After speaking to my mother-in-law on the phone this morning, the realization hit me: Thanksgiving is in 6 days.
We're having Thanksgiving here again this year. And only 15 people as opposed to 25 last year. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having people over. I love cooking. I love hospitality. But it's Thanksgiving. Forget the concept of actually giving thanks for two minutes and hang with me, here. IT'S A HOLIDAY ALL ABOUT THE FOOD.
And you know what? I love that. Bring it on. I'm currently defrosting a turkey in the outside fridge. Aside from that and a 15 minute conversation with the MIL this morning, I've done NOTHING to prepare.
So this is me: preparing.
I'd like to say that I'm going to try a ton of new things for Thanksgiving this year, that I'm going to make Dungeness Crab and Heirloom Bean Brandade, bake a Medley of Root Vegetables with Cipoline Onions and Herbs, that I'm gonna whip up a Pear, Apple, and Quince Crostata, but I'm not. Why not, you may ask? Because I, my dear readers, am a purist.
I believe in plain glazed donuts.
I like non-flavored crème brûlée.
I'm all about mashed potatoes without gravy. (Unless it's MY gravy, and then I drown them in it.)
What I'm trying to say is that while it may not be fancy, by golly and by gum, it will definitely be GOOD. We're going to have roast turkey. Am I going to brine it? Nope. You know why? I can't tell the difference. And I'm going to tell you another secret that no one else will admit to: Turkey on Thanksgiving is like the groom at a wedding. No one's looking at rental boy, and no one's really there for the bird.
It's all about the other stuff. The mashed potatoes made the way my sister and I used to make them, swirling with real creamery butter. The cornbread dressing, with sausage and sage, conspicuously absent of any celery (Ick!). The cranberry sauce - Not that crap that makes a slurping noise when it comes out of the can, but the kind that gets its own fancy crystal bowl, made with real cranberries cooked with plenty of sugar and the zest of an orange. I maintain that if you don't like cranberry sauce, you've never had GOOD cranberry sauce.
I'm going to have help, too. My MIL is bringing food, as is one of Nolan's aunts. But that still leaves me with the following:
*turkey (Got it. No prob.)
*dressing (Grandma's recipe - without the aforementioned nasty, stringy vegetable)
*mashed potatoes (as if I'd let anyone else do these. Please.)
*Giblet gravy (easy on the giblets)
*cranberry sauce (I love the way this looks. It's a really gorgeous dish)
*broccoli-rice casserole (possibly. I've been looking at making something different)
*appetizers (Including these cheese balls and a relish tray)
*pecan pie (Nolan's and the FIL's fave)
*apple pie? (maybe not - seems like overkill)
*pots de creme (this would be just for me. I love them, but they aren't very thansgiving-y.)
*rolls (potato rolls? These are mega work. Will have to find mom's recipe and think.)
*wine (heh. I love wine. I might go have some right now.)
So it's doable, is what I'm saying. What makes me sad is that my mom and my sister aren't going to be there to help me cook and watch the parade Thursday morning. It's not that I necessarily need the help, but I absolutely adore it when I have company in the kitchen. When I get to work next to people who are every bit as invested in the food as I am.
Next year I may have to put my foot down. You hear me? Mom? Em? I'm talking to you.
And when my size seven and a half hits the pavement, it's all over but the crying.
I don't think I'll panic. I think it's going to be just fine.