The Howler Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving

Why ask Martha Stewart for advice when you could just as easily turn to a soccer magazine?

By David Rudin | Image via Library of Congress

[T]hanksgiving is coming and the thinkpiece-industrial-complex is preparing the world for the horrors of an afternoon spent with family. But what if you live in a modern family that discusses America’s number one* sport? Fret not, dear reader, we’ve rounded up the most common Turkey Day points of conflict and definitively settled all of these debates for you.

What do I do if my uncle brings up pro/rel?
Now that retired footballer and aspiring Twitter troublemaker Landon Donovan has broached the topic, the genie cannot be reinserted into the bottle. But why should it be? If debate is a sign of a healthy society, the pro/rel furor speaks well for American soccer’s future. Sure, your celebration is likely to descend into mutual recriminations, accusations of puppetry, and references to a certain Twitter account, but democracy, like Thanksgiving, is messy. So, if your uncle brings up pro/rel, know that the hour of pain that will ensue is good for soccer in the long run.

What kind of turkey should I roast?
Iker Casillas

How do I defuse a conversation about Jurgen Klinsmann’s managerial record?
“If our best players were plying their trade in top leagues overseas, there’d be no Thanksgiving to distract them from the task of becoming world class,” is not something I encourage you to say. Instead, point out that complaining about managerial records is a tradition as old as gorging yourself on overcooked Turkey. Historians have suggested that the pilgrims spent most of the first Thanksgiving by trying to get their Wampanoag tablemates to explain the mysteries of CONCACAF refereeing. You could also try switching the conversation to an unrelated subject, like the performance of the USMNT’s athletic director.

How do I prepare my house for Thanksgiving?
With a Hoover. #Sponsored!

Should I call Chattanooga a hellhole with 4,000 fans and a terrible pitch?
It’s okay. Don Garber has issued a clarification. We don’t need to do this. But just to be safe, here are some fun facts gleaned from the possibly reliable website of Chattanooga’s International Towing Museum:

  • The Walnut Street Bridge is the world’s longest pedestrian bridge, which should not be taken as an underhanded way of saying that good things are few and far between in Chattanooga.
  • “The Lookout Mountain Flight Park and Training School graduates more pilots annually than any other school in the world,” the museum’s website informs us, which means you can thank Chattanooga for bringing your family together on this day. You are thankful for that, aren’t you? (Actually, don’t answer.)

In conclusion, no, you should not call Chattanooga a hellhole with 4,000 fans and a terrible pitch. That honor, as Chattanoogans will gladly tell you, goes to Port Angeles, the city they bested in Outside Magazine’s “Best Towns” bracket.

Do I cook the stuffing inside the turkey or separately?
Stuffing goes on the inside. Just ask Ronaldo.

What do I do if my in-laws show up dressed as full-kit wankers?
Hand them a copy of Howler, take a picture, and send it to us.

I’m a madridista. What do I do if my in-laws support Barcelona?
Most marriages end in divorce so it was likely to come to this one way or another.

Which Turkey should receive a presidential pardon?
Chris Wondolowski

To spatchcock or not to spatchcock?
Actually, we hear Francis Coquelin is injured, but if you can patch Le Coq back together, Arsene Wenger would be very appreciative

What person from the world of soccer is most likely to be responding to the Butterball hotline this weekend?
David Moyes.

By the way, the hotline is glorious and many clubs would do well to call it for tactical advice. Here’s looking at you, Newcastle and Sunderland.

Should I brine my turkey?
No. Soccer fans are salty enough.

Should I wear Eau de Zlatan to Thanksgiving dinner?
Taste is what happens in your mouth. Flavor, on the other hand, is how all senses combine to shape your experience of food. Put otherwise: smell matters. So, the real question here is “do I want my cranberry sauce to have a slight hint of sweaty Swedish greatness in its flavor?” (Lest Zlatan retire you like he retired the nation of Denmark, you should probably answer that question in the affirmative.)

I’m going to a friend’s house for thanksgiving. What should I bring as a gift?
Gee, we thought you’d never ask!

David is one of Howler’s web editors and a staff writer at Kill Screen. Crucially, he’s Canadian, which means he’s free to keep you company on Twitter whilst you hide from your family during Thanksgiving. You can reach him at @DavidSRudin.