart to have to tell her that we weren’t going because Daddy just tested positive for Covid.

    1. Double A*

      Oh no I’m sorry!! I have learned the hard way to hold off until the last minute telling my kids we’re doing anything fun because there’s a 50% chance we will have to cancel at the last minute due to illness.

      My oldest is 5 now though and starting to understand the concept of longer stretches of time, which is making it trickerier.

      1. No turkey for us today*

        Thanks, yes, I’ve learned a lesson. Thankfully (ha) she doesn’t seem too unhappy.

    2. Kuleta*

      Sending my sympathies, too. We had to cancel a family get-together after someone tested positive for Covid. We were all extra-bummed because the guest of honor was here on an international trip.

  34. Sloanicota*

    Query: How big a favor do you view catsitting over the holidays to be? I have recently realized that my friend views this as a very minor favor like picking up something extra when you’re already there buying it, whereas to me it’s a pretty big imposition equal to driving someone to the airport. I assume the factors might be different if I didn’t have to drive over there, or if I didn’t already have pets of my own and thus not get a particular thrill out of seeing other people’s cats. I pay petsitters, myself, and it *is* quite pricey especially over the holidays, but I wouldn’t want to burden my friends with a favor of this magnitude.

    1. Helvetica*

      It depends – I have a long list of potential cat-sitters, and I do decide whom to ask based on how much they want to hang out with my cat, how far they live/how convenient it is for them, etc. I also always bring them something, and often it is reciprocal, so I would take care of my friends’ cats in turn.
      I’m also very clear with everyone that me asking does not mean they have to say yes and I try not to ask the same person multiple times.
      Paying for petsitters is a great option but I don’t like strangers in my house without me and as long as I have cat-friends, I’m good.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Weirdly, I don’t like people I know in my house. I assume the petsitters are indifferent professionals but I worry my friends might be more likely to judge me if things aren’t clean and orderly or be more curious, since they know me.

    2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      It is significant, not just because it’s the holiday: the drive there and back is using up a chunk of your time.

      I pay pet sitters, but I also once had a friend offer to pay me for pet-sitting, and she offered enough money to make it worth my time and trip somewhat out of my way.

      I think you could reasonably say something like “I’m sorry, you’ll need to find another pet sitter from now on. I don’t think you realize that even a quick visit takes me over an hour, counting the trip to and from your house.”

    3. Double A*

      It depends on the parameters! If I ask our friends who are our neighbors to look on on the cats once or twice over a weekend, I don’t think that’s a big thing and would be happy to do the same for them. But if it’s more than 3 days, then I’d pay someone.

    4. Sally Rhubarb*

      I’m incredibly lazy and find it to be a huge energy drain. But my friend who is watching my cat over the holiday appears to enjoy it, based on the texts I’ve received. He also willingly pet sits for another friend of his that lives much further away.

    5. Colette*

      How big of a deal it is depends on how far away the pet is and what you need to do. I sometimes pet sit for a friend and for my cousin. Pet sitting for the friend is not a big deal because she lives a couple of blocks away; my cousin is a 20 minute drive away so it’s an hour out of my day. It’s always a bit of a pain, but they’d do it for me, so I do it anyway.

    6. Squidhead*

      We trade cat-sitting with nearby friends. They are more likely to be gone over “the holidays” (I usually work) and in fact go away more often than we do, but when we are gone our cats need to be fed twice a day so it feels like it works out mostly-fairly? At both houses it’s a short stop: fill bowls, check water, scoop litter, check for barf. It’s worth it to us (and apparently worth it to them) so we keep doing it, but if we move out of the city we’re in (we’d like to move maybe 20-30 minutes away in a few years) then we’ll either find new neighbors or pay a service.

      The airport in our city is also not an onerous drive, so as long as I’m available I don’t mind running someone to/from the airport. You could text me when you land and I could be at the curb before you get your luggage from baggage claim. But obviously this is all in the context of my local city. I wouldn’t ever want to seem like a burden to a friend…and you’re not even getting reciprocal cat-sitting out of the deal. You can tell your friend you’re not available for future cat-sitting.

