Thanksgiving Burgers

I’m a pretty good cook, not great, I’ll never be great cause I won’t do the training, but I’m good. Good enough. Good enough that when I invite people to dinner they jump at it, or it seems they do, there’s an immediate response of yes and much hoopla made over picking the date for said dinner, the sooner the better they always insist. So, yeah, I’m a pretty good cook.

So when I set out to make Thanksgiving dinner this year, I figured it’d be a slam dunk with family and friends. I created a menu based on all my favorite things but including some of the more standard fare as well, because you never know what dish really says Thanksgiving to people. I mean, you’d think that would be the turkey, but that beast of a bird really tends to be symbolic in peoples minds for some reason…which is something I’ve never understood, I mean, if those pox-giving Pilgrims really did sit down to a meal with the Native Americans, even if they had turkey, it wouldn’t be this huge thing we picture today…it’d be one of those scrawny wild turkeys, that yes, will fix you and your family of four a meal, but it’s not going to feed hundreds. Not even if you had four of them. Or six. I mean, clearly these people ate deer or something.

Anyway, I went ahead with the turkey, because as I explained, tradition.

So as I’m inviting people to dinner and showing them the menu and everything people are excited. I mean, they seem excited, there’s a lot of “thank you” and “I can’t wait” and even a “can’t Thanksgiving come earlier this year.” Which really pleases me, I’m not gonna lie, it feels good to hear people are excited to come, even if they’re coming for the food more than for me. Which is just me trying to be self-deprecating, but really I think they’re coming for the food.

And it’s not until I get to the last couple on my list, the last two people to fill in my table, the two people I’ve been trying to get to come to dinner for years who always seem to have an excuse, it’s not until I’m inviting them that things start to go…wrong seems like a harsh word, it’s more that things just start to go awry, let’s just say that.

I can tell right away, before I even invite them but after I’ve discussed this amazing menu, it really is amazing, that they aren’t interested, and it bugs me. How can they not be interested when I’m describing candied yams and a turkey that’s been rubbed, brined, and slow cooked? Who can look bored when hearing about the ingredients and the love and care being put into such a meal? But they do, look bored that is. And I already know they’re going to say no, but I ask them to dinner anyway.

Obviously, they find a polite way to decline. I mean, if I hadn’t seen that coming I would have been concerned by my lack of attention, but it still stings a bit, these constant “no, thank you” responses I get from them. And for whatever reason, instead of just shrugging it off and figuring out who to invite instead, I get a bit…defensive is probably what I got, but I’d like to think I was curious. And before you know it I’m asking them why they always turn down my dinner invites.

Well, it turns out, and this was a relief, I tell you, it turns out they’re vegan but even more than vegan. As I keep asking for more clarification, as I keep hearing the way they eat, I’m just amazed. There’s a list of like…fruit. Really. It’s just fruit that they eat. Literal fruit. They have all these vitamins and minerals and injections they take, because all they eat is fruit. And I realize that it’s really no wonder they always look cold and like they’re going to disappear if the wind blows, they eat fewer foods than rabbits.

But, I can’t help myself, I’m intrigued. I have to know more. We end up getting a table at a nearby coffee shop, they drink water, while I ask all these questions about their diet, and they don’t seem to mind. They don’t get verbose or anything, they don’t try to convert me, they just answer question after question. And the next thing I know, I’m offering to make them a meal. Their way. A fruit dinner. But that includes cooked fruits, like a serious, multi-course fruit dinner.

This #writethirtyminutes session was prompted very loosely from “A Year of Writing Prompts” by Writer’s Digest, available here

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