Tuesday, November 13, 2012

reacquainting myself with the kitchen

Thanksgiving has been a holiday I’ve sort of blown off completely the past 10 years.  Good American tradition dictates we must cook huge varieties of food, and eat it all in one dinner.  It’s crazy!  I bet our founding fathers didn’t overdo it the way we celebrate now.  Since I married Someone, we have always gone to his parents’ house for every holiday dinner.  Someone’s mother will cook for days, and then each family who comes for dinner brings something too.  I already know what will be on the table this year – turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, beans, broccoli cheese casserole, deviled eggs, home-made dinner rolls, cranberry salad, fruit salad, and at least three kinds of pie, chocolate cake, and an assortment of cookies.  Add to that whatever I decide to make – vegetable casserole or salad.  There will be lots of people there because Someone has a huge clan of family – at least 25 people will show up.

This year, I’m going to cook a big dinner on Saturday after the Holiday.  Sarah and her very handy, very tall, very Irish “significant boyfriend” are invited, and I’m inviting my brothers.  As on any weekend, there will likely be a gaggle of teen girlfriends at our house who will have dinner with us as well.  Sarah always has Thanksgiving dinner with her father’s family. They have a big get-together like Someone’s family.  My brothers have no girlfriends to have Thanksgiving dinner with this year, so maybe they will come and try out my cooking.  We’ll see how it goes, but I’m really looking forward to it this year. If it does all turn out unfit for consumption, we’ll just order pizza. Surely some of it will be OK.  With enough beer and bourbon, anything I fix will be fine (because it won’t have any taste at all with enough beer and bourbon :)

Thanksgiving was a non-event for me for many years.  My grandmother hated to cook and disliked holidays because of the cooking involved.  We didn’t have much family so we usually had a larger than typical dinner, but it wasn’t a big celebration or anything.

When I started dating my first husband (and then for those years we were married), his family’s holidays were a very big deal and I was always invited.  A huge crowd of people came.  They brought out the fancy china, table linens, crystal, and silverware, always had holiday decorations, tons of food, and lots of drinking afterwards.  It was like a big family party, and it was always a good time.

Sarah with her dad
Then came the years after we divorced... Sarah and her dad went to his parents’ house for holidays.  I stayed home, or sometimes I drove over to help my grandmother cook.  This is about the time she started showing signs of Alzheimer’s and cooking became more challenging for her (and a bit dangerous sometimes).  A couple of times, Sarah’s babysitter invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with her family – she thought people shouldn't be alone on a holiday.  I really didn’t mind though...I found plenty to entertain myself with.
Then I met and married Someone.  His family goes all out for holidays too.  But for the past 10 years until just a few years ago, I was very preoccupied with caring for my grandparents (while working full time, with my own family to deal with, add going back to school).  Life has been a blur until my grandparents finally died, coursework ended, the girls can do much more for themselves, and now at last....I’m getting my life back. 
Sometimes, now that I’m finding free time, I just don’t know what to do with myself.  What did I do when I had so much spare time?  Cooking for Thanksgiving is going to be fun.  I’m even looking through cookbooks – Thanksgiving 2012 will be a new adventure in my own kitchen. 
kitchen science

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