When a normal person is asked to bring a simple casserole to a “Friendsgiving” gathering they probably do something like:
- Find a recipe
- Make a list
- Buy ingredients
- Make the casserole
- Get dressed
- Take the casserole to the gathering
- Stop thinking about the casserole
When a bad cook with anxiety, ADHD, or some other yet-to-be-named brain malfunction makes a casserole, it goes more like this:
3 weeks before Friendsgiving: Sure, I’ll bring the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows! That sounds easy. Do I use that canned stuff or do you want real sweet potatoes? Cool, canned it is.
1 day before Friendsgiving: I am out of frozen waffles and wine so I better run to the grocery store. Oh shit! I forgot that I have to make a sweet potato casserole for 12 people tomorrow. I’m so glad that we ran out of wine and waffles. Where are those big orange cans of sweet potatoes? Why isn’t there an endcap of Thanksgivingy stuff? Isn’t there usually an endcap? They’re not with the canned vegetables. Okay, here they are with the soups. WHY? Wait. Candied yams or just sweet potatoes? This is a choice I did not know existed. *deep breath* We can do this. *reads back of yam can* A marshmallow casserole recipe on the back! So, yams it is. Why are Bruce’s yams the only option? I’ve never heard of Bruce. Why doesn’t Del Monte make (grow?) sweet potatoes? Is this all Bruce does?
Morning of Friendsgiving: *gets hair cut and highlighted* Yay! I have shiny, sane person hair for the first time in weeks. It’s almost like I have my shit together! In fact, I’m so confident, I am going to make a REAL sweet potato casserole! Fuck Bruce and his trashy canned yams. I’m gonna sit in the Publix parking lot and google a recipe for a REAL sweet potato casserole then go into this grocery store just like a Person Who Has Her Shit Together. Yay for my clean hair bravery.
The recipe calls for 2 pounds of sweet potatoes and LOOK AT ME, Y’ALL – I remembered I had to double that shit. Boom! So, 4 pounds of sweet potatoes, let’s do this…I’m filling a bag and weighing potatoes and…shit…4 pounds isn’t very many sweet potatoes so I better add a few more to be safe. *teeny tiny drop in confidence level*
An old guy smiles at my hair so I keep going. Boring, boring aisles and then the vanilla extract. Don’t I have vanilla extract? I think I buy a lot of vanilla extract but I never, ever use vanilla extract. Or do I think about buying it but then put it back because I think I’ve already bought it? Better get some just in case. (Organic? Nah. Without corn syrup? Extract has corn syrup? Why?) *grabs Publix brand, keeps walking, turns back, and switches to non-corn syrup extract which probably isn’t even a thing but what if my casserole sucks because I bought the wrong fucking vanilla extract? *pays and takes the bouncin’ and behavin’ hair home* I feel smug when I walk past Bruce’s yams. I am morally superior with my fancy extract and real sweet potatoes.
At Home: Potato shopping is exhausting and I need coffee but I have to make a casserole. I’m starting to forget why I was a snob about Bruce. The recipe says that roasting the potatoes is easier and faster than peeling and boiling which is all that matters when it comes to cooking. I clean the dumb, dirty potatoes and then prick holes in them so they don’t explode or something. This makes me worry so I psycho stab them just to be safe. Then, I set the timer which startles me when it rings 30 minutes later. I’ve already forgotten I was roasting potatoes because I’ve started reading a book that’s way more interesting than casseroles. I poke the yams(?) and they’re still hard. WTF?
Time to get all the other shit and double it. Do I need a cup of brown sugar for the potatoes and for the streusel or do I divide the sugar between the 2 and then double it? Why is there so much math and what if I read the scale at the grocery store wrong and I don’t have the right amount of potatoes? I really want to get back to my book. I wonder if I could get it on Audible? Why did I pick a recipe with a streusel? Wtf is streusel? What, am I a chef now?
Hold up. I NEED 2 FUCKING STICKS OF BUTTER? This does not seem right. *opens oven to poke at still hard sweet potatoes* I hate everything. Why are the measuring cups in 3 different drawers?? Where did I put the vanilla? Oh look, the old vanilla (which expired 8 YEARS AGO), is stuck to the bottom of the cabinet. Why do I have almond extract and why aren’t these motherfucking potatoes soft yet?
Me to self: You’re such a loser and your hair looks like shit now.
1 hour before gathering: Y’all, marriage is the butt of a lot of jokes but I mean it when I say that you will fall in love over and over again if you marry someone who knows how to deal with your shit year after year.
When my husband enters the kitchen, he quietly starts cleaning the one gazillion measuring cups and bowls I’ve dragged out and doesn’t even laugh at my frizzy hair or my face which looks like I’m wearing a red bandit mask because I’ve been staring at hot yams. He reassures me that everyone loves 20 pounds of butter and 90 cups of brown sugar in their Friendsgiving food. In fact, people would be pissed if they didn’t have a heart attack after dinner and yes, of course, streusel is totally supposed to look like raccoon scat. Why don’t you let me clean up while you go get dressed? I’ll deal with the marshmallows! I like marshmallows! Your hair is so pretty.
30 minutes after the gathering starts: *stomping down the stairs* Goddammit, we’re so late.
Husband: *whispers* You’re wearing a turtleneck. I think maybe you’ll be sorry if you wear a turtleneck.
Me: I AM FINE. IT IS A NEW TURTLENECK.
Me 10 seconds later: *clawing at throat* OH MY FUCKING GOD THIS TURTLENECK IS TRYING TO KILL ME.
*stomping back upstairs, destroying closet looking for anything without a neck* I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die. Get this thing off of my neck because it is trying to choke me and make me vomit.
Husband: *softly* What are you looking for?
Me: *panting* A gift bag. Why don’t I have gift bags? Mothers are supposed to have gift bags. I suck at everything!
Husband: *trying not to laugh* Why do you suddenly need a gift bag?
Me: This fucking turtleneck is trying to kill me so I am going to give it away RIGHT NOW.
Husband: That makes sense. Look, everything is ready, even your beautiful, buttery casserole with the totally not raccoon shit streusel. Let’s go outside and breathe.
*holding hands and breathing cool air*
Me: I don’t like cooking casseroles.
Husband: I know.
Me: I hate turtlenecks.
Husband: *smiling* I know. I love you.
Me: *smiling but still red and gaggy* I love you too. We can go now.
We go to the party and everyone eats the brown sugar casserole and no one makes fun of me because people who love you don’t care if you’re bad at cooking. My girlfriend likes her new turtleneck and I have a great husband and for all that, I am very thankful. Oh, and I’m sorry to Bruce – you’re my yam man forever. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
Love, Amy, my anxiety, and my hair that looks okay every 6 weeks.