There’s really only one day a year where it’s acceptable to eat mashed potatoes and stuffing. Obviously you can eat those things pretty much whenever you want, but unless it’s on or around Thanksgiving, it just doesn’t feel quite right. (That’s not to say I won’t eat mashed potatoes and stuffing in, like, July, but I’ll at least have the decency to feel weird about it.)
What I’m trying to say is that some foods are meant to be consumed on Thanksgiving, in all their caloric glory. And some foods, well, some foods are not. These foods from literature are decidedly not.
1. Turkish delight from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Look, my family has enough to argue about at Thanksgiving dinner without someone betraying everybody else to Jadis.
2. Bowl o’ brown from A Song of Ice and Fire
In King’s Landing, it’s not unusual to pop into a tavern of questionable repute and order a stew that could very well contain bits of dead bodies. In my house, this would be unusual and possibly frowned upon. (It depends on how long we’ve been waiting and how good the kitchen currently smells.)
3. Seed cake from Jane Eyre
Most of Jane Eyre’s life story is unbearably gloomy, but things perk up a bit when Miss Temple invites Jane over for tea and offers her seed cake. Unfortunately, I grew up in the 21st century and have never known true suffering, so I prefer my cakes to be seedless.
4. Pickled limes from Little Women
The most adventurous thing I’m willing to eat on Thanksgiving is pecan pie, which I can never remember if I like or not, and you can BET I’m also getting myself two slices of pumpkin pie to make up for it in case I hate it. So if you think I’m going to go anywhere NEAR pickled limes, you’re crazy. All the cool kids may have been eating them in Little Women, according to Amy March, but THIS cool kid (a generous assessment of my coolness, I know, just shut up) is sticking with cheesy mashed potatoes, thanks.
5. Rotten haggis from Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday party in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I have never made haggis so rank that it is flavorful enough for a ghost to almost taste, but one year I made a green bean casserole that was probably comparable.
6. Lembas from The Lord of the Rings
The entire POINT of Thanksgiving dinner is gorging yourself on various foodstuffs and taking a nap, then feeling slightly hungry again mere hours later and beginning the process anew but with leftovers. The point is NOT to subsist on as little food as possible, which is the whole point of lembas.
7. Pie from Titus Andronicus
Personally—and I know this might be unpopular—I don’t like my pie to have people in it, and if it MUST have people in it, I’d prefer it if they weren’t people I know. In one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays, Titus Andronicus and his political rival, Tamora, go head-to-head in a series of escalating revenge stunts until eventually Titus bakes her sons into pie, which Tamora unknowingly eats. This wouldn’t be the MOST dramatic thing to ever happen at one of my family’s Thanksgivings, but it would put a damper on things, that’s for sure.