This Thanksgiving, many good people throughout the South will fall victim to the greatest trick The Devil ever pulled. They (maybe you) will put on their plates — in addition to so many wonderful vegetables, proteins, carbs, gravies and sweets — terrible, horrible slices of canned cranberry sauce. And when they do whatever it is people with mouthfuls of canned cranberry sauce do (Chew? Smush? Swish?), they will know — regardless of whatever religious beliefs they do or don't have, that they have sinned.
Don't let it be you. Cranberry sauce is The Devil. And just as The Devil does when he takes other forms, canned cranberry sauce has one goal: to make you think you're winning but to ultimately damn your soul. Canned cranberry sauce is a congealed, can-shaped red blob of floppy and gross goo. Canned cranberry sauce looks like a gummy bear made of beef liver. Canned cranberry sauce is ribbed.
You know how you can tell it's evil? Look how tight it pushes up against the can—so much, in fact, that it takes literally the exact form of the can's interior in a futile attempt to escape eternal can-damnation. Nothing should look like that. It's canned Hades. Also, the shape never changes. If you keep that stuff around after Thanksgiving it'll look exactly the same forever, like McDonald's fries. It's so gross. I just saw some in my mind and did one of those Jim Carrey dry-heaves. Also, it's red. Like devil-red. It's not a coincidence. Imagine if it also had horns, a pitchfork, a long tail with an arrowhead tip, a slick goatee and a widow's peak. Maybe then you'd listen. Before you go trying to correct me, I know full-well that the gelatinous yuck of canned cranberry sauce is caused by pectin, which occurs naturally in fruit. And I know that pectin is in many things I eat — some of which I probably ate this morning, including strawberry jam or grape jelly on my chicken biscuit. But that's different, because when I take my butter knife, scrape the top layer of the jelly/jam and spread it on my biscuit, I'm not starting from a mass of jiggle-matter that is somehow defying laws of gravity and temperature by standing in place without something to hold it. Those jellies and jams are in containers, like Mother Earth intended. Real sauce doesn't behave like that; at least not sauce that comes from a decent Southern home.
And this isn't some attempt to shame canned cranberry sauce for having too much sugar or whatever. NEWSFLASH: IT'S THANKSGIVING. Nothing is healthy! Everything has too much sugar today — even the salt! To be honest, canned cranberry sauce is relatively healthy, aside from the fact that an average-sized slice of a popular store-bought brand contains all the sugar an adult should have in a whole day (and wouldn't you rather have pie for that price?).
But this isn't about your cholesterol level, or blood pressure, or whatever the doctor warned you to watch when she insisted you "enjoy Thanksgiving responsibly" as if Thanksgiving came with a bottle of Jim Beam or something. Well, maybe it does... Anyway, this is bigger than your health! This is about the future of the South, and standing up for the right to call a can of translucent red cranberry jelly a can translucent red cranberry jelly, and not "sauce." Sauce is liquid. Sauce makes everything better. Sauce is boss. Gravy is sauce! Put some gravy on your plate and a cornbread stuffing angel gets its wings. Put a slice of canned cranberry sauce, looking like a round 1970s waterbed filled with tomato aspic, and you ruin all the lovely architecture of your oversized Southern Thanksgiving meal. It all comes down to the simple truth. Canned cranberry sauce is not sauce; it's jelly. And putting jelly on a plate of cornbread stuffing, mac and cheese, collard greens, green beans, turkey, ham, yams, corn, etc., is an abomination.
This is about enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. This is about remembering that cranberries are wonderful, and that there are ways to enjoy them that don't require you bending your mind into a formless shape and questioning the laws of nature and physics. This is about truth, and the truth is that canned cranberry sauce is The Devil. And The Devil is a lie. Do the right thing and keep The Devil out of your house and way down in the hole, meaning the can, this Thanksgiving. With the lid on.
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