    7. Twix*

      It depends on what’s being asked. I don’t have any cats at the moment but absolutely adore them; I’ve owned 11 of them and fostered ~40 kittens. I’m more than happy to pet-sit if the animal comes to me, and regularly do for my brother and SIL. However, I struggle with both mobility due to physical health issues and executive function due to mental health issues, so asking me to leave my house a couple of extra times per day to drive somewhere and do something is a major imposition. (Although to be clear, it would be a major ask for ME; I wouldn’t consider it a major ask in general.)

    8. rr*

      I used to regularly cat sit for someone who would go away for a few weeks at a time. It just became too much. It was a question of weather and early mornings and making my workdays longer. I still feel badly about stopping, but really I was too tired by it to give the cats the attention they deserved and needed. She pays a sitter now, and while I don’t think that is great either (we’ve used the same person on occasion and she is ok, but not great), at least the cats get, I think, more than the minimum I was able to do.

      Maybe frame it that way to your friend and to yourself? “I can’t do this, because I can’t provide the level of care they need/I want to.”

      Because, yeah, done properly, it is a very big favor, unless you actually live next door. I couldn’t do it properly anymore, so I had to stop.

    9. RW*

      depends absolutely on the situation – if it’s <10 minutes drive and 3 days I’d find it a bit annoying and would prefer they paid someone. I’m not particularly interested in seeing other people’s cats either! (Then, I also don’t find a ride to the airport a big imposition – but again, the airport is 10 minutes from my place!)

      1. RW*

        somehow I lost a sentence! If it’s <10min drive and <3 days it's fine, if more than that I'd find it a bit annoying!

    10. Rara Avis*

      We have been lucky to have cat-loving neighbors twice in a row. We pay the teenager, even though her mother keeps saying we don’t need to.

    11. miel*

      It depends!

      I’ve done live-in catsitting for friends, which is kinda nice in that I have their entire house to myself, but also is usually lonely and requires a lot of logistics on my end.

      Stopping in once or twice, especially if they’re close by, is a much smaller ask.

      I also have few obligations at home (no children or pets), which makes it easier. I am truly happy to help my friends!

    12. Csethiro Ceredin*

      If they have any distance to travel I think it’s a big ask. I’ll happily stop in on pets on or close to my route, but I walk to work and back to having to walk home then drive somewhere multiple times feels like a burden.

      That said, last time I happily cat-sat for a friend, I accidentally got her cat addicted to Temptations treats. I had no idea the very old, sedentary cat hadn’t had them and I knew there were no food restrictions so I thought I was being nice. I had no idea what I’d done until my friend came home and said she had no idea why the cat was yelling demands at her all the time. She laughed pretty hard, but didn’t ask me again….

  35. Themboself*

    It’s a weird thanksgiving for me. First one away from my family in my new state, my partner’s in the hospital, and I volunteered to work for today. Luckily my work (veteran’s hospital) is connected to the hospital my partner is at, so I walked over for my lunch break. Being an adult is really strange and full of weird twists and turns

  36. AnonToday*

    How worried should I be that my manager seems to be jealous of me and how should I handle it?

    Just to set the scene, I am a woman and I work in an extremely male-dominated type of engineering. At every job I’ve had so far in this industry, my experience follows this pattern: when I start the job, people immediately treat me like I’m not very technical and like I’m more junior than I am. Because this makes me feel like my livelihood is being threatened, I work 2x or 3x as hard to prove I belong. Then I end up impressing people to the point that I get promoted, and fast. But I’m already so burned out that it’s hard to keep it up… And that, combined with jealousy about my being promoted fast, makes my manager start to treat me poorly again.

