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MARTHA SEZ: Food, politics and the family at holiday time

November 17, 2016
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

"Thanksgiving with my Republican family may not happen for me anymore. I thought about skipping just this year but I tend to hold a grudge."

-comment posted by one of my friends on Facebook.

Thanksgiving is coming, the traditional family holiday featuring large groups of family members getting together to show their gratitude by watching football, consuming alcohol and eating large slabs of turkey augmented by mashed potatoes and stuffing, and of course fighting about politics.

It's the alcohol that predictably gets certain family members starting fights, and the abundant food, combined with beer intake, that hastens their eventual inevitable collapse into a propofol-like stupor, for which everyone is grateful.

In households where a turkey dinner is still served, quite often green beans cooked with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup will be on the menu. Another old favorite is Jell-O, mixed with fruit cocktail and perhaps tiny marshmallows, folded into Cool Whip, surprisingly not spelled Kool-Wip, and poured into a mold to gel. After being unmolded it is very attractive and sort of quivers, like sister Kate who can shimmy like jelly on a plate.

I Googled Cool Whip and discovered that it is basically made out of the same ingredients I use making soap, with the exception of corn syrup and preservatives. What did we do before Google? I would have had to drive to the grocery store to read the Cool Whip label.

"Well now young lady," says Uncle Horace to Kate (Is anyone in real life named Horace anymore?) as he forks up an additional slab of turkey, "under Sharia law you wouldn't be allowed to shimmy like that."

"Well, she is not allowed to shimmy anyway," says Kate's mother, Carol. "So there is no need to go bringing up Sharia law at Thanksgiving."

"The very idea," says Carol's mother, Joan.

Ben, ever the peacemaker, changes the subject by interjecting, "Hey! So, maybe Horace is a good original baby name to consider, Linda."

To which Linda says, "What? I'm not pregnant!"

"Well, I just meant, if and when you and Josh ever decide to-" Ben stammers, blushing.

"Look around, Ben!" Kate cries out, waving her fork. "Do you even see Josh? You've been in Idaho too long. Josh and Linda are separated!" As if her throat has suddenly gone dry, she hauls off and takes a swig of an old-fashioned Uncle Horace has made for her.

Linda pushes back her chair, throws down her napkin and runs out of the room.

"I thought you said you didn't care for old-fashioneds," Kate's brother Ted observes.

"So what if I did," Kate says.

"Well," says Ted, "since that's your third one."

"Ready for another?" Uncle Horace asks jovially.

"Now you're counting my drinks?" Kate demands, glaring at Ted.

Another typical thanksgiving food is sweet potatoes baked with more tiny marshmallows. Like chocolate chips, to which they are related, tiny marshmallows can be eaten uncooked or cooked. I'll bet if I Googled it right now I would find that Kraft sells more tiny marshmallows at Thanksgiving than at any other time of year.

"How can chocolate chips and marshmallows be related?" Kate yells. "That's stupid."

Frankly, I think Kate has had too much to drink.

All right, I Googled it. The correct term for tiny marshmallows is Kraft Jet-Puffed Miniature Marshmallows.

"Nearly 40% of all Jet-Puffed Marshmallows, the No.1 national marshmallow brand, are consumed in the fourth quarter, driven by Thanksgiving and the holidays," according to

The Washington Redskins square off against the Dallas Cowboys in their historic rivalry this Thanksgiving. (Is square off a football term?)

"The Redskins are going to have to change their name," says Joel, somebody's friend from college, brought home for Thanksgiving.

"Who says?" asks Glen, Carol's husband, helping himself to more gravy. Glen is asking rhetorically, since he doesn't expect or want an answer. "Actually, they ran a poll and turns out Native Americans didn't even care."

"Who ran that poll?" demands Linda, who has slipped back into the dining room unnoticed and resumed eating sweet potatoes.


"No politics!" Carol insists. "I have worked so hard to make a nice Thanksgiving dinner for everyone." But Ben, eager to placate Linda, quotes some "Breitbart" headlines too vile to print here.

"No way," Joel says, wide-eyed.

"Sweet!" Ted enthuses, nothing daunted. If anything, he is exhilarated.

I think we'd better grab an old-fashioned and get out of the dining room before all hell breaks loose.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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