Hey you! Ever wondered what food writers REALLY think of Thanksgiving? No? Food writers are assholes and you don't give a shit? Well, tough turkey for you, gravyballs.
Regina Schrambling of Slate (who has the most Slate writer name ever) wrote this 2008 article telling you why it's just so difficult for food writers to come up with a new angle for the holiday. Yes, in addition to hating pie and s'mores and longing for a renaissance of pickpocketing, Slate also hates Thanksgiving. I assume that Slate will run a piece this year explaining why contrarian Slate pieces aren't as annoying as you think. For old time's sake, let's take a quick look at this monstrosity.
As a food writer...
Stop. I hate you already. With that single clause, you've effectively announced yourself as an insufferable human being.
I should never admit this, but I really hate Thanksgiving.
Ooooh, so brave and bold of you AS A FOOD WRITER to denounce a holiday most people like. I applaud you for your bravery, AS A FOOD WRITER, to dislike a holiday that is centered almost exclusively around food. Glad to see you're bucking the trend of food writers who enjoy eating.
Not the day, not the food, not the cooking or the shopping, not even the sappy reason Americans ostensibly gather to gorge in late November. What makes me totally crazy is the persistent pressure to reinvent a wheel that has been going around quite nicely for more than 200 years. Every fall, writers and editors have to knock themselves out to come up with a gimmick-fast turkey, slow turkey, brined turkey, unbrined turkey-when the meal essentially has to stay the same. It's like redrawing the Kama Sutra when readers really only care about the missionary position.
Oh, I see. You don't hate Thanksgiving. You just hate WRITING about it. AS A FOOD WRITER, it's so hard! I mean, Jesus. We get paid to EAT, you know? Really fucking hard life. I'm sure you beer writers and stripper casting agents out there know what a hideous bitch this business can be.
I should have known the well was dry when I was persuaded to write an overwrought ode to the color of cranberries for the L.A. Times' wannabe literary turkey section last Thanksgiving.
Oh, poor you! As a food writer, it must be hard when a major newspaper pays you to write about fucking FOOD.
During my short time as deputy editor of the New York Times' "Dining" section, the pain was different.
But no less intense! Seriously, I want to know where people like this come from. Are they bred in a lab at the Times? Who are all these privileged media people out there, and why do they live in such breathtaking isolation? Why do they think ANYONE gives a fuck what life is like AS A FOOD WRITER? Are they all from one college? Is it Oberlin? I bet it's Oberlin.
Rather than writing the damn stories, I had to help generate ideas for the poor reporters to wrestle with.
OH NO MY JOB FORCED ME TO THINK! HOLY FUCK THAT'S HARD! I had to sit in a room and actually be creative, then have an underling write the actual copy for me. Much harder than brining a Nodine's smoker turkey, for certain!
The general groaning started in early October as we all contemplated the worst deadline of the year.
Seriously? You spent two months bitching about it? Oh, I bet those were real dark days out in your Katonah writing barn. PEOPLE ARE DYING IN ARMED CONFLICTS OUT THERE, YOU ASS.
I guess I'm a total hypocrite, though, because I do the work I'm assigned each year and then get up on Thanksgiving morning and ignore everything I wrote.
Good! You should ignore it because it's terrible.
I make my stuffing as usual, roast my turkey as always, whisk up the same pan gravy, peel and mash potatoes, don't get fancy with the cranberry sauce, and cook whatever green vegetable looks best at the farmers' market. If I have time this year I'll make pumpkin-thyme dinner rolls and the sweet potato-pecan pie I have baked 20 times before.
If I have time, I'll just whip up some of my AMAZING recipes that will blow your skull. The usual farm-to-table masterworks I assemble for my friends and family. Ho hum. BORING. Oh, the life of a FOOD WRITER.
It's amazing how efficient you can be without new recipes.
I mean, I'm just so AWESOME. I know this stuff backwards and forwards, you know? No need to look at a recipe when I'm making my traditional kale-stuffed Berkshire Farms quail egg cornbread and local hominy pudding. No, where is my acorn twine holder?
And if I'm thankful, it's because it will be months before it's time to tweak the turkey yet again.
Yes, months and months before you actually have to get off your ass do your goddamn job. Food writers are shit.