    This is exactly what’s happening at my current job. I interviewed with someone else, then was immediately put under my current supervisor. My current supervisor, not having interviewed me, treated me like I was much less technical than I am and was condescending to me (actually, most people on the team treated me this way). But I ignored it, made allies where I could, put 200% into my work, and was promoted.

    However, now in almost every 1-on-1, my manager makes at least one nasty little comment to me implying I think I know more than I actually do, upper management only likes my ideas because I’m charming, and that I’m snobby. They’re just vague passive-aggressive comments – not direct feedback on having overstepped (which, if true, I would want to know). And it started in earnest after I disagreed with him in a meeting and upper management agreed with me.

    So now I find myself thinking a lot about leaving this job again, already. But I don’t really want to, especially if upper management likes me. If it’s just nasty little comments, should I just ignore it? Should I ask to be moved to another team? Maybe if I wait it out, I could get promoted to another team or above my manager? I’m so tired of this, but I’m beginning to lose hope it will be better anywhere else.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I’m sorry this is happening! For me it would depend on how realistic a path to new, supportive management might be. If I think it’s pretty likely I could win a transfer into a specific role that would suit me better in the next, say, six months, I’d probably try to go for that. If it would be more like a few years under an unsupportive manager I’d probably start job searching. Any chance you could talk candidly with someone higher up about your situation? And what would your boss do if you were more direct about how you feel?

      1. Kes*

        I agree with this – consider what your options are and the impacts of each. If you stay, do you think your manager will actually hold you back in any way? Do you think it’s feasible to move to a different manager or team, either through talking to your grandboss or just moving teams/positions? Otherwise, it probably is worth it to try and look at other options.

        I will say, while obviously I don’t know exactly what field you’re in, I am also a woman in a male dominated field and I actually do get respect from my boss and coworkers. So it’s not necessarily impossible. Hold out hope for what you deserve.

        Your approach so far sounds like it’s been good for your career but not necessarily good for your wellbeing – and as you’ve seen, it doesn’t necessarily fix the issue of people who don’t respect or like you. Try to find ways to break the pattern – look for opportunities to interview with your future manager or find a good manager and find a way to work under them; take note of how you’re treated from the start (your boss may be treating you worse now but it doesn’t sound like he ever treated you very well), including in interviews (keep in mind you’re interviewing them as well and culture fit is important not just from their side); where possible look for places that do have other women working there; and manage up – pay attention to what your manager cares about and look for ways to get your manager’s approval and support

        1. AnonToday*

          Thank you, I’ll try this, too. I’ve been wanting to reach out to contacts to ask them more pointed questions about the culture/managers on their teams, but chickening out.

          I’ve been trying to manage up, but maybe part of it is also that there’s really a mismatch between my manager and I. He seems to want people to share a lot more personal information, maybe even be like drinking buddies? And while I’m cool with small talk, I really don’t want that in a manager. I want to do the small talk and then move right into work problems. I’ll have to think about this more from his perspective. I think he feels unappreciated lately for other reasons too (a project was cancelled) which is feeding into this.

      2. AnonToday*

        Yes, I think if this doesn’t get better soon, I’ll try to talk to someone about it. I just have to think carefully about how to word it, because I’m sure it will get back to my manager.

        I might try to ask my manager about it. I do ask him for feedback and when I make mistakes, I try to proactively address it. When he makes a comment like this again, maybe I’ll try to address it more directly.

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I hate this for you. I have all the solidarity for you.

      Some questions to ponder, without predetermined answers:

      Is your livelihood actually being threatened?

      Can you not work 2-3 times as hard going forward but just, like, 1.5 times?

      Are your allies available to poach you? Sometimes it’s a matter of getting someone to put in a good word and move to a good team.

      1. AnonToday*

        Very fair questions! I think at this point, now that I have experience and a better network, this coping response (or whatever it is) is no longer necessary. I’d like to not react this way, but I guess it’ll be a work in progress.

        Yeah, I don’t know if there’s open positions right now, but I’m definitely going to keep trying to build relationships across the company to see if there’s a better fit for me here.

