Editorial: Let them eat pie

Column By Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin

“Let them eat cake” is a phrase attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette. But we want turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and all the tantalizing trimmings on the annual celebration of giving thanks for the food.

I want a traditional feast on Thanksgiving. It’s just so wrong for food to masquerade as the real deal during the season of gratitude.

Please, no canned cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving dinner table. Ugh. The jiggly, jellied stuff is yucky. It’s a blob of gross. In fact, around 50 percent of Americans say canned cranberry sauce is ‘disgusting’ according to an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

Please, no tofu turkey baking in the oven. Enough said.

Please, no instant mashed potatoes piled high with melting margarine. Use authentic butter — not some imposter. Respect the spud on this annual day of honoring the Pilgrims and the Indians.

Please, no boxed stuffing. You’ll upset the tender turkey.

And serve green bean casserole with crunchy onions on top. Cousin Clevis will call for a food fight without the creamy mushroom soup ingredient. Aunt Wilma will take her deviled eggs and amble home in a huff. And no gravy means war.

“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” — Erma Bombeck

Naysayers to traditional holiday foods need to put a sock in it. Aaah! It’s okay to eat tasty treats once per year. Sweet potatoes, pecan pie, fruity punch; a little high fructose corn syrup won’t kill you. A dollop of whipped cream on your pumpkin pie won’t send you into a glucose coma. It’s the flagship dessert at many Thanksgiving dinners. A serving of glazed carrots won’t rot your teeth, either.  

“To be a good cook you have to have a love of the good, a love of hard work, and a love of creating.” ―Julia Child

Grandma welcomes health food fanatics to her table, but you better not criticize her high-calorie dishes. She’ll shun you and exile you to the children’s table.

Moderation and portion sizes are up to each dinner guest. A polite ‘no thank you’ suffices for declining second helpings for the dieting crowd. Gorging is not expected or required. Besides, most relatives and friends want to carry home a few leftovers. So, don’t chow down on the plum pudding.

“Thanksgiving brings a lot of great things, like the four Fs: family, friends, food, and football.” — Hadley Mendelsohn

Of course, the Thanksgiving menu is focal, but the holiday is much more than platefuls of goodies. It’s a time for gratitude for living in the United States of America. It stands for religious freedom and blessings; for liberty and democracy; for the goodness of humankind to be extended to those in need.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.