Well, this year I don’t have too many exciting Thanksgiving prep stories – at least not yet. Maybe come Sunday I will. So, for now, I will give a pseudo-play-by-play of the big day. Because I know you all are just dying to know. So, without further adieu…Thanksgiving 2009.
We came home from Thanksgiving festivities, I gave my dad his birthday present, and then called my aunt in Arkansas. I got my phone, walked over to my bed, adjusted pillows and the like, and curled up on my right side waiting for her to pick up. “Happy Thanksgiving!!” came her voice. I smiled and replied, “Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!!!!!!!” “Get enough to eat?” she asked. On the car ride home I was seriously worried that I might ralph if I moved too much. I also had a rather unsavory headache, which persisted.
Three hours post-last bite and three ibuprofen and a few sips of water later my eyes felt less strained (they’re completely better now, thanks for asking), my head wasn’t pounding, and any kind of movement didn’t make me feel like ralphing any longer. To be fair, I think my exclusive beverage list of coffee and wine today were the main culprits for the head ailments. The waddling and feeling like I wanted to explode contributed to the fear of ralphing, I’m sure.
The story of Thanksgiving 2009 started yesterday, Wednesday afternoon, at my grandma’s house. For the third year in a row I helped my grandma make the stuffing. For the second year in a row my cousin/s and I helped my grandma make the stuffing. It’s always more fun when they’re there. :)
The stuffing started out with about ¾ of a stick of butter. For storytelling’s sake, let’s say it was a whole stick. So, like I was saying, the stuffing started out with a whole, huge stick of butter. Then all the ingredients were in the pan and mixed together, so, clearly, it was time to taste. And, y’know, to make sure you get a really good, true sense of the stuffing, you must taste more than once, obviously. So more than one tastes multiplied by three before and after making adjustments = …well, good thing her recipe makes an overabundance of stuffing. :)
Rather late last night, say around 10:30ish, I began making “the” green beans. It went pretty much like it always does, looked pretty much like it always does, and tasted like it always does. I’ll say this – you know you’ve had a good day when your hands still smell like garlic at the end of it. I had a good day. :)
This morning my body just woke itself up early. Too early I thought for Thanksgiving. Although I guess it knew what it was doing because I was then able to help my dad make apple pie and witness the making of the glory that is pecan pie. My dad baking pecan and apple pies; Thanksgiving had officially begun.
This morning also marks the first time I’ve ever made apple pie. Well, kind of. The peeling wasn’t too bad, but I’m not going to lie – that apple corer/slicer required all of my upper body strength. Using it on a high counter probably didn’t help, but it had me getting up on my tip-toes and pushing the corer down through the apples as hard as I could. I don’t know if that means I’m just totally pathetic or the corer is ineffective. I’m kind of partial to the second explanation myself… (Day After Thanksgiving update – my upper arms are slightly sore… :\)
Soon enough the house was filled with the creamy scent of pecan pie, the warmth of apple pie, and the smoky, bacony deliciousness that are “the” green beans. Then off to Grandma’s house Dad and I went. I felt like I was doing exactly what I should have been doing at that time as I walked briskly out of her house to my dad’s open trunk (pies and green beans already occupied the free seat inside the car) in a plaid flannel shirt, oven mitts on, balancing the hot-out-of-the-oven stuffing in a somewhat flimsy foil container on my left hand, my right hand cradling the side of the stuffing. I spent the majority of the car ride exchanging the requisite well-wishing texts with friends and family (it really wouldn’t be a holiday without them – the texts or the people) and tuned into the conversation in the front seat when it turned to food – specifically, the fact that my grandma and I could smell the stuffing inside the car. Happiness.
The three of us pulled up to my aunt’s and uncle’s house at 2 o’clock on the dot. Upon reaching the kitchen we were greeted with exclamations that I, yes, me, was on time. It was wondered out loud many times and with great enthusiasm how in the world they had managed to get me there on time. I offered that 20+ years of nagging probably helped. ;)
The traditional cheese molds and crackers and shrimp cocktail preceded the big feast. The kids, or should I say “kids,” as most of us were over 18, still got to go first. This warmed my heart, but I also found it ironic – we’re not the ones who worked the hardest to put the spread out, but we still get to reap the benefits first. And, sometimes, with Thanksgiving first = best.
Now, the spread. Ah, my old friends. The turkey, of course (not always my favorite item, but shh! don’t tell!), roast potatoes (oooh!), stuffing – which was just fantastic if I do say so myself ;), candied yams with nuts and brown sugar (it’s really not Thanksgiving without them), “the” green beans, mostaccioli – a staple at just about any family event of ours : ), asparagus, salad, butter gravy, cranberry sauce, sausage and peppers, and a totally new item this year – stuffed acorn squash. Turkey, gravy, stuffing, roast potatoes, mostaccioli, green beans, and yams are my favorites. I was very excited to try this acorn squash though. I just like the name. It’s just so “fall” – acorns, nuts, squash, stuffed. Very tasty. I liked just the squash itself – and the stuffing – wild rice, cranberries, and, I think, pecans. Yum. Now I will include some pictures of the spread and my plate – and my cousin’s plate – it had gravy on cranberry sauce – this was new to me.
Went back for seconds of stuffing, yams, green beans, and mostaccioli; sadly, there were no more potatoes. Very sad indeed.
Then it was dessert time. I was sooo not ready for dessert. My stomach was already extended to its limit. Or so I thought. And I still had wine. Coffee goes with dessert, not wine. Dessert spread: one large birthday cake for my cousin’s 21st, one pumpkin pie, one pecan pie, pumpkin bread (another staple courtesy of my cousin), and five, yes, count ‘em, five apple pies. Two were from my aunt’s sister made with apples from her own backyard; awesome. Two more were from my aunt; sadly I wasn’t able to taste any. One was from my dad and me. Well, you can’t have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, although that’s never been my favorite. And we all already know how I feel about pecan and apple pies. And the pumpkin bread has been around so long – it’s turned into such a tradition that I’ve been making it myself for the past few years. So that settled it – three slices of pie and one small slice of pumpkin bread. And coffee. My stomach wasn’t as sure about all of this as my heart was. Well, probably not my physical heart; that was probably like, “Oyyyy, lady, really!?” I’ll say this – I finished at least half to three-quarters of my dessert plate and all of my coffee. I had to make room to try some zinfandel; another Thanksgiving staple for me for the past few years.
Being surrounded by familiar faces of people I love made me smile – and laugh – more than once. What? My family’s funny. And, again, looking down the long table that’s always brought out for holidays at my aunt’s and uncle’s, I was reminded how special and important family is. I mean, without them there would be much less teasing and criticizing and we just couldn’t have that now could we? ;)
So that’s the story of my nausea and headache (and heartwarming happiness) A.K.A. Thanksgiving 2009. It was awesome and totally worth it, not totally unexpected, and relatively normal, which is good – at least the heartwarming happiness part.
Around 10:30p.m. I put in a ‘Friends’ Thanksgiving episode and finally had something to eat for “dinner.” Then a ‘Roseanne’ Thanksgiving mini-marathon. Now probably ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Thanksgiving episodes and bed. And probably chocolate milk.
Next – to start planning the next Thanksgiving celebration…which is probably going to be this weekend with friends. Looks like that is turning into a tradition as well :). I had a truly happy Thanksgiving, and for that I am thankful.
And one last thing –
It is now – and only now – appropriate to begin playing Christmas music, running Christmas commercials, and engaging in activities that concern Christmas and other December holidays generally. Thank you.
Love and kisses,