This year I spent Thanksgiving with 30 of my nearest and dearest in sunny San Diego. A tradition of my parent’s college friends that I, along side all their kids, grew up into. Last week was the 35th Anniversary (36 depending on who you’re asking) Thanksgiving Celebration. It is a weekend that lasts an entire week and is full of memories, traditions, people I don’t get to see as much as I’d like and lots and lots and LOTS of food. We are not messing around. I mean, a couple of years ago some of the guys had a contest to see who gained the most weight at Thanksgiving dinner. A weigh-in before and after. Not. Messing. Around.
“What is the hardest part of Thanksgiving?” Lynn asks at the front of my Weight Watchers meeting. “What is the thing that gives you the most trouble and causes you to fall off program? The pie? The mashed potatoes? The stuffing?”
For years I’ve answered, “The Thanksgiving Burrito.”
The Thanksgiving Burrito is a metaphor for all the food that comes with a holiday weekend that does not directly involve the holiday meal itself. I’m not talking left-overs. We all know leftovers are coming. I’m talking, I’m too tired to cook a meal for everyone because I just did it yesterday so lets go have Chinese. That’s the Thanksgiving Burrito. Metaphorically.
But for me and my Thanksgiving family, the Thanksgiving Burrito is a real thing.
El Indio. Maker of the Thanksgiving Burrito (not a real menu item, don’t try to order it), serving flip-flop clad San Diegans for over 60 years, just so happens to be down the hill from the house where we all hang out. The classic order is the chicken and cheese, though this year the carnitas gave the chicken and cheese a run for it’s money. These burritos are practically holy. We even had them at the rehearsal dinner for our wedding. For reals.
So as if Thanksgiving dinner itself wasn’t enough to make me sweat in my WW boots—the apricot stuffing, the gravy, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the leftover turkey sandwiches, the 15 desserts laid out on the table all week just waiting to be picked at—as if that wasn’t enough to navigate, I have the Thanksgiving Burrito.
But the beautiful thing about the Thanksgiving Burrito is that it happens every year. So I can both count on it and plan for it. I know it will be there—the familiar bag full of 50 burritos all color coded and dutifully sorted, the tubs of guacamole, the bag full of giant homemade tortilla chips covered in paprika. They’ll all be piled on a table and we’ll all go at them like a pride of lions on a zebra. And I’ll sit like I did this year, nibbling on the fish taco I ordered because I knew we’d probably order more burritos on Friday, catching up with my oldest friends in the world, reminiscing about the time Shelly Clark ate 5 burritos in one sitting. Or was it 13 burritos in one weekend? We may never know.
Now if only I could’ve stayed away from my mom’s leftover pancakes on Saturday morning. Damn you pancaaaaaakes!!!! I’ll get it next year!
Happy Belated Thanksgiving!