Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thanksgiving Tips for the Clueless

© George Waters

While I am not an advice columnist per se (a Latin phrase meaning "purse"), most advice columns simply require using common sense, and I can certainly fake that. So, since this is a week in which many people have Thanksgiving-preparation questions, I am here for you with my faux (a French term meaning "best") advice: 

Dear George, what is the best temperature/time combination to cook the perfect turkey? Sincerely, Perfectionist in Pasadena.
Dear PiP: First of all, there has only ever been one perfect turkey, and that was Jesus's turkey, so get over it. Many people like to cook a turkey for five hours at 325 degrees, but I have never been a "follower." So I put my turkey in at 85 degrees last Labor Day. I haven't checked it lately, but I am sure it will be great for Thursday. It is too late for you to do this, so just buy a really big chicken and a lot of wine. 

Dear George, my mom and stepmother are not on speaking terms, but I have to invite them both. How should I deal with seating arrangements? Signed, Flummoxed in Fontana. 

Dear Flum: Seat them right next to each other. This will make it easier for you to hear the Cowboys/Jets game. 

Dear George, I turned 18 this year, and now that I'm a man, my mom wants me to carve the turkey. I have no idea how. Signed, Turkey Trouble in Temple City.
Dear TT: Now that you are 18, your mother will start asking you to do a lot of things you don't know how to do, like grow up. The key here is to proudly take the carving knife and proceed to cut slices which are alternately transparently thin and as thick as a "Harry Potter" book. To cement the deal, bust a huge sneeze on the bird too. Guess how soon you will be asked to carve the turkey again. That's right. 

Dear George, is there such a thing as "too much pie"? Sincerely, Curious in Covina.
Dear Curious: I am often asked if there is such a thing as a stupid question. I have always said no, but I stand corrected. Dude, the concept of "too much" pie is like the concept of "too many" black olives on your fingertips. No way. 

Dear George, what is the most appealing centerpiece for my table? Sincerely, Decor-deficient in Duarte.
Dear Dec: The centerpiece of your festive table is the most important element in your guests' enjoyment of the holiday. I would go with two flat-screen Sony Bravias set back to back facing the long way down the table, so nobody misses any part of this meaningful celebration of America's team. 

Dear George, my hipster aunt from Santa Fe and her husband, the Reiki healer, have made it clear they won't set foot in my home unless I provide Tofurkey with Ancho chiles. What the heck is that? Signed, Stressed in San Berdoo.
Dear Stressed: Tofurkey is a tofu-based meat substitute. Anchos are dried Poblano chile peppers grown in the Central Mexican state of Puebla, famous for their sweet, mild paprika flavor, moderate heat, and a hint of jalapeno and tobacco undertones. What were you, raised in Antarctica? 

The main thing to remember Thursday is that a long time ago, Indians helped white settlers survive the winter, and in return the white man showed them how to completely cover their land, ocean to ocean, with Jiffy Lubes. Ask any Indian. Before us, it took for-freakin'-ever to lube.

You're welcome, Indians. You're welcome.