“Dear Selena, I have invited my boyfriend’s parents over for Christmas dinner, but I’ve never really prepared a big fancy dinner before. Can television help me show them a night they’ll never forget?
Signed, Culinary Neophyte”
Television can totally help. Before we get into all that, however, my kitchen-phobic ass recommends stimulating the economy by ordering out and dumping it all in your own serving dishes. Poof some flour on your face and smear a little turkey grease on your apron/hands/pants and no one will ever know you can’t cook exactly the same kind of food one would get at Cracker Barrel.
If you’re more honest/ethical/ambitious than your good buddy Selena, cooking a big meal gives you a license to stay in the kitchen all day and avoid political fights or comments from your b-friend’s mom about whether or not you have child-bearing hips.
But this is neither here nor there, we’re looking for answers in television. I’ve broken TV’s solutions into two categories, the first section is for a meal that turns out perfectly, the second is for if it doesn’t.
Plan A: A perfect family holiday meal.
On TV, it takes roughly three minutes to pull together a fancy holiday meal. We get a few establishing shots of a TV Lady (I’m sure there are scenes with men cooking a holiday meal… Oh, wait.) stirring something on the stove or peeking in her oven, if we’re lucky we’ll get a shot of TV lady carrying in a single grocery bag with a large baguette and carrots with the tops on, which she will magically turn into a full turkey dinner for ten people. In three minutes. The examples of such a feat are too numerous to mention, but off the top of my head, it’s appeared in Friends, The Cosby Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, Roseanne and every single show by the people who brought us thirtysomething.
Solution: Learn to cook a complete turkey dinner with only carrots and a baguette, in less than three minutes. I’d start practicing now.
Plan B: You burned the fucking bird and the potatoes are like wallpaper paste.
TV teaches that there’s only one solution to a bad meal, and that solution is a food fight. Instead of taking your less-than-ideal dishes to the table on your very best serving-ware, lob a ladle full of chow right at your b-friends parents while yelling “DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY” at the top of your lungs. Wave a burnt drumstick around like your life depends on it for extra holiday cheer. They’ll totally think you’re a free spirit and fall in love with you on the spot.*
Hope this helps!