Thursday, November 28, 2013
Hello everyone! We are calling it a week fairly shortly, although you might see a Thanksgiving surprise or two over the next couple of days. Good luck and godspeed with any and all combinations of travel, food coma, unsolicited advice, involuntary solitude, blissful alone time, drunk uncles, sober mother-in-laws and critical cousin mass that you might be dealing with over the next few days. Or, if you are not from the United States of Terrible Historical Events Masquerading As Holiday to Celebrate the Blessed Union of Sweet and Savory, good luck with the rest of your ordinary work week!
We are thankful for all of you, and we'll see you back here Monday.
Photo via Patrick Q/Flickr
In my family, only one Thanksgiving tradition has stood the test of time and place. It’s not the turkey or the stuffing or even my mother’s famous pumpkin rolls, though if we are lucky, those foods are all there, and they are delicious. It’s not food at all, or the particular array of people present. It’s what happens in the moment toward the end of dinner, once the meal has been devoured and praised, when the coffee is being made and the pie being sliced and doled out onto plates. My dad pours himself another wine—red, of course, "it's good for the heart!" he says—looks at the table in front of him, and asks, “What is everyone most thankful for this year?”
For a snarky bunch, we actually take this question seriously, and go around the table offering answers that range from silly to profound. Thanksgiving is special. It's a day in which cheesy Q&A sessions, feeling surprisingly earnest, maybe even feeling openly grateful, are not just OK; they're encouraged. (So is day-drinking, but that's another story, and can lead to different, less heartwarming consequences.)
Through the years, my Thanksgivings have varied drastically. Because my parents moved out of the country—to England and then Asia, way too far for a long-weekend trip—after I graduated from high school, I never experienced the kind of Thanksgiving that involves really, truly going back home, to the house in Alabama where I’d spent my formative years. I never had the Thanksgivings of those who annually return to the places where they grew up, gathering friends from childhood at some local bar to reminisce after serving out the proper quota of family time. Instead, I had a cornucopia of Thanksgivings, with different people and their families. READ MORE
Grouplove's ardent, ecstatic, call-and-response summer single "Ways to Go" was all sunshine, and this addictive, cloud-rap remix from Thom (Alt-J's drummer) is like a storm: it's dark and tweaky, with the slight hint of unease in the original stretched into sad, glimmering currents that ebb and flow throughout. If you are struggle-traveling right now, this comes highly recommended (I've got a little bit longer/ I've got a ways to goOoO).
Congratulations: you have been invited to Olivia Pope's house for Thanksgiving!
Ms. Pope, the self-appointed surrogate mother to far from home-rs, rag-taggers, newly separated couples and recently-freed-from-underground-prison-dwellers, will bring in a mixed crowd that might seem hard to please. You are a terrible cook, but no matter, you have heard ("from anonymous sources") that Ms. Pope is a closeted wino. Thusly you will show up with a delicious red and be met with praise.
One predicament stands in your way of Ms. Pope's gloved embrace: you know nothing about wine, let alone red wine. So consider this your field guide to good but cheapie red wine that Thanksgiving guests will lap up. Also, a disclaimer, I have tried all of these wines and can vouch for all of their deliciousness.
When you get to Olivia Pope's townhouse you can boast that this first wine hails from Sonoma County, California. (You can keep to yourself that it runs around $13.) Ravenswood Winery's Zen of Zin is delicious, fragrant and tangy. Zinfandels are great for a Thanksgiving gathering because they work twofold. You get a light fruity wine that will cut through heavy Thanksgiving sides like a white wine would, but also a wine that makes meat dishes taste even better. You can even hold off and uncork for dessert; Zen would go great with something chocolaty or a rich pie. It’s my go-to red, and also: puns.
If you're feeling like grabbing something seasonally complementary, you'll be able to find it in a nice Pinot Noir. For cranberry and cherry notes, Castle Rock Pinot Noir is your pick. It pops up all over "Best Of" lists for its classy vibe and elegant taste, but also for its price point: 12 bucks. It's a fruity one, so this will be your wine to entice red non-believers.
The Mondavi Family is to wine as Huck is to dismembering people, or Harrison is to ugly ties. Try their Charles Krug Winery Napa Valley 2009 Merlot. This wine is likely what Olivia herself will suspend delicately in a giant crystal goblet while perched on her practical white couch. At $21, the price is still sweet, and the bottle will give off a sophisticated air: this wine is bold yet light, and super-luxe. Bring it to your boss’s house, your boyfriend's parents' place. Seem "together." READ MORE
My girlfriend and I are hosting our first ever real Thanksgiving dinner as a couple on Thursday, and I’m feeling more than a little overwhelmed. I love to cook, but mostly eat vegetarian, and the idea of making a huge, multi course, meat centered meal for a bunch of people I want to impress is FREAKING ME OUT! I’ve bought all the ingredients, and have some basic ideas of what I’m making (sweet potatoes, turkey, brussels sprouts, the usual suspects), but I’m hoping you could give me a timeline. When do I make what? How do I make sure everything isn’t freezing cold/has to cook at the same time? If you have any knockout Thanksgiving recipes to seal the deal, that would be awesome as well. Basically what I want to know is if you have any tips for fooling people into thinking I’m a competent adult.
