For weeks now, you've been having romantic visions of waltzing into Aunt Margie's house Thanksgiving Day carrying a brace of glorious pies -- apple and blueberry, maybe -- with carefully constructed lattice-top crusts. ("Of course, homemade crusts are a little tricky," you'd admit with a modest downward glance, "but the store-bought kind never seem flaky enough.")
Somehow, though, you never got around to it, what with one thing and another, and the thought of enduring an afternoon of Cousin Carla's superior smirks is too much to bear. (And what is her deal anyway? It's like she thinks that goddamn bean casserole she brings every year is some kind of Cordon Bleu masterpiece.)
Here's a quick and easy recipe that will be a hit at any Thanksgiving dinner. Or, to be more precise, it's a bunch of crap you can throw together at the last minute -- at least it will get you off the hook and spare you the shame of showing up empty-handed; then you can try to save face by passing it off as a kitschy cultural artifact or something.
FAMOUS AMBROSIA SALAD2 cans fruit cocktail
1 can Mandarin orange slices
1 pint sour cream
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Drain most of the so-called "light syrup" out of the cans. (Don't forget this step or else, instead of a humorous fluffy salad, you'll end up with a depressing, swampy bowl of slop. Also, "light syrup" is really just a canned-food euphemism for water and corn syrup -- and, since corn syrup apparently is now somehow implicated in an evil agribusiness plot to make us all sick and foment a perpetual series of global energy wars, you don't want it anywhere near your cheerful little salad.) Place aside for later disposal at a federally approved facility.
Dump all ingredients into a big bowl and stir it around with a spoon until it looks "done." Cover with plastic wrap for safe transport. Reserve 3/4 cup to "accidentally" spill down the front of Cousin Carla's stupid pant suit. Serves 30, as well as your nagging, irrational need to continually prove to your family that you are a responsible adult.
If you're looking for a vegan option, I suppose you could substitute the marshmallows and sour cream with 2 1/2 cups nondairy soy-whip or something like that. Couldn't hurt; nobody eats this salad anyway.
Remember, success comes in cans, not in can'ts! Happy Thanksgiving.