That’s easy! It’s Thanksgiving! We will have turkey for sure! With all the trimmings. We must have the lime jello with cottage cheese and pineapple that my mom always made. We must have the candied yams. And we can’t forget the raisin pie! Wait a stinkin’ minute! That’s my mom’s menu! I do not have to make those things anymore. Come to think of it, my mom made those things to suit the tastes of her guests and none of them will be at my house on November 22nd.
Who is coming to my Thanksgiving Feast? My brother and sister-in-law and my nieces and nephews. My brother likes rich gourmet foods, my sister-in-law likes him to eat heart-healthy foods that are low in salt. Tough, but I can think of something! My niece eats gluten-free foods, so I will be sure to have something amazing for her. I am Diabetic, so I want to have plenty of low-sugar options. I polled my boys and they requested my potato salad and a few other favorite dishes. No one asked for green jello or candied yams! Cool. I can rock this!
This requires a strategic plan. It is SIX days to the big event. I do not have a housekeeper. I work today, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and a half day on Wednesday. Our family has a big event to attend on Saturday. This is one reason that if I were the President, I would change Thanksgiving to a Sunday. But, that’s me!
I am going to break the house down into five sections. There are five inhabitants vested in a nice Thanksgiving and five evenings in which to beautify the establishment. We will each take a section. We will do what we can do, and hope for the best. Wednesday night will be for prepping and pre-cooking as much as possible and the boys will have to do their part to make everything look spic and span.
I am the Queen of Lists when it comes to meal planning. I will decide on the foods I want to make, check the pantry for what I already have, and make a list of everything I need to buy. Then I will list the items by the stores where I want to get them. I will set out to do the main shopping on Sunday night. I will get the fresh stuff on Monday or Tuesday. I used to know when the best times to go shopping was, avoiding the crowds and getting there before everything was sold out, but now I am at the mercy of my available time. So, I will have to muster the energy and fight the crowds. Lucky for me, I have my best friend, the iPhone with me. I can Tweet when I am in the long lines!
In a perfect world, I would get up early on Saturday morning and get many of the ingredients for my Thanksgiving dinner at the Farmer’s Market. I would also engage the expertise of my close friend, Chef Holly Markman to help me choose the fare. However, the world is not perfect and my friend will be out of town and will not be at my disposal. (I bet she is relieved about that!) My meal won’t be “gourmet” but it will be all homemade and delicious. It’s just what my family needs right now.
There has to be that one thing that everyone will be talking about for years to come. Well, at least I think it makes things extra special. I want to think of something that will knock their socks off! Perhaps I will give my attention to making one dish really stand out. But what? I have some ideas, but I don’t know for sure yet. It might be a quinoa side dish or grilled asparagus, or a sweet potato souffle.
It doesn’t even have to be something edible. I will make things special by using my nice dishes and setting a beautiful table. When I was a little girl, I was in charge of setting the table when Thanksgiving was at my house. My mom would help me come up with creative ways to fold the napkins and we always made place cards. There will be candles on the table and a nice centerpiece. I believe it is important to make the table special and even if the setting is casual, as I plan it to be this year, it will have that special feeling. This is a day of thanks and I want everyone to know how much I care for them.
Our family likes to play games together. But, if there isn’t anything planned it doesn’t always get going right away. We have done “Minute to Win it” games at family gatherings in the past. We have also played board games, even Poker! This year I am planning a competition called “Spaghetti and Marshmallows” where two or three teams will compete to make the tallest structure using uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows. It should be fun! I promise to post pictures!
In addition to Spaghetti and Marshmallows, I have planned this year’s Thanksgiving event around football. Not just watching it on TV but, weather permitting we will walk to the park and play a game of touch football. I have never played a game of football in my life! But my kids love football and I have seen this tradition in movies and heard that many families do it. Why not give it a try? It will do us all some good to get a little exercise after eating a big meal. But more than that, I want to have some contact with my boys. They are big and even though we do hug and kiss our kids a lot, it is not like it was when they were little and we could tickle them and play around with them. It will be fun to run around in the grass and play a game with them. If it goes well, it could be a new tradition. I have invited another family to join us. They will meet us at the park after they eat their dinner with their guests, then we will share dessert together. I think it will help knowing another family will be there to keep us faithful to the plan. This is the kind of thing that we could easily talk each other out of!!
Even though I plan to start some new traditions this year and do things a little more casually than we are used to, I don’t want to forget the traditions of the past. We will have a Blessing before the meal and thank God for all that we have. Each person will have the chance to state what they are thankful for. We will take pictures of the turkey and my husband will have the honor of carving it. We will raise a glass or two and toast to the good times we have had together and we will honor those who are no longer with us. We will sing some songs and share some tears. I am so thankful that I have this holiday to spend with my family and I look forward to making it another great one!