Saturday, November 21, 2009
My mom hosted Thanksgiving dinners, sometimes for 25 or more guests, cooked a perfect 30lb. turkey, baked flakey crusted, famously delicious pumpkin pies from scratch, and hosted 2 out of town daughter's families with grandchildren in-tow, all the while working full-time in a stressful Escrow office. She made it all seem so easy.
About eight years ago, I was to be in charge of Thanksgiving at my house, for the first time. My parents were going to drive up from California, stay with us and enjoy the holiday as guests. My dad, while working on a friend's turkey farm, was showing off for the younger workers and leaped off the back of the loading dock to slide down a pole and broke his ankle. So, he and mom were not able to come up to Utah. Thanksgiving would be just my family and my sister's. Just 11 people, easy enough.
Not being a great pie baker and working part time, I decided to buy my pies at Marie Callendars. I smartly put in my order and planned to pick them up on Wednesday. Don wanted to take everyone to a movie that night, so I struggled to get all of the "do-aheads" prepared for the next day. As we left for the show, I was confident that I had done everything I could to make ready for the upcoming feast.
When the movie ended, we stood to leave and I turned to my sister in a panic!
With eyes that I'm sure looked like they had just seen the ghost of Thanksgivings Past, I gasped, "The pies!"
"The Pies! I never picked up the pies!" I hissed at her.
She looked back at me with wide eyes and tried not to giggle,"what are you going to do?"
I didn't want Don to know I had forgotten the pies. I just couldn't tell him. I'd never hear the end of it. So, making some excuse, my sister and I raced up to the restaurant, praying it would still be open and that they would still have my pies. We were among the last people to enter the tent set up in the parking lot for pie pick-up and came home with the essential dessert.
The next day, I tried to remember how my mom did it. I had bucked tradition and tried a new recipe for a corn dish that wasn't a success, and the turkey would not get done! We ate much later than planned after Don's constant harangue of, "Is it done yet? When is it going to be done? I'm starving. When will it be ready? Is it almost done?" At my mom's house we always ate around 3:00 and here it was, already dark when we finally sat down. The meal wasn't bad, but I felt like I had never had control of the situation and it certainly wasn't as good as Grandma's.
Now 8 years later I am, once more, hosting Thanksgiving with my folks as guests. I feel like a newlywed who hasn't had much experience in the kitchen, except for that one disastrous dinner! I am 54 years old, a grown woman! I consider myself a good cook, but I am anxious!
What if the turkey doesn't get done on time? Where will I seat 16 people and what if I forget to go to Costco for the pies!