Thanksgiving Turkey Protection Plan: Just order takeout
If your social isolation cooking skills are this bad since March, just give up
Whole Foods Market is trying to rescue first-time Thanksgiving cooks from a 2020-level holiday. The grocery store chain has released its first-ever “insurance” partnership with Progressive by offering a $35 gift card for your “turkey cooking fail,” according to a recent press release.
“We want to help customers rise to the occasion and take on that turkey with confidence for less-stressed Thanksgiving meal preparation,” said Theo Weening, WFM’s Vice President of Meat and Poultry, in the press release.
While Weening is talking to first-time cooks with kid gloves, I’m not. Since March (December 2019, if you want to get technical), we’ve been in social isolation. Americans have hoarded toilet tissue, paper towels, antibacterial ointment, liquor, soap for dishes and bodies, and even started investing in bidets when the toilet paper shortage arrived, but somehow you all were too busy at home to learn to cook? All of this time you were making (disgusting) sourdough bread and no one thought about winter holiday season?
Now I’m not knocking the idea of a Plan B. With this Thanksgiving Turkey Protection Plan, shoppers must purchase and obtain a Whole Foods Market brand turkey between Nov. 11–22. (You have two days left!) If your Thanksgiving turkey ends up overcooked, undercooked, burnt, dry (well, dryer than turkey usually is) or doesn’t taste even slightly like your favorite family members does, you can submit a claim to be eligible for a $35 Whole Foods Market gift card. What’s appalling to me is this deal is limited to the first 1,000 claims, who’d have to take a photo of their turkey fail and submit it between November 26–27. That means 1,000 of you all just watched Netflix and bought a dog to pass coronavirus time, but nobody bothered to practice making a few meals?
This means you missed out on every single opportunity to get off those 40-minute max Zoom calls and 45-minute Uber Conference calls. You had the most rational reason to ditch your chatty co-worker who is bored out of her mind and cannot handle her own company. All you had to do was say, “Hey, I’m prepping for Thanksgiving early. Yes, I know it’s July, but you can never start too early.”
This year, you don’t even have to deal with the pressure of that one family member or friend who acts like Peppermint Patty in “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” — she’s the ungrateful critic who never brings a dish but always has something to say about everybody’s cooking. She could’ve easily stayed home, but she’d rather turn her nose up at your meal and then pull Tupperware dishes out of her purse for leftovers (that she claims she hates). This is the one time you’d get to critique her food through a computer screen. Tell her why every single thing she made looks repulsive while yours looks like it fell off of a restaurant magazine cover. This was your moment to try something new without her weighing in with an involuntary taste test.
And you never even practiced? Listen, you can Allen Iverson your way out of saying you couldn’t practice cooking a few times in the spring. But at some point, you were supposed to put on that apron (that you bought years ago and have never used in your life), yell “Game time!” and get to work. (Say what you want about AI, but missing practice didn’t stop him from earning the All-Star game MVP award in 2001 and 2005 and playing in 11 All-Star games.) In any other year but 2020, this insurance protection plan would be both comforting and practical. But 2020 is a work-from-home, catch-up-on-Netflix-shows, re-learn-elementary-school-history-and-math kinda year. You had time!
If I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 16 years and can fairly confidently pull off baking a turkey (or at least a couple cornish hens), you should be able to, too. But if it’s too late for you to take off your pajamas, put on “the public can see me” clothes, race to your favorite grocery store, jog in place while shouting your own kitchen pep talk, then test out a few Thanksgiving dishes beforehand, I guess this protection plan will work.
Whatever you decide— even if you get the gift card for your terrible cooking — if you post your made-to-order meal on Instagram, expect the unhappy family food critic to see it first. She’ll jump at the chance to talk about how much better her napkins or wine glasses look than yours. Just go ahead and block her. Blame Shamontiel from Medium for talking you into it. I’m OK with being the 2020 bad influence.
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