My desk is often flooded with e-mails, letters, tweets, and angry blog posts all asking for my guidance. As many of you know, I'm the nation's foremost expert when it comes to Thanksgiving. You've no doubt read my book “Thanksgiving: A Guide to Surviving the Big Day without Committing a Homicide.” It's sold well over 10s of copies. With the big day just a few weeks away, I thought now would be a good time to respond to the many questions piling up on my desk. These questions were chosen at random by a three year old on a sugar high.
Our first question comes from NAME REDACTED from Erwin, NAME REDACTED asks “My family thinks that marshmallows on sweet potatoes is an essential part of any Thanksgiving meal, I personally think that marshmallows on sweet potatoes is a sign that Satan is among us. What are your thoughts on this topic?” Well, REDACTED, I've never felt that the lovely treat that is marshmallows has ever been a sign of a malevolent force present—unless you count Stay Puft. I enjoy a marshmallow now and then, but when it comes to Thanksgiving I feel that sweet potatoes do not need to be topped with marshmallows. I feel that you and your family should be able to find a common ground and compromise on this situation that both satisfies them, and your fear of inviting the dark one into your home.
Our next question comes to us from Kingsport, they write: “How much cooking sherry is *too* much to drink straight up, accounting for percentage of alcohol over time it takes to cook the damn bird?” Traditionally, cooking sherry's role on Thanksgiving has been that of a cheap way to get a little knackered, fueling the suspense of which member of the family is going to tell everyone else off first. I've found that the best way of knowing if when you've imbibed too much in the cooking sherry is if you begin to feel one or two feelings. At the first sign of feeling that you want to lock yourself in the bathroom and read Oprah's magazine all day long, stop drinking the cooking sherry. Or at the first sign that you feel you want to give your smug uncle a punch to the jaw, stop drinking the cooking sherry.
Next up I have a very interesting query from Hoss of Johnson City. Hoss writes: “Is the Horn of Plenty still a relevant decoration? I feel that to the up and coming generations this is less a symbol of bringing the feast to the table and more a stupid basket that you can't stand up because the bottom is a point. It's like the paper cups you get at a water cooler with a pointed bottom. Does the new generation have room in their life for a basket that won't sit independently on a flat surface?” Fascinating question, Hoss. It does indeed seem that some of the older traditions are falling to the wayside in our new and exciting modern world.
The Horn of Plenty has often been a centerpiece of many a Thanksgiving celebration, years ago you couldn't fling a dead turkey inside a K-Mart without hitting one. The Horn of Plenty is still absolutely timely in terms of a decoration, you don't have to bother to explain it if needed. Do you explain Uncle Harry's strange smell? Of course you don't! In some circles it's even better if you don't explain the centerpiece to some more modern couples, the “Horn of Plenty” is also known as the name of a popular marital aid.
This one comes in from Kat of Kingsport. Kat writes: “I found some canned goods of indeterminate age in the basement, should I serve them to my dinner guests? I'm mean it is good if the seal isn't broken right?” It is wise to not make waste and use what resources we have, my grandmother used to serve the old canned goods at Thanksgiving, only she turned it into a game called “Botulism Roundtable.” Those who didn't wind up at the hospital were given $10 and a coupon to Perkins. Use your own judgement.
I have time for just one more question, this one comes in from Sue in Jonesborough. Sue writes: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how uncomfortable is it to bring up Native Americans and ongoing marginalization of their cultures and race with extended family for this holiday?” Well, Sue, that's a hard nut to crack. The best advice I can offer is that unless you're related to documentarian Ken Burns, and want to get a little of that sweet public broadcasting money, you'd best not bring this line of conversation up.
I'm afraid that's all the time I have for this edition of Ask Andy. I hope I've helped to set your mind at ease with some of my Thanksgiving responses, and I hope it'll help you to plan a much better holiday for you and yours.