Almost a Grownup
Fooling people into thinking you’re a competent adult is pretty easy. There are many signifiers of grownuphood, including having a job, a relationship, a dentist, an apartment you pay for yourself, or even just a professed interest in serialized television dramas. It looks like you’ve got at least one of these things covered, so I wouldn’t worry about being judged by a group of people who are probably just as uncertain about their own competency as you are—on a holiday where it is considered totally socially acceptable to eat canned green beans, no less. I remember my first solo hosted thanksgiving, when I tried to make dinner for 25 people in a tiny apartment where the kitchen equipment was limited to a toaster oven and a hot plate. I couldn’t find any of the ingredients, and didn’t start cooking until way too late in the day. We ate at 10 p.m. Everything was cold. Half of it was over or undercooked. But there was pie, so everyone was overjoyed anyway. Have pie, and you’ll do fine.
But none of this answers your question. Fortunately for you, the takeaway of my first failed Thanksgiving (aside from the healing properties of pie) is that having a clear-cut schedule can prevent even the most egregious culinary snafus. So, I now present to you the first official Ask a Glutton guide to Thanksgiving (or any big holiday meal, really). I’m assuming for the purposes of this exercise that your menu, in addition to the aforementioned sweet potatoes, turkey, and Brussels sprouts, also features the usual holiday standbys of cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, rolls, and some kind of pie. You should obviously feel free to add and subtract the actual contents of your menu. READ MORE
I am at a loss for words. Via Vulture.
In 2010, James Blake released this track on vinyl under his remix alter ego Harmonimix, and now he's brought it back to his delightfully named 1-800-Dinosaur Soundcloud. It's more of a cover than a remix: Blake uses a spooky, slightly atonal scale to sing most of the vocal line, and his trademark glitched-out fuzz production has erased nearly all of the Beyonsay. But no number of electro-blurts and tin-can vibes can erase all of the "Bills Bills Bills," and any fans of that "Come Thru" remix will like this.
This is a lovely video that brings to life the NC State dialect map project we talked about a few months back. I've only lived in New York three years and the other day I caught myself asking a man in a bodega if he was "on line"; for a few seconds after the incident I experienced something like a brief existential crisis. (Also, apparently in some places in the South a "sunshower" is referred to as "the Devil is beating his wife," may this not catch on.) [via]
"Spotless" is a Ryan Hemsworth-produced track off of Druture's Out of Towner Vol. 1, a Chicago-based mixtape, featuring verses from Sasha Go Hard and Tink and a hook from Kitty (née Kitty Pryde). It's got a dark, looming beat and Kitty's light whisper breaks up two standout tracks from Sasha and Tink. (Tink, by the way, is consistently great. Her own mixtapes are here.) I'll be doing Lorde moves to this for a few hours at least. [The Fader]
Sometimes when I'm feeling unaccomplished I like to seek out some new, insightful, unbiased, life's great mystery deciphering blog or news and culture magazine or twitter account and somehow this morning I wound up at The Awl reading your column. I love it. Your hyper-honest, humorous, practical approach was entertaining and, dare I say, educational.
Here's my shit:
I am a 27-year-old male, which is probably not your target demographic, but third wave feminism says embrace the contradictions of life so fuck it, right? I graduated from college sometime in the fuzzy prehistory of my adult life and prior to moving to a new city and finding a great job I met a beautiful, charming, intelligent young woman who everyone loves, myself included. We dated as I packed up my life and saved a few grand to make the transition from my boozy college town to a city where I didn't have pill-head drinking buddies and pot dealers on speed dial. READ MORE
Yesterday was the official release date for Midnight Memories, One Direction’s third studio album. Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Yessss!! No? Am I talking to the right demographic? It doesn’t matter. I’m here to talk to you about the important stuff, which is the music.
The music: holy smokes.
Our boys are still the same boys, even if they're now boys-verging-on-men, and they even helped write almost all the tracks on the new album. Let that sink in: it’s their very own words coming from their very own souls into my very own earphones.
Let's do this: track-by-track, first-but-not-final impressions.
(And if anyone can correctly list them in order of slow-burners—1D albums are nothing but a test of the power of the slow-burn—oh, how I have economized that debut album—I will buy them a "Teenage Dirtbag" sweatshirt.)
Track 1: “Best Song Ever” (writing credits: Niall, Zayn)
This is the perfect song to begin the album, and it's smart as their first single release, too. The music video is inspired. I still cannot get over this line:
I said, “Can you give it back to me?”
She said, “Never in your wildest dreams.”
With this, 1D gives the chance for their fans to scream this “never in your wildest dreams” line back at them, when, really, they know WE WOULD ALWAYS SAY YES. My heart was going like mad and yes I said yes and I will yes.
Track 2: “Story of My Life” (writing credits: all the members)
Everyone helped to write this song, guys! Story of whose life? Find out by watching the music video.
So you might say Taylor Swift has already basically done this in “Mine,” but, as fans have noted, “Story of My Life” is not about a girl or a boy, but about FAMILY. I mean, it might still be. One could read it that way. A girl. Me. Whoever. (SIDEBAR: I also have this theory that Taylor Swift videos really understand narrative whereas 1D videos really get media and that’s why you get a bit more winking in the 1D stuff. Take, for example, the meta introduction to “Story of My Life.” They are developing photographs of themselves in a darkroom which then come to life and move through different phases of their lives. Sweet Jesus.)
A+, cried at 3:25 when Louis’s grandparents dissolve out of the photo, even though he is eating from a dish of carrots and champagne (??), would watch again. READ MORE
Today: Turkey Cakes
Previously: The DIY Goop Sweatshirt
Katie is a producer in Texas. Katy is a copywriter in California. They are best friends who met at piano lessons in the early 18th century. In “Just The Tips,” Katy and Katie heed the siren song of “best life” advice in the realms of fashion, makeup, DIY, crafts, and home decor. Their efforts are met with only varying degrees of success; their spirits remain suspiciously undefeated. Follow them on Twitter and Tumblr.