I love Thanksgiving, with all the traditions. But one tradition that’s starting to wear a little thin after many years is making The Dinner. Don’t get me wrong – I love making a turkey, two types of stuffing, sweet potato casserole, sour cream mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds, corn, and for those calorie conscious, a large tossed salad. And dessert, which is always pumpkin pie and at least one other offering.
So why did I list all that? Because it takes a lot of time to make. Even with making some in advance, there’s still a significant amount of time spent in the kitchen, not to mention setting a lovely and seasonal table (pro tip: wrap sterling silver in plastic wrap, and it won’t tarnish).
Then you have your guests to consider: Aunt Eleanor is lactose intolerant; Cousin Tony has gluten issues, plus his girlfriend Francine is a vegetarian; Lisa and Kenny won’t eat anything but crudite, mashed potatoes and dessert…these are just a few of the many, many reasons they are no longer invited.
One year, my neighbor brought his dog. I was surprised, but since Zoey had always been well behaved, I didn’t protest. I should have. Loudly. She whined, she pawed, she cried…the damn dog wanted to sit at the table! Fortunately, she settled down once I growled at her.
But my great-aunt Rose was the worst. She would always decline, in spite of repeated asking, and then the day before, she would call and say she’d come, but only for the company, not to eat. After eating a ton of appetizers, Rose would say she’d watch TV while the family ate…ten minutes in, she’d approach the table and say how good it smelled, and she just wanted “a little taste of the stuffing.” Within seconds, she had squeezed a chair in and was chowing down like a longshoreman. This was a scene repeated for a number of years, until she grew too old to attend.
I marveled at my mother when I was growing up. She could work a full-time job, cook for 28 people, have the house spotless, and not break a sweat. Of course she had help from my sister and I, but the lion’s share of the work fell on her. The largest group I cooked for was 13, and I was a wreck. And it was a buffet, which should have been easier…I think I’ve blocked most of that day from my memory. The wine helped…
Whether you cook, go to someone’s house, or go out to dinner, have a wonderful time and a Happy Thanksgiving!