My holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s all mine. My family comes to our house and I’ve prepared all the food. They offer to bring something, and I usually have my mother-in-law bring pie and my sisters-in-law bring crudite and bubbly. LOTS of bubbly.
This is my holiday because next comes the birthday I share with sister-in-law three and brother-in-law one. The celebrant usually doesn’t have to host their own birthday party. Then comes Christmas, which is hosted by sister-in-law three. Then comes New Year’s, which is hosted by me, but I concentrate on heavy pupus, most notably my incendiary California Rolls. They are legend.
Here’s the deal. I get to make meals for the family through the year, and I cycle through a series of meals that are family favorites: chicken with lemon and olives, African beef stew (it’s about time for that), mixed grill, roasted rosemary potatoes, Iberian shrimp on angel hair, a roasted vegetable pasta dish that probably should list thick gobs of fat (cheese) as its first ingredient. Yeah, it’s good.
For Thanksgiving, I have to work within certain parameters. Last year, with much success, I roasted the turkey in parts instead of as a whole bird. It was done in a fraction of the time, all of it was juicy and tasty, and it was EASY. My friend Marlene seems to recall that I tweeted a streak of swear words that day, but, how is that possible? I am a virtuous woman!
I used to depend upon my mother-in-law to come over and make the gravy, but I’ve managed to figure that out now, too. This year I’ll be serving mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cranberry-orange mix (maybe mother-in-law will make that again, she’s got that one down pat), roasted root vegetables. I’ve made an amazing savory cornbread pudding a couple of times, with rich sharp white cheddar in it. It should be called the Cardiac Arrest.
I’m also very smug when it comes to stuffing. I like it in the bird, but science has overruled me. So I make it on the side. I take liberties with the stuffing. There’s only so much liberty a married woman is permitted. Unleash the beast is what i always say. I put in what I want. I know what will work and it does. Expect to be delighted. Do not expect to be bored.
There will be at least nine of us, and it will be the Sunday after Thanksgiving to accommodate the schedules of working stiffs. We’ll be happy to see each other, and John and I will always have an argument before they show up because I always have a crisis of confidence and performance anxiety before I show my family how much I love them through food.
That’s why I always tell the sisters-in-law to replenish my sparkling wine cellar. They know how to love me back. Heh.