How to win your Thanksgiving food fight


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Thanksgiving is mere hours away, and if you believe your social media bubble, you’re about to be assaulted by a barrage of insults from your cranky old racist uncle/mouthy young millennial niece or nephew. These sorts of ideological throwdowns happen a lot more often in Facebook comment sections than reality, which is a good thing. We should all be able to act like halfway decent adults for an hour, right? Nah. Adulting’s for other people. Here, let’s talk about how to fight, and fight dirty, using the foods at your disposal. Sure, you could just jam your hands into whatever dish is handy, but you’ve got to think strategically, otherwise you’re going to be holding a hand of melting cranberry glop while your cousin’s eyeing you with a full chafing dish of some lethal corn souffle. Assuming you’re not going to go for grievous bodily injury — no slinging carving knives or wine bottles — here’s your arsenal. Time to John Wick your way through Thanksgiving dinner: Biscuits: Bread’s a tough one, because if it’s good to eat, it’s bad to use as a weapon, and vice versa. Your best bet is to go for the biscuits and whip them as an artillery barrage to soften up the battlefield as you prepare to deploy the heavier weaponry. Casserole: Every Thanksgiving table has some weird-ass casserole that nobody really likes but everyone puts up with because, you know, that’s the way Grandma wanted it. This cheesy-breadcrumby mess has real potential, but be sure to discreetly sample its consistency before the festivities begin. And for God’s sake, don’t eat it. That way lies madness. Crackers & cheese: Your mileage may vary, but our family lays out Triscuits and cheese as a damn good appetizer. Yes, Triscuits are the ‘70s shag carpet of appetizers, but so what? I love ‘em, and more importantly, you can scatter-toss them in an enfilade that’ll clear out the other side of the table. Cranberries (canned): The problem is that the cranberries will probably be out of the can, and therefore largely ineffective. Use the sauce to grease the floor in front of your foes. Gravy: Slung from a gravy boat, you can cover a wide area with brown gold. Aim for the eyes and/or mouth. Green beans: Useless on your Thanksgiving table, useless in a food fight. GTFOH with green beans, now and forever. Ham: I am not a fan of ham at Thanksgiving. Ham is Christmas and Easter. Stop trying to edge in on turkey’s corner, ham. But should you find yourself at a table with ham, don’t screw around with slices. Grab the full ham — you might be able to use the hambone itself as a handle — wind it up, and hurl it like you’re Thor. It’ll be slow to throw, but if you hit someone, they’re down for good. Mashed potatoes: Here’s where knowing your weaponry helps. If the potatoes are too thick, they’ll be like trying to throw handfuls of paste. Too thin, and you’ve just got white gravy. (Mmmm.) Size up the consistency of the potatoes before the firing begins, and decide whether to use them or bypass them for more damaging foodstuffs. Stuffing: Delicious, but difficult to manage in a food fight. Bad stuffing, in addition to being a war crime, disintegrates immediately upon hurling. Good stuffing gets eaten long before any food fight can erupt. Turkey (sliced): Here’s where we have the greatest variance between flavor and utility. A properly prepared turkey is succulent and juicy — don’t believe those heretics who say it’s dry and flavorless, they’ve just had badly cooked turkey — but sliced, turkey can do little. A turkey slice that lands with a soft plaf! does no good at all … unless your goal is to get your dad to chase the turkey out of the room like Bumpus’s dogs, in which case a flung turkey slice does the job just fine. Turkey (whole): This is the Ultimate Nullifier of Thanksgiving food weapons. You throw this one, you’re bringing everything to a halt. So if you choose to deploy it, be aware that you’re likely to be consumed in the blast. Turkey leg: This is it. The turkey leg is your Valyrian steel, your Excalibur, your Louisville Slugger. When hostilities break out, grab one and preferably both of the turkey legs. They can be defensive weapons, ranged weapons or hand-to-hand weapons. We love you, turkey leg, star of the Thanksgiving table. Yams with marshmallows: Here’s your sleeper weapon. The yams (or sweet potatoes, whatever) are useful as distance weaponry, but the real secret here is the marshmallow topping. It’s sticky as hell under all conditions; when hot, it’s a defoliant banned by the government, when cold, it’ll solder fingers to faces. Stake out the yams and marshmallows, folks, and thank me later when you’re gnawing on your turkey leg of victory. Remember: stick and move, stick and move. There is no glory in being the target of a food fight, there is only pain and stench. Good luck out there, my friends.

