For the perfect holiday meal
Here they are, the 11 easy steps to the No. 1 most popular recipe for the four days of Thanksgiving and the year’s worth of recriminations afterward.
8 guests, including 6 family members, cubed.
60 years of family history, finely sliced.
5 cups of procrastination.
A pint of low-fat stalling.
2 ½ cups of mild frustration.
4 tablespoons of arguing (you can use instant — say, over who gets to control the television remote control when there are multiple football games playing — but long-simmering is always better).
3 liters of irritation, which is convertible to a gallon and a half of spite.
A heap of revenge.
A teaspoon of retribution extract.
A dash of annoyance.
A pinch by Aunt Mildred, preferably on the cheek, but in a pinch, the ear or the bottom will do.
A hint of never again.
Preheat dining room to just about boiling so at least some guests will prefer to go out onto the porch where they can complain about how cold it is and why don’t you get the porch enclosed and heated?
Take all of the ingredients and confine them to a small space for several hours. Mix, putting Aunt Sophie next to Uncle Charlie, and hope for the best, even though the two of them haven’t spoken since that unfortunate incident at Cousin Carol’s wedding.
Combine first three ingredients in a large saucepan that you just remember hadn’t been cleaned since last Thanksgiving. Bring to a rolling boil, which is completely different from a strolling boil, a trolling boil and a lanced boil.
Saute even if you can’t find the accent mark. Cook until there is no liquid left in the pan, which could be 15 minutes or, on the other hand, about an hour and a half. Make a choice. Take a guess.
Meanwhile, in a large zipper-top bag, combine the remaining ingredients with cornstarch, whatever that is, and wherever you put it. After 20 minutes, realize that you don’t have cornstarch in the house although you were absolutely sure you did. But you can use a substitute. Like flour, if you hadn’t run out of that also. Use the spaghetti then, since it’s more or less the same color and that’s all that matters.
Drizzle over your best new clothes, making them fit only for cleaning out the garage, which, thankfully, you have no intention of ever doing.
Sprinkle with sprinkles.
Cook until tender or at least until you can’t remember and decide to do it again next year.
Neil Offen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.