While I was talking to my good friend, B the other day, I discovered that she was embarking on a journey of the Virgin Bird territory. It was hard to believe that after almost 20 years of marriage she had never prepared a Thanksgiving turkey. She's an accomplished cook and fabulous baker, so I just assumed that cooking a turkey for her was old hat. Truth be told, she's never had to prepare the Thanksgiving bird. She's always gone to a relatives or friends for Thanksgiving dinner.
When I thought about it, I realized that I just started cooking the "Bird" a few years ago. I too, was in the family Thanksgiving boat. (And I don't mean gravy..) we would alternate our Thanksgiving dinners at either parent's homes. It wasn't until about six years ago that I decided I wanted to attempt the bird thing on my own. I then started my day after Thanksgiving turkey dinner tradition. Regardless of where we celebrated Thanksgiving, I would prepare another, (albeit smaller version) of Thanksgiving dinner on the Friday after. Last year was my first ever (after 19 years of marriage) of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner.
The reason for this gluttony? Basically to prove to myself that I could master the task. Cook the turkey, make the gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc...on my own, all homemade without the help of Mom or others. It was my own challenge. I wanted to be able to create my Thanksgiving memories for my kids and future grandkids. I didn't want to be 50 years old and never having mastered this Holiday meal.
Jump ahead several years, and I feel pretty good that I've got this meal down. I've fine tuned different side dishes, so we have our regular must haves- and not just the ones from the grandmothers. It's nice to have these traditions. This of course can be spilled over into the Christmas holidays.
Thinking about the upcoming holiday season right now- is enough to give me a stomach ache. I have so much stuff going on right now, I can't even begin to process how in all that's holy am I going to get everything done for Christmas? We celebrate Christmas with Beloved's side one week from this Saturday! It's making me cranky and want to take a permanent union break and not do anything. Part of me wants to introduce "Christmas Light" this year. Thinking that way goes against my previous paragraphs, me wanting to create these perfect memories for my family. So in honor of Thanksgiving- I'm going to allow myself a change in thinking.
I'm going to get a grip and realize what's important- my family and friend's health and well being. It's not about creating the perfect memory- but about creating the memories as they happen. It doesn't have to be about setting the perfect holiday scene- but about making sure those you surround yourself with are comfortable. The food and drink don't have to be award winning- just fulfilling and nourishing. The gifts I give don't have to be the best- just thoughtful and heartfelt.
Ok- that's my mantra for the next 4 weeks. I wish that for all of you too- enjoy what's meant to be enjoyed and don't sweat the small stuff.
That being said- I'm still preparing a turkey on Friday- and I'm brining that bird, baby! IMO- the best way to cook a turkey! Enjoy!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!