Okay. I am going to go ahead and say that though family mostly annoys and perplexes me, I really really enjoy hanging out at family events. Between being able to look my aunt in the eye and say “wow, you are a drunk” or tell my cousin “I don’t want to feed your kid, he is all sticky”, I know that there is a kind of….judgey freedom…that happens when around family.
Knowing that I will only be on this coast for a few more months, I thought, what the hell, it would be awesome to celebrate a good old Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving with my relatives. Side Note- Canadian Thanksgiving is pretty much the exact same thing as US Thanksgiving- turkey, trimmings, the giving of thanks, pumpkin pie, firewater, small pox blankets etc.
My cousin thought it would be fun to get some of the family down, (a total of 7 adults and 2 kids) so we could eat turkey until we we were physically incapable of swallowing because ones esophagus is full of food. Family being what it is, excuses started to be made as to why one could or could not attend this event. My grandmother could not go because she could not find someone to watch her dog (dog trumps great grandkids, apparently). My grandfather could not go because my grandmother did not give permission. My Uncle decided he would rather watch the Canuks opening season game and my cousin was out too late the night before getting trashed. I mean, sure I was tired having just come back from Denver and I would have to drive 3 hours each way, but I understand…leaving your dog for 4 hours is just unnacceptable.
Since the number of attendees had dwindled to a meager three adults, it was decided that cooking a turkey was unnecessary. Instead, a large cauldron of seafood chowder was to be stewed with a side order of crab stuffed mushroom caps.
It is here that I should point out to the casual reader that I do not eat seafood or mushrooms. The smell of the ocean makes me gag a little and the chewy, rubber texture of mushrooms is pretty much the worst. I moved from Vancouver, oh, a good 16 years ago, so there is really no reason that my family should in any way know that I have a visceral aversion to these foods. I knew about a week in advance that the menu had changed but since I was a guest and trying to be polite and nice and all loving family, I did not say anything. I thought…meh, I will just wing it and maybe there is something I can eat.
Well, I choked it down. Now, the food was, for seafood, probably awesome. I am sure that anyone who likes chowder filled with bits of squid and clams that look like mini-inverted-vaginas would have gobbled this soup down hungrily. Me, I tried hard not to look at it, chewed the parts that I could and then quickly swallowed water to clean my poor, overworked taste buds. Like a champ, I popped whole mushroom caps into my mouth, secretly thanked that old boyfriend who taught me to open my throat, and just swallowed them whole. I had done my part, I was polite, I ate.
After dinner, I drove my aunt home and then headed back to the United States. While waiting in line at customs, I felt a weight growing in my stomach. I did not feel ill, but I could not help thinking that I was also not not ill. I mean, for someone who never eats seafood, I just jammed a whole lot of types of seafood inside me. I kept distinctly remembering the beg from the freezer labeled “Seafood Mix” that got tossed into the pot…and I thought, more like “Seafood Mystery Bits”. I remember looking into my bowl and seeing a row of purple tentacles staring back at me, floating helplessly in a sea of cream.
And then i lost it. My mouth did that “tons of saliva swallowing” thing, and I found the nearest gas station and ralphed. Have you ever been to a gas station bathroom? And then have you ever had to put your face close to the toilet in a gas station bathroom? Yeah.