What's that I hear?
Oh, no family Thanksgiving this year, hmm? You're not planning on spending hours in the kitchen toasting bread cubes, scalloping pie crusts, and squishing turkey gizzards? You don't even have the energy to, say, boil cranberries with sugar, pecans, blueberries, currant, a little nutmeg, and a sprinkle of orange zest?
You and everyone else, toots.
For the first time in years, it's simply not worth it to stand over a hot pot of cranberries and serve them on Grandma's china or to pretend you like green bean casserole. You're staying home alone with your sad rotisserie chicken, powdery instant potatoes, and single-serving slices of pumpkin pie. And you know who's ready to stand out among this glorified depression meal?
Me, Canned Cranberry Sauce—the gal who broke the mold by making the mold.
You heard me! I'm returning to the West Endcaps. I'm putting myself back in the spotlight because this year, my public demands it.
Look at you, kid. Your seasonal depression is already in full swing. There's no way you're going to defrost a 10 lb turkey or make an intricate roasted squash blossom for one. Your only goal is to create the easiest knock-off Thanksgiving meal of them all to get one, fleeting taste of seasonal delight. And with me? All you have to do is twist me open and plop me on a platter. I'm as easy as they come, sweetheart.
If you think I can’t keep up with the other cast members on your table, think again. I’ll be juicier than your dry, microwaved turkey breast. I’ll stay crisper than your soggy, overcooked brussels sprouts. I’ve got more sugar in one can than every pie you’ve ever eaten, combined. When you slide me out of that can, you know exactly what you’re getting—a lip-smacking, slippery treat for the senses that took 30 seconds to prepare. I might be the understudy to your traditional cranberry cough syrup, but by next year, I’ll get top billing for sure!
Now, I'm sure the media will question my trumpeting return to the main course. After all, I had become a recluse, spending my life tucked away behind a can of Italian Wedding soup. I was tending to my wounds after years of ridicule and abuse. Why, I couldn't go one Thanksgiving without people making devastating comments about my body, saying things like:
“That broad just can’t stop jiggling.”
“Gee, at least we know she's so fake that she'll never go bad.”
“Would you look at that? She is busting right out of that thing!”
But this year, I'm not letting those critic blowhards get my goat. Don't they know who I am? I was a household name! Back in the '40s, I used to troll the streets half in the can with Betty Crocker and a pineapple upside-down cake. I had the feud of the century with Jell-O Salad, the no-good tramp. I was married to SPAM, for Christ's sake! You never heard of our divorce over my affair with a honey baked ham? It was in the papers for years! The public couldn't get enough of this sauce.
And now, finally, I'm once again ready to grace the linen tablecloths, and I intend to run circles around my soupy competition. Cold, burgundy circles.
Of course, this Thanksgiving won't be the one you wanted. Your mom isn't going to burn one of the pies and cry about it in the pantry. Your brother won't be begging you to vamp for him when he doesn't come home after a bender. You won't be hearing your great aunt weave some subtle xenophobia into the Thanksgiving blessing, causing you to break out in a rage sweat.
I know the feeling, sugar. Everything's different for me, too. The last time someone served me at Thanksgiving, your grandfather got into a neighborhood scuffle over Reaganomics. But no matter what, the show must go on.
And although I will no longer be gracing the dining room with the likes of Sara Lee and Butterball, I will happily take my place alongside a few greener performers.
After all, there are no small parts, only small servings.