November 15, 2006

Holiday Meals

The USA Today had an article today about Thanksgiving that made me growl and made me wonder if I am again, just weird.

You see, the article linked above says there is nothing harder than cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It says you need expertise.

It also seems to believe you need to go buy the magazine and watch the tv show that the interviewee for the article edits/stars on (Christopher Kimball) before cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I swear some newspapers should really have a disclosure policy on their articles. Maybe they could go with: "The following article is pitching a product/service/entertainment even if we present it as news."

To all this I say HA. You see, I think there are a lot harder things than Thanksgiving dinner. Sitting down and making menus for a family of 7 for a month: MUCH harder than Thanksgiving. Ad libbing dinner after a miserable day of work, two days before pay day, and three days before you can actually go to the store: harder than Thanksgiving. Planning and cooking meals, no carryout or restaurants for a week or a month for a family: MUCH harder than Thanksgiving.

Even other holiday meals are more difficult because you have to THINK about what to serve. As much variation as people do with Thanksgiving, I would say the typical American KNOWS exactly what they are going to cook that day, with maybe a new recipe or two thrown in, and has been cooking it or parts of it most of their cooking life. I know that some folks are sprung into the world never having cooked a turkey or a pumpkin pie, but you can catch on fast.

I am now in my second decade of being primarily responsible for Thanksgiving dinner. I don't think about it. I definitely don't plan it. I don't remember ever spending more than a bit of thought on it except when I would come across a new recipe that I wanted to try for Thanksgiving. We made some adjustments when becoming a blended family but nothing that throws my day into chaos. The only thing I plan: not going to the grocery store the night before. Now THAT is chaos. Avoid grocery stores on Thanksgiving Eve at all costs.

I don't think it is a scale thing either, though Thanksgiving for two is a bit blah, and fewer than 5 or 6 seems less than festive. It won't matter to my cooking and food related stress whether it is just our family, a subset of family, or everyone brings home strays (after maybe 10 unexpected strays I might get antsy-if only about the cornbread). As long as I have a rough idea by the time I go shopping, we can easily absorb probably double. I don't know. Maybe it is God's guidance in my shopping or my mother's example or intuition or some combination, but we always seem to have enough with just enough leftover that everyone is happy. I can't remember a Thanksgiving meal I made that I didn't love. Maybe I am just blessed with Thanksgiving skills...daily dinner skills would be far more useful though.

1 comment:

skeet said...

Lol! I'm with you. I have to check the weight/cooking time thing for the turkey each time, but otherwise could pretty much do it with my eyes closed. Course, I've been doing it about four decades.