My senior year at Purdue was the first time I lived in an apartment. It had a lovely kitchen with sliding doors that opened onto a little balcony, and it overlooked a field that had the most perfect sunsets. When it snowed, everything glittered. We had a white table and cornflower blue placemats. I dressed up the fridge as a snowman in the winter. (Pinterest.)
One of the best things to happen in that apartment was the inaugural Friendsgiving. Thanksgiving with family is one (lovely) thing, but with friends it’s something different. We spend hours shopping, in the kitchen, watching TV while the turkey cooks, dancing around to music—it’s just the best. And, since everyone’s usually home for Thanksgiving, you get to see another side of your friends, which goes something like this:
One of my Friendsgiving co-conspirators, Logan, is BACK on the blog today to tell us about Friendsgiving, interview-style (I don’t know why he abides this, really):
Anne: Describe the process of shopping for Friendsgiving food.
Logan: Shopping for Friendsgiving is always a trip. It’s potentially more stressful than the cooking itself, but usually just as rewarding. And by “usually,” I mean “if we’re lucky.” We try to pick up the essentials, but even amongst a group of five people all born and raised in the Midwest, the “essentials” vary really widely. Let’s say, hypothetically, that even if four of us might be looking at a tub of Cool Whip, one person might be used to Reddi-wip, which is dispensed from a can like the milky white version of spray cheese. While the most creative and experienced cook in the group (who shall, of course, remain nameless) might want to cook a turkey with banana leaves and Mexican spices, the rest of the group has the power to nix the decision and make a boring traditional turkey. Bitterness aside, it can be fun. And usually is.
Anne: What about the cooking itself?
Logan: Now cooking the Friendsgiving food is another thing entirely. The experience depends on the kitchen we’re using, of course, and as a general rule of thumb, the smaller the kitchen the weirder the process. While we spend a healthy chunk of time figuring out where to set dishes and chop vegetables, the most exciting portion of the cooking process is when we watch 30 Rock and talk while the turkey bakes. A quick rundown of the staples of a Friendsgiving meal:
Turkey, one breast. Don’t worry about getting the full bird, because who wants to eat something that still looks like an animal.
Potatoes, mashed. Use cheese, if you please, and don’t forget to fill them with gravy.
Gravy, homemade. Thickening it with flour can be a trip, so let someone else worry about that while you get down and dirty with the good stuff.
Dressing, fully cooked. Don’t even attempt to stuff the bird, because one thing Friendsgiving is not about is death via salmonella.
And the rest of the stuff.
Anne: What’s your favorite Friendsgiving memory? You may look back at photos, Mr. Terrible Memory Guy.
Logan: Having had a thorough look back at Friendsgiving photos, I have to admit that my favorite memory is taking a photo of everyone lying on the ground post-meal. We cooked up a storm, as is customary, and both regretted and appreciated the amount of food we somehow consumed. Anne spent the rest of the night passing some major wind, but the rest of us felt just fine. (Edit: DID NOT. SO DID NOT.)
Anne: So why have Friendsgiving when you’re going to have family Thanksgiving, too?
Logan: Why have Friendsgiving if family Thanksgiving is just around the corner? It’s important to remember that Friendsgiving is more than just Thanksgiving — it’s Thanksgiving that has “Friends” in the name. We have it in order to maintain a healthy appreciation for linguistic processes, and also as an excuse to eat turkey and dressing twice. Moreover, there’s something very fulfilling in both holiday processes — cooking a Thanksgiving meal with the family is a tangible expression of family love, and cooking a Friendsgiving meal with friends (of course) is that tangible expression of love with your friends.
Anne: And the most important part: what’s your favorite Thanksgiving food? And your least favorite?
Logan: I’m such a sucker for all Thanksgiving foods, but if I have to choose, I’m going to side with the dressing. Of all the Thanksgiving foods, it’s certainly the least healthy and most fattening — but it’s also definitively the most delicious. The best dressing is homemade, collected from stale bread heels that have been allowed to dry over the entirety of November, and flavored with sage, thyme, and apple peel. Delicious, pernicious, and anti-nutritious.
The title of least favorite goes to the disgusting entity that is cranberry jelly. ‘Nuff said.
(Happy almost-November, y’all! Gather your people and feed them turkey and pie. It’s just the best.)