        1. sagewhiz*

          No advice, just commiseration. It absolutely sucks that all these decades after the feminist movement supposedly ended this, this still happens. It’s like the civil rights movement…yes, there’s been progress but damn still so much resistance and such a long way to go! Only *advice* I have is to read _Lessons in Chemistry_. Won’t change anything, except give you a few chuckles as you slog thru the misogyny. (That and fantasies of stabbing the SOB boss to help keep you sane.)

  37. Elle*

    Shout out to the parents of kids who randomly woke up sick this morning. She was fine last night. Luckily we’re home today.

    1. Double A*

      This is not me today, but it’s been me many, many times since school started in August so I feel you.

    2. tiger fish*

      Apparently I did this to my mom on *every* single holiday she wanted to visit her sister.
      Sorry, mom, it wasn’t on purpose.

  38. Can't Sit Still*

    I have been eagerly awaiting the grand finale to a book series that was supposed to be concluded last summer. Between the time when the series started and now, the authors have been getting creepier. Creep level is now at Piers Anthony writing Incarnations of Immortality. Given that, I should probably ignore the final book when/if it finally comes out, right? No matter how much I want to know how it ends?

    Feel free to give advice or share your own experiences with books/movies/TV shows etc. where the conclusion doesn’t exist for you.

    1. Pamela Adams*

      I’m sure you can find a synopsis or spoiler-laden review. Plus, there’s the time honored method of standing in the bookstore and reading the last chapter.

    2. RagingADHD*

      There is no “should” here. If the creep factor puts you off, don’t read it. If it doesn’t, then read it.

      If you don’t want to give the author money, get it from the library. Indie authors make much of how library usage helps support them, but if this author already has an established series with a fan base, it doesn’t make any difference, realistically.

    3. Green great dragon*

      If it’s popular enough to hit wikipedia, read the wikipedia. It’s usually where I go for culture that I don’t want to consume when I do want to follow the conversations.

    4. Ochre*

      I’m feeling this way about Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, though it’s almost gotten to the point where I’m wishing ill on the protagonist because he’s gotten so tiresome. So maybe when the final book(s??) come out (seriously I don’t know how much longer the author is gonna drag it out) I’ll decide I don’t care. It’s too bad; I enjoyed the first half (maybe two-thirds?) of the series.

      1. Snell*

        Lol, Dresden Files is something that I figure I will definitely get around to someday. It was kind of dragging on me on an unconscious level, but when I realized I was laughing at Harry way more than I was cheering for him (as in, “Hahaha! You totally deserved that, you asshole!”), that’s when I made the conscious decision to stop reading.

    5. Jay*

      I have a couple of standards I go by, mostly because I’ve read a LOT of early 20th century fiction (Pulps, things like that).
      Here’s what I ask myself:
      -Am I contributing to something bad, or that I cannot in good conscience allow myself to be a part of? For instance, if an author is part of a currently dangerous or destructive movement, then it is a hard ‘NO’. But if the author is just a sad old man who’s mind has gone to some dark and unpleasant places as they face their own mortality, then it’s something that I would consider reading (and feel more sympathy and/or disgust than anger).
      -Am I financially supporting a person or organization I consider dangerous in some real way? For instance, HP Lovecraft was an absolutely abominable excuse for a human, but an endlessly entertaining writer. When he was alive, I would not have given him my business. But after his death, the money was not going to anything particularly objectionable, so that would be fine. If some twisted racist movement regularly and successfully used his works in their recruitment schemes on a significant scale, then I would, again, stop purchasing them until the copywrite owners properly distanced themselves and took action to prevent this from happening again.
      -Am I excusing or in some way legitimizing something inherently inexcusable or illegitimate? As in, people value your judgement (fortunately, this never happens to me ;) ) discover you purchase these books, and decide that the writers must be something more than they are and give real consideration to things they really should not. If it’s really bad stuff, then I would consider just adding to the “This Many Books Sold” advertisements to be off limits.

