The American tradition of the dysfunctional family fighting and crying during the holiday season has become a quintessential comedic stereotype in TV and movies, one that plays out, usually, with a happy ending when everyone learns the true reason for the season; in reality, however, it typically reaches a boiling point when your parents ask you—hypothetically, of course—who would you want to live with if they were to get divorced.
At least that’s how it played out for me when I was around 8 years old or so.
The Thanksgiving holidays have really never meant much to me, so I admit I do tend to exude a snobbish aura of Indigenous grandeur about myself on that day; I like to think that I can see through all of the commercialized colonial bullshit that most people have come to worship when, in reality, I’m probably just heavily masking the intense heartache and dark feelings that the bedeviled loneliness brings this time each year.
With such a gold-plated attitude, I’m usually never invited to people’s houses for Thanksgiving dinner but, still, they’re usually kind enough to take pity on me and drop a plate off at my house; it’s the best that I can really ask for these days, I suppose. The sound of a microwave dinging that my meal is suitably reheated has become my recent yearly tradition, one that will probably go on for years to come.
But, you know, I’m thinking there’s one more culinary tradition that I might like to add to my small-but-heartbreaking list: the Turkey Day Pizza at Sauced, 2912 Paseo, a true Thanksgiving feast that most Oklahoma Cityans, if they even knew about it, would probably realize it’s the one meal they honestly deserve this year, ordering it by the pie for either their upcoming joyful get-togethers or the agonizing dinners alone.
Featuring a full Thanksgiving menu on a single well-proportioned wedge of Sauced’s well-liked pizza, this is a holiday dinner with no dirty dishes for mom and no dirty secrets from dad; the turkey comes pre-carved and the pizza pre-sliced—all that’s missing is a paper plate and a serving of your favorite cold beverage, alcoholic or otherwise.
As I quietly stifled my greasy tears of lost loves and found hates, I paid the cheery woman behind the Sauced counter my meager $7.00 for a slice; I quietly sat at the booth, waiting for my early Thanksgiving supper to arrive, almost alone in the place on this grey and bitter day. The dirty water from a stepped-in puddle outside was still seeping into my sock, freezing most of my toes.
With a basic crust of warm bread—complete with steam rising from it—this cornucopia of deathly delights has typical Turkey Day toppings such as mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, mozzarella cheese, green beans, French fried onions, turkey gravy and, of course, the white-meat of a large gobbler. (There’s also a small side of cranberry sauce that I used for dipping my crust in.)
The pizza sliding down my throat with ease, it’s everything that the holiday is supposed to be about, with none of the family dysfunctions to bring you deeper down into your (undiagnosed) seasonal affective disorders. And, even better, this celebratory ‘za works just as well the next day, especially if you’re in desperate need of cold leftovers and their microwaved caresses of forbidden (and forsaken) November flavors.
As I replay it in my head now, I think if my parents ever had gotten a divorce instead of just manipulatively threatening each other with one, I probably would’ve gone to live with you, Turkey Day Pizza.