We're about to celebrate the oh-so-American holidays of Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This year, my family and I will be celebrating both holidays from an RV. Because of our limited space, I asked that the Christmas lists (aka Black Friday lists) be simple and down to the basics. Because of our limited kitchen space and completely broken RV oven, I asked that the Thanksgiving menu ideas be creative and different.
This is my fault. I should have known better than to ask.
For the past handful of years, when I have asked my son what he has wanted for Thanksgiving, he has said Papa John's pizza. I attribute this to my first Thanksgiving as a new mom, when I propped my then-3-month-old son on my lap as I used autumnal cookie cutters to remove turkey-shaped slices out of the middle of our cheese pizza. Every year since then, however, I've insisted, "The Thanksgiving meal can't just be another casual night dinner! It has to be special! There needs to be turkey!"
To which, in recent years, my son has responded, "But, Mama, you're a pescatarian."
"Yeah, but a bad one," is all I've been able to come up with in response.
Last year, after I further insisted that turkey must be on the table, my daughter chimed in, "I know! Let's get turkey subs from Firehouse!"
This made me realize two things. 1) We eat out way too often. 2) My children do not appreciate tradition.
So last year, like every other year except for that first new-mom Thanksgiving, I pushed my little pescatarian ways to the side as I stuck my hand into a carcass, pulled out a baggie of I-don't-want-to-know-what and cooked a turkey for my family to begrudgingly eat and not particularly like, while I slurped down gelatinous cranberry sauce, which I hate. That, my friends, is how you do a tradition!
This year would be the perfect year to set aside all those silly standards that I've held steadfast to and perhaps start a new tradition with food we all actually like and enjoy. This year would be a great year for pizza with turkey cutouts or turkey subs. Heck, it'd be a great year for sushi or pad thai if we felt like it. Or perhaps we could look into a Native American cookbook and consider this holiday from a different perspective. It's a great time to break the pattern and see what fits our needs and desires as a family. I was excited to hear what my kids would come up with.
"Let's have a big turkey," my son said.
"But you don't like a turkey," I said. "How about a pizza?"
"Nah, I think we should do a turkey this year."
"B-b-but, I'm a pescatarian!" I stammered.
"Yeah," my kid responded, "but a bad one."
I looked to my daughter, my foodie, my obstinate and opinionated one. "What would you like for this super-creative, out-of-the-ordinary, silly, opposite-day Thanksgiving dinner?"
"A big turkey," she said.
"But you don't like turkey," I tried again.
"Yeah, but when you cover it in gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce, you don't even taste it!"
"But you don't like any of those things," I said.
"Yeah, but eating gross stuff is tradition."
I may have been doing Thanksgiving wrong every year.
At least if my kids were going for simple, run-of-the-mill Thanksgiving dinner ideas, I could expect simple Christmas/Black Friday list ideas, as well.
"OK, kids," I asked, "what do you want this year?"
"I was thinking I want a polar mer-bear the size of this RV," my son said.
"What's a polar mer-bear? Is that from a show?"
"No, I just made it up. Also, I'd like a trip to excavate the bones of a real dragon."
"You don't have to bring me the bones, Mama. You can just bring me the plane ticket."
"Sweetie," I said, turning to my daughter, "what super-simple and, most importantly, small-in-size items do you have on your Christmas list this year?"
"Oh, you know, I was thinking I need a sun-dried strawberry sasquatch — a real one."
"Of course," I said. "And where am I supposed to find that?"
"The West Pole."
We have an interesting season ahead of us, folks. Stay safe.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Follow Katiedid Langrock on Instagram, at http://www.instagram.com/writeinthewild. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.