      Most important to me is to be honest with myself about these things. Just finding an authors views and opinions challenging or disagreeable, or just really annoying is not a “Danger”. It’s an opportunity for me to examine my own in contrast and maybe learn something. If they support something appalling, then that’s something all together different.
      I know I’m saying this badly (a Turkey Day Food Coma combined with an ‘I Just Finished A Massive, Exhausting Project At Work, Have A Couple Days Off, And My Brain Just Told Me That I AM DONE’ coma), but by the time I’m able to write clearly I’ll have forgotten.

      1. Can't Sit Still*

        This was actually very helpful in clarifying my thinking. I don’t know for certain that they are Bad, but some elements make me very uncomfortable. In fact, I stopped funding their Patreon when I realized their updates made me feel unclean. So that’s my answer, thank you for helping me get there! (I really want to know how the story ends, but honestly, I think they wrote themselves into a corner anyway, so I’ll assume I can come up with a better ending on my own.)

    6. Liminality*

      Bahahaha! I discovered the incarnation books back in high school. (Actual years omitted to protect my sanity.) And I remember enjoying them at the time. So when I needed more audiobooks to distract me from early onset tinnitus (Actual tinnitus years so far coming up on 3) I figured I’d get them from the library.

      Y’all…. that person has some serious issues. And no one else on my life has read them so I couldn’t get anyone else’s perspective. Thank you, Can’t Sit Still, for the independent confirmation.

      1. Can't Sit Still*

        I’ll just say the series wasn’t anywhere near complete when I started reading it. It’s the Author’s Notes that haunt me, because they definitely up the creep factor significantly.

    7. carcinization*

      Incarnations of Immortality… that’s a phrase I haven’t heard during the current millennium for sure! I guess I thought the creepy element with that author was more prominent in other books, Firefly in particular, but I could certainly be forgetting something since I read the books in question when I was in middle school!

      1. Can't Sit Still*

        I mean, it’s subtle and not as overt as some of his other works! Subtle being relative for Piers Anthony. I reread the series frequently into my 20s, so some things really stuck and became increasingly disturbing as I grew older and, hopefully, wiser.

  39. Have you had enough water today?*

    I am Australian so we do not do Thanksgiving here but I love hearing about what people eat so if you want to share your menu or recipes with me please feel free!!!!!

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      I’m alone but I love thanksgiving. I didn’t buy a Turkey or chicken for myself so i am missing out on my favorite part of pulling the gizzards, slow cooking them into a stock, using the stock to cook a homemade dressing, and basically cooking all day long. But I did buy a honey baked ham for myself and am making dressing out of a loaf of jalapeño and cheese bread that I’ve been drying on the counter for a couple days. I’ll roast some potatoes and broccoli to go with it. I just really love the Macy’s parade and the beginning of our winter holiday season.

    2. Rainy*

      Roast duck, gravy, mashed potato, cornbread and sausage stuffing, pineapple casserole, beet and bleu cheese salad, parker house rolls, whipped feta dip with cranberry relish and cinnamon pecans, sugared cranberries and candied orange peel, and pie (the pie is storebought, the local grocery chain makes amazing pies for so cheap it’s not worth home baking). Tomorrrow I’ll make pumpkin ice cream as well.

      This is for two people, because I love to cook. :) My husband is, as always, stoked.

        1. Rainy*

          Pineapple casserole is a southern staple, I’m told. I heard about it from my bff and tried it one year. We really like it. Crushed pineapple, brown sugar, flour, grated cheddar, and a ritz cracker topping.

          The whipped feta dip is feta, cream cheese, olive oil, garlic, chili flake, honey, and fresh thyme blended together and then served with honey, chili crisp, and a cranberry-orange relish layered on top. Scoop or spread on crackers, toast, etc.

