Tips to starting a Thanksgiving food fight

A guide to surviving the trials and tribulations of Thanksgiving dinner


Thanksgiving dinner is perfect to fam the flames of family drama.

Emily Bebenek, Staff Writer

You’ve been there. You walk through the door and are immediately squeezed into 15 different hugs from people you barely know. But what can you do? They’re family, and you’re about to spend the entire day — and if you’re really unlucky, the whole weekend — with them and their many, many quirks.

I personally love (most of) my family, but I’ve heard stories about the dinner tables from Hell.

You want to leave and start prepping for Christmas, but you’re practically tied to the table. In that situation, there’s only one way out: a Thanksgiving food fight.

“Emily,” you might say, “Isn’t that a rather childish and impulsive thing to do?” Yes, it is. But it allows you to end Thanksgiving quickly, so it’s worthwhile in my book. But, how to get your relatives mad enough to hurl their dinner plates at you? It’s a daunting task, but as someone who’s lived most of her life fighting spiteful urges, I think we, together, can do it.

Tip No. 1: bring up topics that you know certain people won’t shut up about. Great-Aunt Sue believes the “lizard people” live among us? Ask her what she thinks about Mark Zuckerburg.

Grandpa Joe thinks women are getting a little too bold in the workplace? Casually mention that your friend Annie decided to report her boss to HR for a lewd comment, then remark on how more and more sexual harassment cases are coming to light and watch him try to defend the way “things used to be.”

Tip No. 2: bring up conflicts that your family has collectively agreed to never acknowledge. Your cousin decided to drop out of college to start her own indie band and now she’s living with her parents at age 34? Your aunt supports Trump and Justice Kavanaugh and firmly believes that most sexual assault accusations are made up by women? Or (and this one was inspired by personal experience) your great-aunt insisted on bringing her own stuffing to your house because, apparently, the one your dad made last year was too dry and she knows her kids prefer hers? Watch things escalate from polite and stiff arguing to full-scale debate as the rest of the family sits in silence (plus, you get to hear your side of the family rant about it later).

Tip No. 3: joke around about everyone, and when it gets to the elderly ladies in your family (great-aunts and grandmothers), they’ll get so offended that they’ll make the rest of the night miserable for everyone else. For (a mild) example, a few Thanksgivings ago, my great-aunt spent a great while explaining how her soft winter coat was “shaved beaver” and was irritated and very confused when the rest of our family wouldn’t stop laughing at her (but how are you supposed to explain that to her?).

Tip No. 4: invest in the drama of the adults in your family (ages 40 and up) and play devil’s advocate. They’ll be so defensive and irritated by your audacity that they’re sure to reach their breaking point before dessert (especially if you complain about how old people just don’t understand the world today).

These are just some of the ways to make this holiday season truly memorable.

Here’s the most important thing to remember, though — if it gets to the point where people are screaming and throwing things, make sure you grab your fair share of leftovers before you make your hasty exit.

Happy holidays!