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Talking Solidarity And Starchy Side Dishes, With Albert Burneko

It's a turkey in the White House. For a change! Folks,
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

I have been dreaming about my parents, which is less poignant than it sounds. I dreamt of my father plying me with dessert, which he kept calling “big food” in the dream; in that same dream, a raccoon emerged from behind a cluttered counter in what felt like but was not quite my parents’ cluttered kitchen and my father warned me that “he [the raccoon] is very argumentative” just before the creature leapt onto my neck. The screeching raccoon in the dream was revealed, when I woke, to just be some whining construction sound from within my building insinuating itself into my sleeping brain.

Even beyond that literal intrusion, though, there is nothing much to parse, here: big food pretty much speaks for itself, and the broader threat of the moment tends to make a person worry about and wish for home, and the noise of the waking world has been troubling my sleep for a long time now. The calm of what has always been my favorite holiday—again, it mostly comes down to big food—has been replaced by the tumultuous menace and howling abandonment and shame of everything else. Thanksgiving is still about as good a holiday as we’ve got, even under this pressure and this diminution, and so Drew and I had fellow Big Food Lifestyle Influencer Albert Burneko on to talk about the holiday, and this particular iteration of it, and how we all got here.

That was not all we talked about, though, because that would’ve been a bummer. We talked about other bummers, too. Most of this had to do with the queasy fraudulence of how the NFL has and more crucially has not responded to Covid, and some of it is about how the broader culture has seemingly come to accept and even embrace defeat on that front. But also we talked about the tragic cultural significance and highly variable individual experience of smoking cigars, and how much cash money we would plunk down to safely watch a middling movie in a movie theater. Albert also revealed a rich seam of rage at Antawn Jamison, which was a dark window into the life of a Washington Wizards casualty with a memory for detail. In its way, this was probably the darkest part of the episode.

But there was also some good news. We announced the retirement of the Trump Question Of The Week and, blessedly and mercifully and after entirely too long, have canceled the damn Drew-sung mashup. Yes there’s one more of those in here to listen to; no the experience of it was not improved by Drew kind of dancing around as he sang it on the Zoom call. But in these difficult times, I have found it helpful to keep my eyes upfield. There is some quiet, and some rest, up ahead. Get as much as you can during whatever version of this holiday you can have. You’ve earned it.

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