    3. Tabby Baltimore*

      Gardein holiday roast w/vegetarian gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, roasted Brussels sprouts and roasted broccoli, deviled eggs, sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows!), biscuits and cornbread. And I am so full, I’ll think I’ll have to have my pumpkin pie tomorrow.

    4. Alex*

      We had turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cornbread and sausage stuffing, brussels sprouts with bacon, sweet potato casserole (not the kind with marshmallows, something else that I don’t actually know the recipe for), cranberry sauce from a can, pumpkin rolls, and pumpkin pie. Very Traditional.

      I personally could do without any of it lol. Thanksgiving food isn’t really my favorite, but I’m not in charge and my family expects me to show up so here I am.

    5. Kathenus*

      About five years or so ago I discovered a recipe for maple cranberry sweet potatoes – it’s now my favorite part of holiday meals. You can Google it, I use the Good Housekeeping version.

  40. Enough*

    The Tower ser use by Stephen King. I stopped reading in the middle of the third book. I was so bored. The series was originally supposed to be three books. Then he wasn’t sure he was going to make it four or just stop. It ended up being 8 books.

    1. Can't Sit Still*

      I also dislike trilogies that turn into a never ending series. I want to know a story has an endpoint.

      Also me: avidly reads several series that have literally hundreds of episodes with no end in sight.

    2. Violetta*

      Oh my god, those books are so boring. I somehow made it to halfway through the second one before I gave up in frustration.

      1. Angstrom*

        In the introduction to King’s “Night Shift”, John D. MacDonald talks about writing and defines “story” as “something happening to someone you have been led to care about.” That’s why I gave up — I just didn’t care any more what happened to the characters.

    3. Fed*

      I read all of them, no spoilers. I was dissatisfied w/the ending. You are goo dw/out reading them. Some were more entertaining than others.

    4. Dog momma*

      Agree, and he was one of my favorite authors. Just love The Stand..the original. I was really into Dean Koonz for quite A while.
      Currently trying to catch up with multiple Clive Cussler , there are about 5 different series; now that he’s passed, will assume they will eventually end, unless son Dirk picks up the torch

  41. Janne*

    I’m in the Netherlands so we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. We did have department night out though – the first one in five years. We went for dinner and then played jeu de boules. First time that I played that indoors; it’s something I’m used to doing on camping trips in France! I think the organizing committee did a good job at finding something that was fun and suitable for all of us. If you didn’t want to play, there was enough seating and free drinks. Sadly the bar was understaffed and it took 2 hours for our dinner to arrive (and then it was nearly cold). I felt kind of guilty when I ordered a drink because the servers were so busy. What would you do in such a case, is there anything a customer can do to make the servers’ life easier?

  42. Clisby*

    Happy Thanksgiving from Macon, GA! For the first time in 4 or 5 years we visited my large extended family here – 42 people for a huge lunch. My two living aunts, both in their 90s, were doing well; a bunch of babies have unaccountably grown into little people; nobody got into a fight or pouted over the food. Success!

  43. Macaroni Penguin*

    Hey Alison, can you nuke my thread about Sweet Potato Pie? Some people are mistaking my absurdist dry humour joke for an actual insult.

    1. I have a migraine*

      At least you didn’t slip in a fat joke or a quip about school shootings, which is the usual “humor” Americans have to deal with

      1. Clisby*

        I live in South Carolina, where the sweet potato pie vs. pumpkin pie debate is a thing.

        I don’t like either one, so I don’t care.

    2. RagingADHD*

      The keys to putting across absurdist dry humor are context and tone. Which is a big ask on a random internet post. You really have to know your audience for smack talk, because it just isn’t going to be funny to a lot of people.

    3. Unkempt Flatware*

      I’m sorry that happened, Macaroni. This American has never seen the dish in person and can gag at the thought of it. Somehow I remain friends with those who enjoy it. Now, let’s share some Ketchup flavored chips and move on.

