Michael is out playing "Turkey Bowl" Football. Evan is asleep (yes, it is almost 11:00 in the morning!). Lane is searching for Michael and the "Turkey Bowl" game; I'm assuming he found it, since he hasn't come home yet...Joshua is upstairs making a Thanksgiving Day craft--I'm not allowed to look, only to print out the turkeys. I am here, enjoying the peace and quiet (and the after Thanksgiving Day sale ads).
Michael, after listening to me whine and complain about the work and the mess and the work and the mess and the work and the mess (get it? He finally did, too) of Thanksgiving, did the most wonderful thing (besides buying me awesome boots). He helped.
Last night Michael gathered the family into the kitchen (after instructing me to purchase all necessary ingredients ahead of time) and put everyone to work making food for Thanksgiving Day. In my world Thanksgiving has always been about the appetizers before dinner, and pie after dinner. Not about dinner. So last night everyone helped me make yummy finger food (chili dip and chips, Little Smokies in BBQ sauce, driveway dip, apple dip, vegetable tray, cheese ball, etc.) plus yams, rolls, mashed potatoes, and apple pie. Then they helped me clean it up! So here I am on Thanksgiving morning with a full fridge, baked goodies, and a clean kitchen! It's a Thanksgiving Day miracle, and I am thankful!! I sense a tradition in the making here...
I am also thankful that I don't have to cook all the rest of Thanksgiving dinner. We are going to Michael's parents' house for dinner. Marianne is the consummate dinner party hostess. The house will be decorated from porch to porch, table to table, counter top to counter top. Her beautiful Thanksgiving spread will look every bit as beautiful as this, in fact, more so:
My dear, sweet mother-in-law is from Sweden, but has succeeded in making as glorious and American a Thanksgiving Dinner as possible. It really is spectacular. I love to hear her tell the story, though, of her first Thanksgiving meal. She was newly married, and newly American, and wanted to pull off a feat of wonder: a real turkey dinner for her husband. Gary's only instruction to her was, "It had better taste like my mother's." With that to go on, she worked on making the stuffing and all the trimmings and, of course, cooking the turkey. With no one to call for help (her mother-in-law relationship not being nearly as peachy keen as mine is), she called Gary's secretary for some turkey advice. The secretary told her that the turkey was done when the drumstick would pull off easily. This probably would have been sufficient if only Marianne had known that the drumstick was part of the turkey. Instead she searched all through their tiny apartment for a drumstick, and found one in a gift basket that had a small drum set included in it. She pulled the miniature drum stick out of the gift basket, put it into the turkey, and voila! When it indeed pulled out easily, Marianne pulled out the turkey!
Of course she's had years of successful turkey dinners, so it really is unfair to bring up the ones that weren't so great, but those just happen to be make such good stories! Last year Marianne flooded her newly refinished wood floors while thawing the turkey (she forgot to turn off the water in the bathtub with the turkey in it) so Thanksgiving Dinner was at my house. She brought all the decorations she could manage, and tried to make it look somewhat beautiful, but it was nowhere near her level of gorgeous. The food was good, though, and we all (barely) fit, so what more could you ask for?
So, anyway, while I'm here relaxing on a lovely Thanksgiving Day, Marianne is bound to be at her house decorating, preparing, and cooking up a storm. The results are certain to be amazing. Amazing or not, Lane keeps telling me that he wishes we could do away with turkey altogether. He hates turkey, and would definitely appreciate and agree with this:
Sorry, Lane, the Vances aren't likely to break with turkey tradition!
As I mentioned before, my mother-in-law is from Sweden. Surely you remember the Swedish cook from Muppet Show days...I love speaking the "Swedish" I've learned from his cooking shows, and certainly enjoy knowing where Marianne learned to cook (just kidding, except when it comes to Christmas Eve dinner, which is all very Swedish, and all still a bit scary to me...). Here are the instructions for a perfect holiday meal:
First, the Turkey (okay, so it's with a chicken. Just substitute birds as needed.).
Then, and most importantly, dessert:
Or, if you prefer, donuts:
Just make sure, whatever you do and whatever you eat, you have a very