Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving simplified. Sort of.

 I love to cook. Love it. As my Father-in-law astutely pointed out to me this past summer, the kitchen is where I retreat when life is overwhelming me. No one questions your alone time if you emerge from it with cupcakes or a pot roast for them to eat. 

I do not, however, like holiday cooking. I find it boring and laden with expectation, and Thanksgiving is the worst of it for me. The only real room for creativity is in the pies. 

For a variety of reasons we spend most holidays with just our immediate family (which includes my dad, who lives here). Zach doesn't cook and my dad, though once a fantastic chef, has hung up his apron for good. That leaves me to do everything. Thanksgiving dinner is a full week's work for me. Last year I went a little crazy. OK, maybe a lot crazy. I lost sight of the point and by the time the turkey hit the table I was feeling cranky, resentful and anything but grateful. Before dinner was over, it was suggested that next year we might be better off eating out. 

This year dad decided that we needed to simplify. "I don't care if all we have is tuna casserole and pie. I don't even care if all we have is pie."

 I considered that. An all pie Thanksgiving has potential, but I'm not quite ready to give up all pretense of a real holiday just yet. I can find a way to make it special without stressing myself out to the point that my turkey is served with a side of crab. 

It turns out, turkey isn't really anyone in this house's favourite food. It's good, but so are grilled cheese sandwiches, and that's not on the holiday menu. I polled the troops and it was decided that prime rib would be greatly preferred. Once we threw out the traditional turkey, no one cared if we have our 5 traditional side dishes plus mashed potatoes and gravy. "Whatever you want to make will be fine mom, as long as there is pie."  So I've decided that we will have roasted potatoes (easy), Yorkshire pudding (easy) and a salad made from a kit from Costco.

The downside of this menu change-up is that it makes the turkey crafts I had planned for the week seem a little ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as prime rib crafts would be, however, so I think we'll stick with the original plan for activities. 

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