    4. PhyllisB*

      I responded in another thread because yours wasn’t accepting comments. It wasn’t the pie remarks, it was why can’t we celebrate Thanksgiving in October like a reasonable country. We have no control over that, and it’s certainly not worth petioning Congress about. If I did,I’d lobby for August. We don’t have any national holidays then.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Honestly, it just came across as more “America stupid / gross” snark. Which is no pretty tired by now, especially on this blog.

        1. Retired Accountant*

          Yes, and the same discussion had been done the day before, and also one about green bean casserole. Very tiresome.

    5. sarah the third*

      I doubt Alison wants to deal with this on her holiday and usually when she closes a thread it’s a sign to leave it alone and not keep going with it.

  44. lomi*

    I’m kind of an odd person to be reading this blog; I’m a stay-at-home mom who hasn’t been in the workforce for 14 years. I had planned on going back to school full-time myself once all the littles were in school, but long covid hit last year and has quite thoroughly derailed those plans for the time being.

    But. I have a comfortable home and a family who loves me and each other. I am grateful for that. I have a doctor who listens to me, believes me, and cheers my successes. I am grateful for that. And while I still have to keep my activities both low-key and strictly anaerobic in order to avoid some Very Bad Consequences, I’ve regained enough strength and stamina in the last 15 months to start doing some easy-mode strength training twice a week, so long as I’m careful about it. I am grateful for that too. For more than two months after the day I first showed symptoms, I couldn’t even sit at the kitchen table for more than 10-15 minutes before I was shaking uncontrollably from the effort, so I’ve come a long way.

    And Alison, I am grateful for the way you’re able to show compassion to people from all walks of life here.

    Stay golden.

  45. PhyllisB*

    This is nested in the wrong place, but this is a reply to Perplexed Canadian. Couldn’t comment in that thread. The comment about sweet potatoes and marshmallows didn’t really bother me, even though I grew up eating (and loving) sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top, and. my family mixed raisins in with the mashed sweet potatoes. (I will wait for the gagging to quit.) What I didn’t like is the comment about why can’t we celebrate in October like a reasonable country. Turn that around. What if I told you I thought celebrating Thanksgiving in October was weird? As to WHY it’s November rather than October, I have no idea. If I had my preference, it would be August, because we don’t have any holidays in August in the US.

    1. Ginger Cat Lady*

      I think commenting on that thread was turned off because Alison and the OP wanted the discussion to stop.

    2. Macaroni Penguin*

      Well, my joke was supposed to invite counter banter as to how silly Canadians are. There’s nothing actually wrong with sweet potato pie or theoretically celebrating Thanksgiving in August.

    3. Jessica Clubber Lang*

      If Canadian thanksgiving is in October, does that mean the Pilgrims came to Canada a month before they came to Plymouth MA? That would make sense since it’s a fairly short trip down the coast from say Nova Scotia to New England.

      Does Mexico have a Thanksgiving also? It would be great if we could have one North American thanksgiving and stop all the bickering

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        I always just figured, with Canada being farther north, that their October had similar weather to American November.

      2. Lexi Vipond*

        And then can we do something about Mothers’ Day? May would have better weather… but actually I’m kind of used to March, so maybe not :D

  46. Put the Blame on Edamame*

    Yesterday at work I brought in some chocolate I’d been given to share with the team, and mentioned at the start of a sub-dept meeting that it contained an unusual ingredient that was Christmassy. My colleague had the idea to play 20 questions with my chocolate – is it British (we’re in the UK), would it be a gift, is it a brand name or generic… so silly but it was so much fun, and effectively killed the 10 minutes we were waiting for someone to join us. They didn’t guess correctly, the answer was: candy canes!

    (I know peppermint bark is common in the US but it’s less common to see candy canes in chocolate here).

    Everyone seemed to like the chocolate btw, it’s a Whittaker’s special edition from NZ.

  47. AngelS.*

    One of my goals is to be in Canada for Thanksgiving! It’s on the second Monday of October. I just want to compare it to California T.G.!

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