Black Friday Frenzy

Tramplings and fist fights and screaming galore
That's the hellish Black Friday we've come to adore.

You don't have to keep track of the mayhem amount -
Just head on over to Black Friday Death Count.

The Year of the Pop-Up Timer

My dad was not known as a cook. He must have made dinner for himself after my parents divorced, but that’s hard to believe based on the Thanksgivings he put together. He insisted on hosting, and he did his best, but let's just say we didn't go to his place for the food.

Finally, one year he agreed to let me cook. I'd been bragging about my culinary prowess, and he gave in and accepted my claim that I could whip up something more gourmet than what we'd been used to. Now I realize that my baking experience didn't translate into any real dinner-making ability, but at the time I thought I could do it all. How hard could it be?

I'd never made a turkey, so to be safe, I bought one of those with the pop-up timers. All I had to do was check occasionally and when it popped up, we would eat. I put the turkey in the oven while we played Scrabble. After an hour or so I looked into the oven. Nope, not ready. More looking, more not ready, more Scrabble.

After what seemed like twice the length of time it should have taken, I pulled the pan out and examined what was turning into withered jerky. No timer was popped up. It must be defective. What a rip-off! Those Butterball people would be hearing from me!

But wait. When I took the mummified bird out of the pan and flipped it onto a platter, it turned out that I’d had it in there upside down. That poor little timer never stood a chance: it had been pressed into the pan and couldn’t pop up. Who knows how long ago it started to try.

That year, we dined on rolls, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and plenty of pie to the soundtrack of bitching. "Why didn't you put marshmallows in the sweet potatoes?" "I really wanted some turkey." And you’d better believe that, like "The Fruitcake Story," that tale gets re-told more often than it should.

Originally published November 24, 2011

How to Avoid Turkey Disasters

Thanksgiving brings the potential for turkey disasters, not just dry breast meat but call-the-fire-department disasters.

Hellish Holidays Hot Sauce!

From the fiery depths of Thanksgiving comes Hellish Holidays Hot Sauce from Howling Mad. Excellent with turkey.

Buy this seasonal sauce now - supplies are limited!

We Gather Together - With Atheists

One week until Thanksgiving and I thought I would share this. It's from a new musical I'm working on. 

Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday, but all the songs are essentially hymns. This one's for the atheists. And because I live in Los Angeles, it's about that too.

We All Arrived Here
(sung to the tune of "We Gather Together")

We all arrived here without any Hosannas
With our basted, test-tasted Thanksgiving fare
The wicked winds blowing, they’re called the Santa Anas
But we are all safe, and with nary a prayer.

Beside us to guide us, was Waze at our service
Through bad LA traffic it found the right way
The SIG alert gridlock, it sure made us nervous
Thanks to Waze, though we’re here drinking good chardonnay

Now all praise the potluck – it’s made without dairy
The gluten-free stuffing is sure to be grand.
A village it takes, not friends imaginary
We all deserve credit, cause nothing was canned.


© 2019 by Laura Foti Cohen

Is Your Family Dysfunctional? A Holiday Quiz

Do you dread holidays? Have to gird yourself to face the relatives? Most likely your anxiety relates to sharing a room with a dysfunctional family. To see where yours falls along the spectrum, take this insightful quiz.


Which of the following describes members of your family? Note: One person can qualify in multiple categories. Step-relatives count! And don’t forget to include yourself!

1. Racists
2. Ageists
3. Prejudiced against a certain religion, ethnicity or sexual identity (extra point for each)
4. Weapon-loving “loners”
5. Woman haters or abusers
6. Man haters or abusers
7. Dog-haters
8. Extreme Dog- and/or Cat-lovers (caring for more than five animals)
9. Suspected pedophiles
10. Registered sex offenders
11. Drug addicts
12. Alcoholics
13. Gambling addicts
14. Sex addicts
15. Food addicts or those whose food issues mar the Thanksgiving experience