Doesn’t this look like the ideal Thanksgiving?  The butler carves the perfectly browned, crisp-skinned turkey, while the children, dressed in their Sunday finest, watch delightedly.  The adults gather in another room, to avoid having to interact with the host’s offspring, pets, and hired help.  Oh, and drink.  A lot.  This, of course, is a purely fictional Thanksgiving — a vintage press photo that I found on ebay.  The children, if in fact they are human children, are models.

Nope, for most of us, Thanksgiving is all about putting the fun in dysfunctional.  Like the family in this vintage Polaroid that I also found on ebay.

You can tell that this is a special day because everyone has their own bottle of sodie pop.  Yes, I say screw the Waterford.  And what’s that on the corner of the table — last year’s fruitcake?  Woo hoo!

Notice how Mom has put the plastic covering on the lamp shades, to protect them from — what?  Dust?  Aliens?

More likely it is to protect them in the event a food fight breaks out, because you never know what might happen when Cousin Earl shows up wearing Aunt Thelma’s shirt.

I’m a little confused by the turkey.  Was it a vampire turkey and they were trying to drive a stake through its heart?  What a dramatic presentation!

One thing about Thanksgiving with my family — contrary to what the food magazines would have me believe, this is NOT the time to try out new recipes.  My family looks forward to our traditional Thanksgiving dishes — roast turkey, mashed potatoes, whipped sweet potatoes, Pepperidge Farm stuffing, green beans, and cranberry relish.  The achiote-rubbed turkey, the green beans with pancetta and shallots, the sesame and green onion smashed potatoes, and the jalapeno cranberry salsa will have to wait for another day.  I am trying out a new salad, but I have an old standby too, just in case.

Watergate Salad, also known as Green Stuff, another family favorite, will also be on our Thanksgiving table.  Pistachio pudding mix, marshmallows, whipped topping, pecans, and crushed pineapple combine to create what my neighbor calls “paradise.”  It is the stuff of 1970s Junior League cookbooks, right up there with Tuna Noodle Casserole.  Don’t ask me why it’s called a salad, it just is.  If you’ve grown weary of the whole “farm to table” thing, and are yearning for a little “factory to table” cuisine this holiday season, whip up a batch of this pale green deliciousness.

Recipe type: Salad, Dessert
  • 4-serving size package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 20-ounce can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 9-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
  1. Place pistachio pudding mix and pineapple, with its liquid, in a large bowl. Stir in pecans and marshmallows. Fold in whipped topping. Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch dish and refrigerate for 24 hours. Cut into squares to serve. (If desired, the salad can be prepared and refrigerated for approximately one hour. It will not be firm enough to cut into squares, but will be light and fluffy and can be scooped and served. No one will complain!)

 I give thanks for Green Stuff