November 21, 2012

Christmas comes with all sorts of cultural prescriptions. Watch It’s A Wonderful Life. Drink egg nog. Read something adorable that’s features bountiful rolls of bouncing Santafat. From the start of the advent, your free time will be accounted for. But nog aside, Christmas demands much less in the way of menu planning. It’s Christmas—eat a turkey, maybe? A goose? Each year, my mom makes a big salty country ham. It’s goddamned beautiful.

Compare that to Thanksgiving, which has an endless list of culinary commands, but not much culturally to suggest. Watch football, maybe? Play Monopoly with your weird cousin? Sit?

It’s that laxness that makes what passes for Thanksgiving culture much more interesting, the same way that a Christmas menu is almost certainly going to be more palatable than its gravy-doused cousin. The fact is that there are Thanksgiving movies—they just might not have anything to do with Thanksgiving.

Because James Bond movies are typically released around this time of year, I associate the November holiday with a protracted gorging on the finer works of Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton and—yes god damn it, George Lazenby. (Seriously—best Bond theme, best Bond chase scene—On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.) Bond movies are a near-perfect analogue for Thanksgiving. Even the best of them are overrated, overblown and incoherent. Those of us who have already finished our cooking for the week could probably, if we were bored enough, track which Bond is which component of a classic Thanksgiving spread. Let’s go there now!

Connery — Turkey. Duh. What do Sean Connery and turkey have in common? I want to cover them both in gravy, and tomorrow I’d like to fashion them into an extremely decadent sandwich.

Lazenby—Cranberry sauce. Tart, easily forgotten, and prone to controversy, but often the best part of the meal. Truly, it is a compelling sauce.

Moore — Green bean casserole. A terrible dish, artificial and deeply old fashioned, their appeal is strictly as kitsch. That said, they do their best to please the crowd.

Dalton—Sweet potatoes. The thinking man’s potato, sweets have no business being as good for you as they are. Just like sweet potatoes, Timothy Dalton is best when covered in marshmallows. Just ask him.

Brosnan—Pumpkin pie. Attractive and always appealing, pie is what you visualize when you think of the holiday. But halfway through the first piece, you remember why you never make pumpkin pie in June. It’s kinda sweet, but that’s about it.

Craig—Black coffee. After several hours of gorging, it takes a cup of strong coffee to bring you back to some semblance of reality. Though people call it gritty, it’s really just good sense. Best with half a cigarette, smoked halfway before being stubbed out in the pumpkin pie’s face.

The most important thing about Thanksgiving, of course, is family. And the most important thing about family is knowing how to ignore them. There’s over fifty hours of Bond on film, and I can’t imagine a better way to shut your loved ones up than a little bit of green bean casserole and Duran Duran.

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