The holiday season began last month with my declaration: “I’m not cooking this year. If you guys want Thanksgiving dinner, you need to cook!”
Interestingly enough, my sons’ eyes lit up and they jumped at the chance to learn the magic of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner. It is magic, you know: taking a fridge and pantry full of strange ingredients and making the house smell so good with a final meal being a symphony of sights, smells and flavors.
And they did it:
I provided homemade pie crusts (thanks to my lovely and talented baker/knitter/horse whisperer friend, Charlotte) and my sons made two pumpkin pies from scratch from fresh roasted pumpkin that they roasted in the toaster oven one half at a time while the turkey was in the oven.
The turkey was carefully attended by my 21-year-old son who loves to cook. He also made the stuffing with just a little bit of assistance from me.
I took the time to teach them how to simmer the giblets while the turkey was roasting and how to use the liquid in the stuffing and gravy, then how to make delicious gravy just like my Gram Wood taught me the one Thanksgiving I spent with my grandparents as a young adult.
My 18-year-old made the most amazing mashed potatoes (they rival his sister’s scratch mashed potatoes — sorry Katie).
And dinner was served, monochrome except for those pies. It might have been all white and beige, but it didn’t taste white and beige. It was delicious. Being teenage and young adult males, they did not take the time for green foods. No one really complained. We all stuffed ourselves until we were sated. That was a most delicious meal.
The next day we all craved green vegetables and by Saturday we just wanted to eat green beans and broccoli and salad (I made a marinated salad).
That was our whimsical and interesting Thanksgiving. Whimsical because the boys, my sons, woke up whenever they liked, started cooking whenever, and produced a meal of their favorite parts of the Thanksgiving dinner. They did whatever they wanted, and enjoyed it immensely.
Thanksgiving dinner, even though cooked by novices, was a huge success.
[I must confess that I was nearly hyperventilating by 1 p.m. because the pies hadn’t even been started yet, and it looked like dinner would be ready around 9 p.m. I am a planner, coordinator, and, though I like no schedule for myself, I seem to need to know when and where when dealing with others. I had to emotionally disconnect for the rest of the day until gravy time arrived. By that time I had relaxed enough to enjoy the final moments of meal preparation along with the meal itself. Yep, I discovered something about myself. I sure did. It is really difficult for me to take the day off. It is very difficult for this single mother, even one of older sons, to relax during the holidays.]