This article originally appeared in the War on Christmas Issue.


Now that it’s my turn to say what I’m thankful for, I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to the bountiful food on this beautiful Thanksgiving table. I see mashed potatoes (bland), asparagus (limp), and something we’re apparently calling “Auntie K’s gluten-free candlenut stuffing.” What I don’t see is a single dish that even holds a candle to my motherfucking cranberry sauce.

Now I know what some of you are probably thinking: “Cranberry sauce? That isn’t even a real dish. It’s just a sauce!” Bullshit. You fuckers crush more cranberries than an Ocean Spray factory. Sure, you take a portion of the other dishes to be polite, but we all know what you’re really here for. I see the way you look at my sauce. I know what you say behind my back: “More sauce bro!” and “Scoop me some sauce fam!” and “Sauce me up again Uncle Mike!” I don’t understand why you keep taking large portions of it to the bathroom with you, but it brings me a sense of smug satisfaction anyway.

I don’t want to come off as ungrateful, so let me put it this way. My cranberry sauce is like the First Thanksgiving, when Pilgrims and Indians came together in harmony. Your dishes are like every subsequent Thanksgiving in Wampanoag history: well-intentioned but mostly just horrific. Yes, Louisa, especially yours. What the fuck is “penne alla Wampum”?

Once again, I was told not to bother making the cranberry sauce this year. “There’s so much food already!” you said, gesturing to your dry-ass collection of beige meats and breads. “Besides, Maggie is bringing a cranberry tagine that’s to die for.” Needless to say, the congealed tagine is still sitting on the sidelines while my sweet, sweet sauce takes another victory lap around the table.

Though a magician typically never reveals his secrets, I have decided to pass on my legendary recipe so that you people will have something to eat next year should this shockingly bland rhubarb soup prove fatal to me. You will need:

1 bowl (large)

1 can cranberry sauce (large)

1 pinch not giving a fuck when the entire family belittles you for making cranberry sauce and tries to talk you into cooking some bullshit they found on Pinterest (large)

Psych, motherfuckers. I’m taking the real recipe to my grave. So even more than my cranberry sauce, be thankful for me this Thanksgiving. Because if I go, the sauce goes with me.

—N. Amsel