Shakespeare was really the first to cash in on the idea of a cooking show. Complain all you want about those pesky reading assignments, but to a person we remember those three witches, standing around the cauldron, stirring with demented glee, and reciting their recipe faster than any of the groundlings could transcribe it. What’s shorthand for eye of newt and tongue of bat, anyway?
Doesn’t matter. MacBeth is captivating, from the recipes right down to the ransacking. Of course, those kitchen-witches aren’t the ones fighting. In a play where unbridled ambition ruins families and fiefdoms, the three weird sisters seem to get along. Apparently, that’s what makes them weird. Don’t believe me? Ask the Cheneys.
They’re helping to redefine Thanksgiving for the twenty-first century: food, family, and fights. Don’t even bother to send me your complaints. Save time. Send them directly to my mother, who agrees with you. She thinks everyone should get along, and she abhors the very concept of antagonism among siblings. Birth order dictates her point of view: That is to say, she is an only child.
As one of four, I understand a little rough and tumble family fun. I have older brothers, and trust me when I tell you no sentence instilled greater fear in my bones than my parents leaving the house and my mother waving and calling out, “There are TV dinners in the freezer, and the boys are in charge.” (Full disclosure: I loved those Swanson TV dinners.) But putting older brothers in charge? Why not save everyone a lot of time and trouble and just let Betsy and me lock ourselves in the bathroom?
The point is, of course, that siblings don’t always get along. That’s why the NYTimes put the feud between the Cheney sisters on page one. Liz and Mary aren’t talking to one another, unless you count social media jibes and news conference accusations as communication.
At issue is same-sex marriage, which Liz Cheney vehemently opposes. Meanwhile, her sister, Mary, is married to Heather Poe, and together they have two children.
Here’s my favorite sentence in the NYTimes article. “Things erupted on Sunday when Mary Cheney, a lesbian, and her wife were at home watching Fox News Sunday – their usual weekend ritual.” Does Fox know Mary and her wife are regular viewers? Do Mary and Heather realize they are watching Fox?
Channel selection aside, what about the Cheney Thanksgiving? How will they get through the fair-is-fowl, foul-is-family fest when Liz’s bid for the senate trumps her family fealty? Ambition compels her to opt for expediency over loyalty.
Sound familiar? Shake out those mothballs between your ears. It’s the story of MacBeth. And it is a tragedy.
If only Shakespeare’s witches could cook up a spell to help Liz recognize the legitimacy of her sister’s relationship. It’d be a brew to help her accept her brood. That’d be a cooking show worth watching, and a recipe worth replicating. Instead, what she’s asking voters to swallow is poison.