I come from a fractured family, so holidays are often just my parents and myself as well as any friends or neighbors (theirs or mine) we’d like to spend time with. Some remain on the scene through multiple holidays (like June B. Stewart), while others (like Thursday’s guest) will hopefully quickly rotate out.
Thanksgiving. The best food holiday of the year, yes? Due to the “national dish of Lithuania“, here’s what I was able to eat: two bites of turkey and one forkful of mashed potatoes. Then it all went horribly wrong.
A first time guest to my parents’ holiday table was a neighbor of theirs who is very proud of her European roots – mainly Lithuania, secondly Germany. Let’s call her Babs. To demonstrate her appreciation for the Thanksgiving dinner invitation, she proudly contributed the pride of her heritage: Kugela, known as the “national dish of Lithuania.” The ingredient list reads potatoes, onion, and bacon. I know what you’re thinking: how could this go wrong? That’s exactly what I’d like to know.
Even though it was somewhat redundant to bring a big ass potato pancake to a Thanksgiving feast (hello? mashed potatoes? stuffing?) having the ancestral blood from Poland and Germany running through my veins, I looked forward to trying it. Thursday’s lesson? Don’t mess with tradition.
I don’t know what on earth Babs did to potatoes, onion and bacon to make it smell the way it did, but the aroma just made my stomach seize. Not only did I have a generous serving of kugela on my plate, but the overflowing serving dish was situated about 14 inches from my nose.
It was so nauseating, I couldn’t even stomach a slice of pie for dessert. Another glass of cab, please!?
I’ve never had a Thanksgiving buzz kill like that. The fact that I couldn’t control the menu myself from the beginning (my mother’s a little sensitive to my ‘control issues’ that she can’t imagine where I get them), as well as being on the verge of hurl-dom from Thursday through yesterday, led me to buy and cook a turkey breast all for myself today. It’ll feed me and the wiener dog for several days but it doesn’t replace that ‘open the jeans zipper’ feeling that is a Thanksgiving requirement.
As an American national holiday, I propose that all foreign-food contributions be banned in perpetuity from Thanksgiving dinners. All in favor?