Suggestions for a Geek Thanksgiving

Hacking the Holidays

This Thursday is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, and, though few holidays are so universally loaded with family traditions as this one, I don’t see any reason why a few geeky touches can’t also be applied. I realize that this post comes over a month too late for those Canadians in our readership, and for that I apologize; perhaps next year you can employ any suggestions you like.

First and foremost among the ways to make your Thanksgiving geekier is to focus on the food. Virtually everyone cooks a turkey, of course, but why not try a geeky turkey recipe? If you’ve never heard of Black Turkey, it’s a recipe that’s been making the rounds on the Usenet food groups since at least 1992 (that’s the earliest reference I could find in Google Groups, anyway). It’s not only likely to make the list of top five most bizarre recipes you’ve read, but it also produces extraordinary results. Black Turkey also requires that you pay meticulous attention to the bird, applying paste to it and basting it often—a process that most geeks are likely to enjoy. That’s about as geeky as I recommend making the turkey. I had toyed with the idea of suggesting dressing the turkey up with fake clothing such that it would look as though it was wearing an old Star Trek redshirt outfit, but decided that would be too much. If you’re looking for other geeky ways to cook a turkey, published an article a few years ago that might help you out.

There are other ways to geek up the food, though. Lots of people love having crescent rolls at their Thanksgiving table, whether made from scratch of from a Pillsbury tube. There’s no law that says the rolls have to be shaped like crescents, is there?
So why not instead twist them a bit into the shape of the Starfleet/Enterprise logo from Star Trek? I haven’t tried it myself yet, but if I can grab a few unbaked rolls during preparations for my family’s Thanksgiving, I definitely will try it (and will take pictures if I do).

And then there are the side dishes. What better way to geek up your
Thanksgiving than by adding a side dish made with Spam? Now, I know a lot of people don’t care for Spam, and it’s not the most healthful thing you could eat, but it is versatile–you could even combine it with the crescent roll idea above. And then, of course, when the dish is brought to the table, you can lead your family in a chorus of "Spam Spam Spam Spammity Spam, wonderful
Spam!" You can’t get much geekier than that.

As for beverages, there are many recipes out there for Romulan Ale, some of which sound unfit for human consumption (especially at a family gathering). This version sounds palatable, and sufficiently blue in color to please the purists, but still definitely not kid-appropriate.

Now, apart from the food, the other thing many people do for
Thanksgiving is, logically enough, compose a list of things they’re thankful for. If your family members are the sort of people who will appreciate a few less-than-completely-serious thoughts mixed into this part of the evening, here are a few suggestions for things a geek might be thankful for this year:

  • The upcoming Star Trek reboot movie looks like it may not be a complete betrayal of the existing stories.
  • The incoming President of the United States (whatever you may think of his politics) is a geek.
  • Dollhouse, Joss Whedon’s new show, is set to premiere in February, and there are signs that FOX might not screw this one up as completely as they did Firefly.
  • Speaking of Joss Whedon, the DVD of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is supposed to be shipping before Christmas.
  • ETA (Thanks, Church!): Speaking of things with Felicia Day in them, Season 2 of The Guild starts tomorrow (and therefore will have already started by the time Thursday rolls around…obviously).

Finally, on a serious note, any geek who is still gainfully employed doing geeky things he/she enjoys should be thankful for that fact, as anyone who has been paying attention to the U.S. and world economies knows. We can take some pleasure in buying cool electronic stuff from the stores that will be having huge sales this holiday season, but that pleasure should be tempered by the knowledge that a lot of those stores won’t be around for the end of January.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy your Thanksgiving, because you should. Be thankful you have what you have, celebrate with your family or your friends or both, and have a great time!

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