Anticipation of The Hobbit may well be on your mind but before its release you'll have to make it through Thanksgiving, so instead of worrying about how perfect your turkey isn't or what to wear that won't show cranberry sauce stains, take account of some nasty and noisome beasts that make your inebriated relatives seem tame. You'll be more relaxed than ever once you've considered the alternative terrors of the fairy kingdom.
Goblins are, as a rule, very inconsiderate. Think of them as the house guests that arrive early, stay too long, and never offer to do the dishes. They'll steal from you, or at least take things and hide them, not because they are greedy but because they feel they are entitled to whatever you have. You can't make them go away but you can be ready for them. William Wirt Sikes, a sort of Welsh version of the Grimm brothers, believed that goblins caused lightening and even thunderstorms. Reginald Bakeley's Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop for some tips on how to ward them off or capture them.
Bakeley also has some colorful suggestions for the hunting and cooking of gnomes. Think about this alternative to that gobbling poultry of tradition:
The meat of gnomes is lean, flavorful, and dense. As with all wild game, it is prone to dryness and is best prepared with an olive oil marinade, adding onions and thyme or rosemary before putting it in the oven. A quick roasting along the lines of that of a hare or a pheasant of comparable size is the easiest way to cook your gnome, the simplicity of the process allow its natural succulence to come to the fore.
Think your little sister is dramatic? Be grateful you don't have a banshee in the house. They possess a certain dangerous quality that make the humble phooka or hyper goblin look positively friendly. Some tales recount that banshees are the ghosts of women who have died in childbirth; others say they are the restless spirits of unrequited lovers. They are almost always women, and they can and will invoke your sympathies when you hear their wailing. You could easily be lured into the dark of night, hoping to help the pathetic creature who sounds as if she is in mourning. And then you'll be left with nothing but scratch marks and a headache. And not from a night of fun.
So in the "it could always be worse" scenario when the TV is blaring and your Uncle Al is starting to sing show tunes after the third glass of mulled wine, remember the mayhem of the fairy kingdom is decidedly worse than even your most annoying family member. If you think of your family as alternatives to beasts and beings that could invade your house the rest of the year, you may find yourself particularity thankful this year. Breathe deep, dig in, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Follow Varla Ventura on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@VarlaVentura