For the past month, at least, I’ve been collecting recipes on Pinterest, deciding where to spend Thanksgiving, trying not to guilt Older Son into traveling to Daughter’s with us, assuring Younger Son (and myself) that I really do understand why he’s staying in Utah a little longer even though his seasonal park ranger position has ended…You know, the typical holiday rituals families undertake each year in some fashion or another.
What keeps me grounded is the memory of the Thanksgiving I wrote about in this post. We tend to get immersed in the flurry of traditional foods and who cooks what and who hosts. Those things are just the trimmings around the main event–the giving of thanks. And we can do that whether we eat scrumptious turkey, MacDonald’s hamburgers, or sub sandwiches.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your family and friends! And always remember–it’s not what you eat that makes a holiday, but with whom you share your table!
(For the record, I have been successful in my efforts to assure both sons, and myself, that it’s their holiday, too, and they are free to spend it in whatever way they like. Our love transcends time, place, and choice of meals.)
I love to eat and I love to cook. The upcoming holiday combination of both can make me high.
I watch every Food Network show, and print stacks of recipes. I love to visit people to sample what has piqued my friends’ and family’s culinary interest. And I love to have company to show off what has caught my attention.
I also fall back on a few of my “secret” recipes—store-bought cookie dough, already made into cookie shapes so that all you have to do is plop them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven. And there are a few box mixes I just can’t live without.
When all is said and done, though, for me, food is fuel. When I travel, the smallest part of my budget is always for food. I’d much rather spend my money on museums, ancient ruins, and subway tokens to get to those places. I love sitting at sidewalk cafes, watching people go by, even if means eating the cheapest item on the menu.
Although I swoon at the thought of holiday cooking and eating, what gives me the greatest satisfaction is spending time with my family and friends.
The thing that makes my heart feel full to overflowing is having all three of my grown children together at one time. I’ve told them for many years that as long as we’re all together, I don’t care if we eat hamburgers out of a paper bag.
A few years ago, that belief was put to the test.
My daughter had moved in with her boyfriend, and they wanted to host Thanksgiving dinner at their home. Her boyfriend (now husband) is a great cook and they wanted to host an important holiday to demonstrate the seriousness of their relationship.
My husband and two sons and I arrived at the apartment to be greeted by a whirlwind of food preparation. The turkey, of course, would be the main event. My daughter assigned me to preparing a side dish. I don’t remember now what it was, but it needed to cook for a certain time on its own. I set the timer and joined the guys to watch football.
After a while, the timer’s buzzer went off and I put the lid on the dish to wait for the turkey to finish cooking. We all waited…and waited…and waited…
Boyfriend checked the turkey to find that it looked pretty much like it did when he put it in the oven; in other words—raw. It seems that someone’s mother—it might have been me, I was the only mother in the apartment—had actually used the timer for the stove, not for the clock, so when the buzzer went off, so did the oven.
Here was our opportunity to put into practice my belief that it didn’t matter what we ate as long as we were all together.
The guys found an open sub shop and brought home an assortment of subs. That kept everyone full and satisfied through the end of the football games and until the turkey was finally done. Since I had been banished from the kitchen, the turkey finished cooking in normal turkey time
The turkey was delicious, everyone’ stomach stayed full throughout the afternoon and evening, and my heart overflowed with the fullness of having all three of my children, and my future son-in-law, together at one time. And I came away with this story to tell.
So here’s the caution—whether it’s the holidays, or someone’s birthday, or just Sunday dinner, if someone turns on the wrong timer, or your special dish falls to the floor and the dog gets to it before you do, or you burn the roast to a crisp, find the nearest fast-food place, bring home some takeout, and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Food may come and go, but family and friends are forever.
Life is short—Bon appétit!