Monday, November 21, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving is fast approaching...too fast as in three days. I don't know about your house, but mine will be filled to overflowing with 45 family members and four generations. Not as many as 4th of July or Christmas, but still a healthy number of folks.

This is how we celebrate 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas...as a family. We each set everything aside to spend time with each other and everyone will speak to everyone else at least once during the day.

For me, it's the cooking. I started yesterday with my Mandarin Orange and Cranberry compote. It definitely gets better with age. Having been a chef in my previous life cooking for large numbers doesn't bother me...the clean up does. I've had a long standing rule in my house...I cook you clean! I spend days in shopping and cooking before an event like this. The menu is made weeks in advance, if not months. This year is kind of lonesome in my kitchen without my youngest daughter, a pastry chef, beside me.

Now you'd think a former chef would have a huge kitchen and you'd be wrong where I'm concerned. My kitchen is the old 1960's galley style 7'x11'. When you think about two cooks in my kitchen, you'd think we'd trip all over each other, but not my daughter and I. We had the routine down cold after all the years of cooking together. I miss her sorely this year so I've set my timetable very carefully.

Tomorrow is pies (cherry, apple, sweet potato and pumpkin) and other desserts (brownies, cookies, and banana pudding). The stock pot will be full of turkey goodies simmering away for several gallons of gravy and the dressing. The turkeys will be brined for slow roasted, juicy tenderness. My father always fried turkeys, but to me there is something about carving into that crispy brown skin that makes this a holiday. Fried turkeys have to be drained and the skin discarded. I did myself a favor this year and bought a spiral cut ham so all I have to do is bring it up to temperature. My house will reek of home apples, cinnamon, and turkey stock by the evening and it will only be Tuesday!

No, I don't cook it all myself. This year I've asked each of my sisters and brothers, and adult children to bring assorted vegetables. On Wednesday, before the turkeys go into the oven the breads are baked. Cornbread, dinner rolls, and several loaves of white bread for the dressing. Later in the evening the birds will go into the oven and my house will have the scent of fresh breads, and sage, thyme, rosemary, and assorted other spices. I will also start brewing iced tea...twenty gallons with simple syrup to sweeten it!

Thursday morning, my sons in law will be over to set up the tables and chairs. Only the older adults like great great grandparents, great grands, and grandparents will sit inside at my 10-person table. The pool house will open up for the my adult siblings parents with the children and grandchildren set at picnic tables.

My writing will stop as I switch hats to cook and hostess...not that I've been able to do much of that in the fifteen minute increments between computer shut downs. <sigh>  Two weeks until my new computer and my new grandson is born.

This is a time of reflection for me. I look back over the decades and congratulate myself for making it through all the muck. I cherish the time spent with friends and family. And I thank God that I'm still here able to play author and hostess for one more year.

What are you thankful for this year?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


2 comments:

S.P. Bowers said...

I just did a thankful post. One thing I didn't mention though is that bad haircuts will grow out.

J.L. Murphey said...

Sarah, I'm always thankful for that!