The Loh Life

The Frickin' Holidays

Sandra Tsing Loh's Thanksgiving meal isn't for everyone.

I don’t know how it happened.  There was daylight savings—  It’s freakishly SUNNY in the morning now— And fairly hot in Southern California—  And then suddenly it’s here: Christmas!  In fact, this year it seemed it was Christmas before it was Halloween—  There were snow-flocked trees at CVS lowering over pumpkins—  I just saw New Year’s decorations on sale—  Is it time to buy fireworks?  Will St. Paddy’s leprechauns beat UCLA this year in the Pineapple Bowl?  I’m disoriented!  I want out!

My friend Kathryn agrees.

“I heard somewhere that 60% of Americans would prefer the holidays to JUST go away,” she says.  “Feh!  And I’ll bet 90% of all mothers.  I hear Nat King Cole and I just break into hives.”  Kathryn’s children, you see, are at the awkward ages of 12 and 16.  They don’t believe in Santa Claus any more, but they would still like him to come, they love the milk and cookies, and they would also like new I-Phone 4’s.  In their antique stockings.  “And why does this somehow all fall to the mother?” Kathryn says.  “I don’t HAVE elves.  And every year the bar gets higher.  CORN syrup MANUFACTURERS are now friending me.  I just got this email: ‘Start making your own edible Christmas tree ornaments.’  What the— ?  Is there ANYTHING we don’t eat any more?”

“The holiday FOOD thing I think we’ve solved,” I reply.  I explain the strategy our family applied at Thanksgiving.  There were a bunch of adults and a bunch of children, most of whom are annoyingly precocious vegetarians— oh, they just can’t stop lecturing about it!  We’ve humored these pint-sized freedom fighters in years past by making a tofurkey—  a word you have to say very carefully—  Which is tofu packed into cheesecloth flanked by ghostly wobbling drumsticks seeping tofu fluid, or as we like to call it, tofluid—

But it was awful, and all the kids eat is mashed potatoes anyway.  With white gravy.  On a biscuit.  Only white food.  Meanwhile, my adult siblings and MYSELF are half-German and winter, frankly, is all about organ meats—  It’s Medieval Times—  So we end up sautéing the good stuff—  the neck, the liver, the heart, throw in some garlic, maybe some Stilton—  and hiding it all in an upside-down pot lid in the kitchen, away from the screams of the children.  You join the family at table to celebrate the holiday, and every now and then creep into the kitchen to furtively lean over the sink and, with your hands, gobble your actual Thanksgiving MEAL.

“It’s not for everyone,” I tell Kathryn.

“I’ll say,” she agrees.  “Now those edible Christmas ornaments don’t sound so bad.”

Combine with biscuits and I-Phone and all will be merry.


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