Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Same Thing Happens Every Year

With the exception of a very few times in my life, I can’t remember there ever being more than three or four people at the table for Thanksgiving in my family. I tried to grab my pal Penny before someone else claimed her, but I was too late. So unless something changes between now and Thursday, the group will include me, my bud Margee, and Mom.

So here’s the drill. As I write this, I’ve got a 15-pound turkey defrosting in the garage refrigerator. Sounds like a big bird for three people, and it is, but hey, it was free after reaching the required grocery purchase total. The Scotch will flow, probably my Gentleman Jack for Mom, and cabernet for me in my special monogrammed Tinkerbell wine glass (Tink wants a drink, damn it!) and even though I always promise myself I’ll be more efficient next year, it’ll be the same. Me sweating and swearing in the kitchen to get things done—the rest know not to offer help. The kitchen is too small and I’m a very poor delegator anyway. While the turkey spins on my Ronco Showtime Rotisserie, I’ll prepare enough food to make the casual observer believe this is our only meal for the year, or perhaps the last one of our lives. I suppose that’s common practice on these holidays. There will be stuffing, mashed potatoes, and glazed carrots. I’ll make homemade poppy seed rolls the night before (ha-ha, if I’m organized enough, that is) and let them rise. Dessert is often a flaming cranberry pudding, drowning in brandy or rum and butter, the fire extinguished with a Matterhorn of whipped cream. Baby poop pie, or rather pumpkin pie, for Margee because she’s the most traditional of us all.

Meanwhile, as the alcohol is flowing, there are appetizers going on at the kitchen table, my favorite clam dip recipe and maybe some homemade tzaziki. Hey, my yiayia would be spinning in her urn on my desk if I bought this treat from a store. So everyone is getting stuffed full of chips and crudites before the main meal is even on the dining room table.

All those hours of work, and the whole event is over in 25 minutes. And of course, just to make things interesting, it wouldn’t be a holiday meal unless someone said something to spark an intense discussion [read: hot argument] that on top of everything else will have me swearing that I’m not doing this again next year, even if we have to eat in a diner at a truck stop. But here we are again, and here we’ll be next year, despite everything.

And then there’s Christmas . . .

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