Oh, it’s the season of Advice from the Turkey People. The people who buy a fresh turkey, the people who brine the turkey, the people who make all kinds of fancy stuffings and dressings and other accoutrements to the traditional holiday dinner.
Well, I buy a frozen turkey from our local grocery store. I’ve been roasting turkeys long enough that I usually remember to start thawing it in the fridge on Monday. I do cut my own bread cubes, I do simmer the neck and the giblets to make bread stuffing from scratch. My daughter always bakes corn bread and I put my son in charge of the pumpkin pie a couple of years ago. He actually found this online recipe that makes it really easy to make homemade pie crust. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. And every year I give thanks for that green bean dish with the crispy onions on top, which is traditional and easy enough to make that I can assign it to my mother who can’t cook but always wants to “bring something.”
I began the tradition of cooking the traditional turkey dinner about ten years ago, when I must have gotten completely fed up with driving to relatives’ houses and just started making Thanksgiving dinner on my own. I think it was the year that my daughter was three, my son was one, and my good friend was going through a divorce. I know she came to dinner that year, and I was very happy to have her. I remember hovering helplessly above the turkey with a meat thermometer, which I had never used before, wondering where to shove it into the bird; and then just handing it over to Pen, who stabbed it into the turkey with considerable authority. I remember the awe I felt at her decisive action, even though she had never roasted a turkey before either.
Last year, I decided I had roasted too many turkeys too many years in a row, and we went to my parents’ house instead. Yeah, mistake. Remember up above there, when I told you my mother can’t cook? Well, she bought pre-made stuffing from the prepared-food section of the grocery store, spooned it ready-made into the turkey, and that was our experience for the year. I mean, I wasn’t exactly expecting her to make it from scratch, but really? You can easily buy the kit with the bread cubes and herb mix and all that. I am totally taking back Thanksgiving dinner this year. If I have to go through the tradition, my grandmother’s way of making stuffing, and me eating it and floating on waves of heavenly homemade-stuffing bliss, is my reward. Darn it.
And it turned out that my husband was also mad, because after decades of being a vegetarian and not eating turkey, he turned forty and started eating some kinds of meat. And what did I do that year? Delegated the turkey to my non-cooking mother. So I guess I’m taking Thanksgiving back for both of us this year.
I’m trying to think of Thanksgiving this year as the very first year when my husband and I will be making and eating our very own turkey together. Of course, it’s also the very first year when my dad, who died in April, won’t be with us. I mean, judging from his general demeanor on the day, Thanksgiving wasn’t exactly my father’s favorite holiday, if he even had one. But, you know. It’s one of those firsts that you have to get through when you’re grieving from a loss.
So this is my Thanksgiving post, perhaps a little too early, but I can feel free to post about it again, or move on to some other topic, before or after the actual holiday. Because I can do whatever I want on my own blog.
Happy Turkey Day, everyone.
Love you & leave you,