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  • Kristan Higgins

Oh, the humanity!

Updated: May 4, 2022

After several family interventions and one emergency visit from the United Nations, my mother has agreed to relinquish chef duties for Thanksgiving this year.


'Twas a battle, readers! The Queen of the Giblets was not quite ready to pass the torch, but after she melted plastic inside the bird last year (“You just can’t let that go, can you?”), after she “accidentally” splattered me with boiling gravy, dropped (or threw) a knife so that it stuck quivering in the kitchen floor right near pinkie toe, my sister and I huddled together and strategized.

We would cook the big feast this year—maybe add some new dishes that didn’t require cream of mushroom soup, canned onion rings or Cheez-Its—but Mom would still host, since she has the perfect house for company. My sister and I would go to her as a united front, possibly sending in the Princess when talks broke down. And so, with the “safety in numbers” theory firmly in mind, approached in a tactical method that would hopefully reveal the facts:


  1. Turkey is better without melted plastic;

  2. Our kidneys could not again process as much salt as she likes to use;

  3. Think of the children; and

  4. It was time her two fifty-something daughters made the damn bird all by themselves.

Fine,” she said after our fifth intervention. “Go for it. I’ll make a side dish. Or two. And a dessert. And cranberry sauce. And stuffing, because my stuffing is best.” (She has us there).

elsa mars

She won’t disclose exactly what she’s making just yet, and when I pop in to see her, she clutches myriad cooking magazines to her ample bosom. “I don’t know yet,” she says. “But you’ve got everything under control, don’t you?” It’s an accusation. “Want me to help cook the turkey?” A sinister laugh follows. “And don’t forget to make…the gravy.” Everything sounds slightly terrifying as if she’s Jessica Lange in American Horror Story.

Since my sister is coming from New Hampshire, McIrish, the Princess, Dearest Son and I will be doing most of the cooking. Do I think Mom is hoping for an unmitigated disaster so she can lord it over our bowed and shameful heads for the rest of our lives? Maybe! Will she have made an entire turkey dinner as backup? Probably!

Will we have a lovely Thanksgiving with lots of laughs? Absolutely.

I hope you will, too, dear readers.


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