READ MORE OF MY STUFF

I assault inboxes twice a week with spicy sports takes as part of the daily Read & React newsletter from Yahoo Sports, so if you’re not already subscribed to that, by all means, sign up. Beyond that, here’s some of the work I’ve foisted upon the world in the last couple weeks:

An ode to the Turkey Bowl, the greatest football game of the year: This essay was going to run in the space above, but once I finished it, I decided it was ready for a promotion to the big leagues. Thanksgiving Day family football is the best.

Chasing Colin Kaepernick: The onetime NFL quarterback made a rare public appearance last weekend for a strange little traveling road show of workouts, a journey across Atlanta that began at the Falcons’ gleaming football compound and ended at a high school field 60 miles south. I was there for all of it, and here’s the story.

Block or Charge?: Rex Chapman has transformed himself from oft-injured NBA sharpshooter to social media viral guru. Here’s how — and why — he did it, a story that’s a lot more than just posting nut shots on Twitter … though there’s plenty of that too.

Remembering Homestead-Miami Speedway: One of my favorite stops on the sports calendar was always Homestead in November for the NASCAR finale. That’s done now; the finale is moving to Phoenix, for some inexplicable reason. But I’ll miss weird, swampy Homestead, and listed here is why.


RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK:

Dave Hause, Kick

I can count on one hand the number of songs I’ve heard from new artists that kicked me in the teeth from the very first play. I remember playing a cassette of “Appetite for Destruction” about 10 times in a row, never getting past “Welcome to the Jungle” before hitting rewind.

Thought I was beyond that kind of discovery — at this era in late-stage rock n’ roll, we’ve hit pretty much every possible combination of guitar-drums-bass, verse-chorus-solo-chorus there is. But then I was in the Richmond airport waiting to board a predawn plane, and a friend on Twitter recommended this album, and bang — I was all in from the first, haunting chords and chorus of “Eye Ay I.”

This is an album of a guy trying to find his way in a musical world populated by, as he puts it, “arrogant dumb young opening bands” and “cashing-in old bores,” a guy who’s seen some shit but still carries a bit of that early-Springsteen-style open-road rebellion and romanticism. Music for anyone who's trying to figure out what the hell to do next ... so, all of us. (Spotify, iTunes)



MENU OF THE WEEK:
Virginia Beer Company, Williamsburg, Virginia

Millennials may have killed everything from malls to marriage, but they've replaced those husks with brilliance like indie brewpubs, which I absolutely adore. One of my favorites: Virginia Beer Company, a Williamsburg joint that's repurposed an old auto repair shop into a full-scale brewery. Every time I'm in town, I grab a pint of Free Verse and do some work there.


RANDOM RANKING OF THE WEEK:
Guests at Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving feast

1. Snoopy: Olympic-level gymnast, master chef, poker-dealing aficionado, and chair-wrestling enthusiast, he’s the coolest cat in any room he enters.

2. Linus: This falls in between his star turns at Halloween and Christmas, but he still gets a spotlight moment to lead the prayer. He’s thisclose to being one of those smarmy “Well, actually…” guys you just want to deck, but his blissful lack of self-awareness saves him.

3. Franklin: The whole “Peanuts is racist!” gag is something that Woke Twitter takes a little too seriously, but still: not a great look to seat him out there by himself, Chuck. Doesn't do anything actively harmful to anyone else, which with this crew is an achievement. 4. Marcy: The only one amongst the party-crashers who expresses a shred of humanity. Not afraid to call out Peppermint Patty, for all the good it does.

5. Charlie Brown: Kind of a chump, as always, but points for not inviting that damn Lucy to his Thanksgiving feast. Pull that football, pull yourself right out of a good meal of toast and jellybeans, lady.

6. Sally: Still clearly cranky as hell over the whole Great Pumpkin debacle, which is a nice bit of cross-special continuity, but her griping about Christmas showing up too early is on point.

7. Peppermint Patty: The worst. The absolute worst. Invites herself over for dinner, doesn’t help with anything, bitches about the food, calls out the host, and THEN, even when she gets an undeserved invitation to a real Thanksgiving dinner, has to take control of the “Over the River and Through the Woods” singalong. Lose her number, Charlie Brown.

All right, that'll do it for this week. Thanks for reading, and hey, if you dig this, forward it to a friend and get them to subscribe here. If you're of a mind, hit me up with your thoughts/suggestions/comments/recipes. Now, go have yourself a fine Thanksgiving, and I'll catch you in a couple weeks. Seeya!