Never heard of turducken? It’s when you stuff a de-boned chicken into a de-boned duck and cram that into a de-boned turkey. Maybe your family endures a tradition like this each year. Mine does. Every holiday season they gather to stuff one animal into the intestines of another. Of all the traditions our Swedish ancestors left us, potato sausage is the one to survive.
Jacked up on Folgers coffee, men, women and children get elbow deep in raw ground beef, onions and potatoes. The blend is packed into an antique sausage press. One person cranks the handle and another fits a clean sheep intestine over the spout. After it’s cooked by boiling, it looks like a deceased snake.
Creating something that looks like a dead snake and eating it isn’t the point; the point is that the whole family is together. Yes, even Aunt Mary who thinks that the government is watching us through the dollar bills in our pockets. Sense trouble? There’s a reason for the saying, “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.” When your sister brings a new boyfriend to Thanksgiving dinner and he goes loco after your parents have gone to bed, forcing you to banish him to a hotel, that’s a Thanksgiving to remember, and laugh about, later, as long as he never comes back.
And yet despite all the differences between us, we go to great lengths to get together, often crossing extreme distances at the worst possible time of year to make it so. After arriving at our destinations cranky and weary sometimes comes the decision to add a little alcohol to the mix. Chances are things are going to get a little more colorful.
Where’s the gratitude, you ask. Aren’t the holidays about being thankful for the things we have, the people in our lives, the task of stuffing ourselves with an obscene amount of food in the name of being thankful? Don’t think a holiday disaster doesn’t make you reflect upon the good things in your life and all the forgettable times that things went right. The holidays aren’t just about the good times, they’re about the struggles too.
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