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A SPORTSFAN'S SMORGASBORD.
November 23, 2001

by Bill Hogan

 

 
 

It's the time of the year when a sportsfan's three favorite activities - eating, drinking and watching sports - get together for a well deserved and desperately needed four day weekend.

Thanksgiving. A time to give thanks. A time to recognize and appreciate all that we have.

 
 

A fifty-two inch television, a six-foot leather sofa and a twenty-one pound bird that used to answer to the name Thelma.

Two NFL games on Thursday. Celery sticks with cream cheese or peanut butter. Pimento filled olives, a cheese and cracker platter and the Packers-Lions. I love Thanksgiving.

My wonderful and thoughtful wife will have the turkey perfectly timed to be carved and served between games.

The table will be lavishly decorated and well stocked with all our favorite foods. First and foremost, Thelma. Which begs the question: why is Thanksgiving one of the few times a year we get to eat turkey? It's not like we couldn't go to the market and buy a turkey anytime we want. How come there always has to be an occasion?

Can you imagine coming home from work on a normal Tuesday to a turkey dinner with all the trimmings? I guarantee your first thought would be "what's the occasion?"

Another query: why does the Thanksgiving cook find it necessary to make the side dishes more complicated than they have to be? I don't want pearl onions in my peas, I don't want sauteed almonds in my stringbeans and I definitely don't want my yams 'candied'.

But then, I'm a meat and potatoes guy. Except on Thanksgiving - then I want to see a big bowl of mashed turnips on the table (or is it rhubarb? - no, I think a rhubarb is a beet. But then, I guess the turnip may also be part of the beet family, I don't know).

And stuffing. Or is it dressing? Can anyone tell me what the heck the difference is between stuffing and dressing?

What about sweet potatoes and yams? Isn't a yam a sweet potato? If my three-year-old ever asks me "daddy, what's a yam", my answer would be "well, son, a yam is a sweet potato". I'll stick with that until someone tells me different.

Is succotash just a fancy word for mixed vegetables? Every other day of the year we have mixed vegetables. On Thanksgiving, we have succotash. If you add a lima bean to mixed vegetables, is that what makes it succotash?

Keep the cranberry chutney down at the other end of the table (along with the acorn squash and creamed Brussels sprouts) and open up a can of good, old-fashioned cranberry sauce.

I never know what type of wine goes with turkey. I do know, however, that a chilled blend of hops and barley malt goes with everything from pickles to pretzels.

Here's a tip I've learned over the years: always offer to clean the dinner dishes. Invariably, a relative looking to feel useful will intervene and, not only will you be off the hook, you'll look like a champ. (Of course, there's always the possibility that they'll take you up on your offer. It's a risk-reward thing).

Then its back to the couch with a big slice of pumpkin pie and the Broncos-Cowboys game.

Don't forget about the all-important post-meal nap. It's essential for the marathon eater, drinker, sports watcher.

I think Thanksgiving is a great time for every sportsfan to display his or her sensitive side as well. No better way than to grab a turkey leg and a box of Kleenex and flip on "Brian's Song". Remember, guys, weeping is perfectly acceptable when you're watching "Brian's Song". And any guy that says he's never cried like a baby watching that movie is either a liar or a Cyborg.

For the late night sportsfan, college basketball's Great Alaska Shootout and a cold turkey and cranberry sandwich are waiting for you at midnight eastern time. (On the west coast, you may still be working on that apple brown betty Aunt Martha brought with her from Idaho).

Get some rest. There's plenty of turkey chili and college football on Friday and Saturday.

We'll have open faced turkey sandwiches with giblet gravy and a full compliment of NFL games on Sunday. Or turkey-jerky and NASCAR may be more your speed.

I think about the family and friends I have in my life and I am very thankful. I hope you all have plenty to be thankful for too.

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