Gathered with family around the Thanksgiving table, I’ve always found comfort and joy in the traditions of this November holiday. As the days get shorter and the air turns chillier, a feast with friends and family is often just what I need. Thanksgiving is largely centered around food, including staple dishes that define the holiday.

Every year, as I load up my plate, I am presented with the same options. Turkey and gravy. Mashed potatoes and stuffing. Green beans and bread rolls. Every year, I am also forced to come face-to-face with my nemesis: cranberry sauce. No, I am not talking about a carefully prepared, homemade cranberry sauce. I am referring to the canned horror that is store-bought cranberry sauce. In fact, my hatred of cranberry sauce has grown so intense that I often feel compelled to loudly note how revolting it is at multiple points throughout the meal, drawing eye-rolls and groans from around the table. Now, this might seem extreme. Is it really that hard to politely opt out and let others enjoy this Thanksgiving classic? Yes, it is really that hard.

To start, I find this “dish” (if it even deserves the dignity of such a title), to be simply off-putting. With a years-long shelf life and bright red, jelly-like appearance, it is reasonable to be a little skeptical of cranberry sauce. Enthusiasts might tell you that this is all due to the natural amounts of pectin found in cranberries. But personally, I see nothing natural about turning fruit into a jellied cylinder with can ridges.

These qualities could be overlooked if cranberry sauce had some magnificent flavor. After all, it is unfair to judge a food solely on its appearance. Unfortunately, cranberry sauce’s taste does little to redeem itself. It is difficult to find cranberry sauce, overly tart and cloyingly sweet, appealing. One could argue that cranberry sauce is meant to be paired with turkey or other foods. However, since I am repulsed by it on its own, cranberry sauce fails to enhance other dishes.

It is worth noting that I do not scoff at every food I don’t care for. In fact, every year during the Jewish holiday of Passover, I happily eat parsley dipped in salt water, a food I’m not too fond of either. I do this because in the context of Passover, eating parsley holds cultural significance, as a reminder of the holiday’s origin. Unlike that tradition, however, cranberry sauce does not have any powerful symbolism associated with it. If anything, cranberry sauce is representative of the dark and exploitative history of the cranberry industry. While cranberry production is no longer unethical, its background certainly isn’t a motivator to start indulging in cranberry sauce.

For these reasons and countless others, I doubt that I’ll ever be able to appreciate this classic Thanksgiving side dish. Yet, despite all of my complaining, cranberry sauce enjoyers don’t offend me. They are as entitled to their preferences as I am to mine. Even so, as you sit down to the Thanksgiving feast this year, I urge you to consider: “Do I actually like cranberry sauce, or have I just been told that I should?” You might be surprised by what you discover.