The Public Eye

printed 11/25/2022

The Thanksgivings portrayed as cozy gatherings of happy family members smiling like they’ve been in Mommy’s mood pills again do nothing for me. That’s because I don’t remember those kinds of family feasts since nothing truly untoward occurred.

Ask yourself when the last time was that you asked a family member, “Remember that Thanksgiving when we all got there on time, enjoyed the feast and all got along?

Right.

That doesn’t happen, because nothing memorable took place, like, say, Uncle Charlie turning the turkey into a 20-pound hand puppet because, well, we all know Uncle Charlie has a problem. Or little Suzy not understanding that when referring to people from the Philippines, the proper suffix is “os,” not “uses,” the utterance of which, however harmless and unintentional it might have been, had a profound effect on Aunt Millie, who even in her late 70s continued to use made-up words for anything that she found uncomfortable. “Spudwinkle,” comes to mind.

But of all the things that make the best Thanksgivings, kitchen mishaps are the most remembered.

As reported elsewhere, there was the dad who secretly doused the turkey with bourbon to “spice it up a bit.” It did spice things up, according to the Washington Post, by erupting into a fireball that blew the door off the oven.

In another fireball incident, a man who spilled basting grease in the oven after saying, “No, I got it” to the person who offered to help remove the turkey from the oven, amused his guests by sitting at the table with no eyebrows and much shorter hair.

As for my own misfortunes, I have written previously about making the “World’s Best Stuffing,” only to discover that the originator of the recipe didn’t specify which world that was. Wherever it is, though, its inhabitants must be equally fond of Roasted Rain Boots and Filet of Steel-belted Radial.

Which brings me to my mission this year: Maryland biscuits, which I will attempt to make one more time.

For those who don’t know about or have never even heard of Maryland beaten biscuits (known in Virginia and points south as simply beaten biscuits because they’re just jealous), they are golf balls made from flour.

A well-made one can handle a 250-yard drive down the fairway and roll up on the table ready to eat — providing you can get it open without losing a finger.

That may be the reason I’m so determined to conquer these things, having nearly lost a digit as a kid trying to pry one open like a clam. That’s true, thanks to a serrated table knife and the serrated grandmother who supplied me with it because ... who knows?

I didn’t say a word or grimace in pain when this self-surgery occurred but suffered silently. I survived by using one of my grandmother’s linen napkins as a tourniquet that I later threw down the storm drain rather than admit I was an idiot.

Maybe that’s why no one makes Maryland biscuits anymore — little kids being held back in school because they can only count to nine.

In the meantime, I will observe Thanksgiving with my own traditions — counting my blessings ... and my fingers.

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