Years ago, I stopped going home for Thanksgiving because no one in my family can cook anything, ever. The trade-off for missing Thanksgiving every year is that I'm pretty much forced to endure my family's Christmas.
It seems that every couple of years a truly wretched recipe takes hold in my family, spreading among my aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins like a virus. Several years ago, the viral dish of the moment was a dessert called "Cherries in the Snow."
That was my holiday worst.
That evening, midway through the midnight church service, the food poisoning hit me full-tilt-boogie. I raced from the pew just as the Christmas sermon was beginning, and stayed by the toilet in the church bathroom for the rest of the service. After everyone else had finished singing "Silent Night" by candlelight and had gone home, I managed to pull myself together. I barely got home before the next wave hit. I've had food poisoning before, but never anything that even remotely approached this. I was so sick that I was unable to get out of bed on Christmas (except for a few brief moments when the sheets I'd soiled had to be changed), and I couldn't hold down solid food until the New Year.
On this particular Christmas Eve, one of my aunts badgered me relentlessly about why I didn't try any of her "Cherries in the Snow." I relented, and ate a small serving.It was basically a giant bowl of whipped egg whites, cream cheese and white sugar, folded into an entire tub of Cool Whip. The bowl of glop was refrigerated and topped with coconut flakes and maraschino cherries.