being a mom

Cheatsgiving: How To Cook The Perfect Meal Without Any Actual Cooking

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102145518 copyThis recipe for a hands off Cheatsgiving holiday calls for one part timing, one part flattery, and just a dash of psychological manipulation. It is a recipe perfect for both beginners and long time cooks who simply don’t want to cook this holiday. It is not suitable for those with strong ethical sensibilities. If you’ve ever actually cleaned the insides of your closets before company arrived, I would advise you to stop reading now. This is not the recipe for you. If the insides of your closet resemble the aftermath of Chernobyl however, I urge you to read on.

Step one. Taking the bird off the table (or at least out of your oven).

This works best for married women, but a boyfriend or brother will do in a pinch. About a week before the event you must ask your husband (or substitute male) if they’ve ever heard of deep frying a turkey. Since men have a special relationship with all things meat and an affinity towards deep fried items, they will answer “yes”. Be prepared to hear a short diatribe on how such a thing is done, do not let your eyes glaze over. When they are done explaining the intricacies of poultry fricasse you must respond with the following phrase “Oh, that sounds too dangerous for us to try.” This sentence is the catalyst. The male brain hears a challenge in the word “danger” and testosterone levels will not allow said male to back down from this challenge. He will need to prove that he can laugh in the face of danger and will take it upon himself to fry the bird. If he doesn’t volunteer for the task right away, just tell him a made up statistic on house fires and bird barbecues while clutching your pearls. This ups the ante with a threat of death the male ego cannot resist. On a side note, a deep fried turkey leaves no drippings, so store bought gravy is now thankfully your only option.

Step two. Humble pie.

If you time this properly you will not need to bake any pies. Again this step should be done about a week before the holiday. First, wait until you need to pee. This will give your voice the proper slightly stressed tone you need to succeed. Next, call your aunt or mother or mother in law and share a story of woe. Tell them no matter how hard you try, you can’t get your pie crust as flaky as theirs (note: you don’t need to actually attempt a pie to make these calls). They will feel bad for you and at the same time very proud of their own baking skills. They will take it upon themselves to share these skills with the world by offering to bring their pies for your dinner.

Step three. The side swipe.  

Repeat step two with subtle changes. Ask how they get their stuffing so moist when your (imaginary) stuffing keeps coming out dry as chalk. Be in awe of your sisters ability to make homemade cranberry sauce and hint that you’ll probably buy it in a can. Continue with flattery and self deprecation till most all your sides are covered.

Step four. The mish mash.

The majority of your cooking has now been successfully outsourced. Unfortunately, unless you are an Emmy award winning actress, no one will believe you have an inability to cook such staples as mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, or green bean casserole. For this step you will need to break out your stash of leftover Halloween candy (yes, I know about your secret stash.) You will use the candy as motivation for child labor. Utilize your nieces and nephews as tools for meal completion. Ever seen a five year old hopped up on snickers bars with a potato masher. You will have the smoothest mashed potatoes candy can bribe. Try to put the elder cousin in charge of things like peeling and can opening. Preteens like wielding power over their siblings, its just a fact. With the proper power structure in place your meal will soon be ready to serve.

Step five. The cleanup.

Do you really think that  after your relatives have enjoyed the bountiful meal you provided they would require you to wash the dishes? Oh no, you’ve done so much. Have a glass of wine and let someone else take care of the dishes. You just made the perfect Cheatsgiving dinner, you deserve a break.

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