Sunday, November 19, 2017

Turkey Day

I will not be standing at the stove this Thanksgiving Day preparing a lovely sumptuous meal. Instead, I will be at the kitchen island making the list of pick-up times to gather the goodies for our Thanksgiving dinner. I’m a lousy cook. Why make my family suffer through dry turkey, lumpy gravy or runny mashed potatoes?

My neighbor down the street is like me. She even offered to pick up my dishes if we are ordering from the same places. 

I envy those talented cooks like my friend at work. “I love the pace of the day on Thanksgiving,” she sighs.

“I’ll bet your house will smell wonderful,” I say, adding: “Mine won’t smell like Thanksgiving until Hank brings in the hot food around five.”

“Maybe there’s a candle?” she offers.

“You mean with the fragrance of a turkey roasting in the oven?”

I’ll put on an apron, too clean and crisp, and play party pretend. Perhaps even stand over the warming oven to gather some steam on my face.

I’ve yet to tell my family that I’m only hosting, not cooking, for them. What will my sister, April, say? She can throw together a delicious Easter buffet in a snap. She even labels her signature dishes on tiny Crane Stationary cards in calligraphy. I’ve asked her to bring the sweet potatoes. Dare I tell her that hers will be the only homemade item at the table?

Back in the day, my mother could seamlessly cook a full-on Thanksgiving dinner with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

What happened to me? I have no sense of ingredients, seasonings or sauces.

How did I cook all those years, every night, raising three children? Poor things. My oldest, Allan, actually liked the food at his dorm when he went away to college. That’ll tell you.

My close friend reads cookbooks. Has a subscription to Bon Appetit. We trade houses for our family Christmas get-together. This year, it’s her turn. My family is thrilled. “Oh, good!” says Joseph, our youngest. “Have her make that hot artichoke thing. And I love that cake she made for dessert last time.”

I doubt there is such exuberance from her tribe on my years. “Oh, Mom, tell Heath to make that chicken again!”

Food is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving holiday. Not presents or carols, just pure food and pure thanks.

No matter how the Thanksgiving meal gets to your table, be it an aluminum tray, a plastic container or a porcelain platter.

No matter if it’s homemade or if it’s store bought.

Just give thanks.

I know my family will when they take their first bite.

And one of their "thanks" will be that I ordered out.
Joseph  - Thanksgiving '94