The Best! So Perfect!

by Matt on October 17, 2006

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Let the superlatives begin.

Every year, without fail, the newstands and grocery racks are filled with the big food magazines’ take on America’s biggest food holiday–Thanksgiving. I’ll admit it, I do get that warm tingle inside when I think of sitting down to a table of great food that’s shared with friends and family, and yes, it’s a perfect opportunity to slow down and give thanks for so much that we have. I’m fine with that.

So what’s my problem?

It’s that perfect Thanksgiving.

Just like fashion glossies showcasing unattainable beauty, America’s editors seem to be fixated on achieving perfection during the month of November. They promise pages and pages of culinary perfection that will impress guests with your endless kitchen prowess if you only fork over $4.50 or so.

I mean, really–what gives? Will my guests speak poorly of me if I serve them imperfect mashed potatoes? Must I serve "show off dishes" when I’ve been in the kitchen since 6:30am and all I can honestly care about is making it through the day without running out of pinot noir and strangling myself?

Let me let you in on a little secret: there’s no such thing.

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Quit promising that this year you’ve discovered "5 perfect feasts" – if they were so good why didn’t you tell me about them last year? And if you’ve just discovered Thanksgiving’s "Five Best New Recipes" does that mean you won’t have an issue next year? If you claim "the absolute best method (it’s also the easiest)" does that mean you and your staff will show up on my doorstep and prepare it for me? Now that would be the easiest. You share tips and tricks on helping me achieve a "perfect piecrust", but what good will it be with my sad, imperfect filling? And lastly, you promise me, the reader, a "perfect thanksgiving", but does that include the recipe testers and stylists and art directors who helped make yours just so damn perfect, I ask?

Unless you’re our pal martha or a superhero, you’d find it just a wee bit difficult to create a perfect thanksgiving each and every year. It’s tedious, expensive, fraught with a comedy of endless errors and slight timing snafus. And guess what? That’s exactly how I like it. I don’t need my day to be perfect; I find it just dandy being imperfect. Because if it’s true what they say about life being lived in the details, I want memories that will make me laugh and smile, and not gloss over my Thanksgiving because it was, well, picture perfect and without flaw.

How boring.