Thanksgiving Through The Years

Thanksgiving was never my favorite time of year. I wasn’t that into turkey and I can’t stand gravy on my mashed potatoes. Maybe the not being into turkey had something to do with my experience one Thanksgiving. It was somewhere around 1976 when the microwave had become more popular than a dishwasher. We of course had one and it was as big as a television. It even had it’s own cabinet/stand that it sat on, proudly, in our kitchen.

We cooked everything in that thing. I can remember discovering that eggs exploded and that water would boil in no time at all. That Thanksgiving my mother decided that we were going to do things a bit different. That year, we were going to microwave the turkey. We cooked everything else in there, why not our Thanksgiving day feast?! Well, she found out from the recipe book that you could cook the bird in the microwave but, and this is a big B.U.T. it wouldn’t brown. No crispy and delicious skin holding the turkey together. No real way to tell the turkey was done, other than sticking a thermometer into it. A nice, big skin colored bird. Well, that just wouldn’t do. Not for my mother.

What you may ask was the solution? A little bottle that contained a dark brown liquid. What this was I’m not sure but I can clearly remember my mother telling me that we were going to paint the turkey. She’s an artist so I don’t think the idea seemed that far fetched. Paint the turkey, definitely, that’s what we’ll do!

I can honestly say that it did look brown when it was all done cooking. A nasty kind of brown that was thicker in some places and thinner in others and now that I’m thinking of it I can pretty much say that it was a turning point. I think I decided that year that I just didn’t like turkey all that much.

The year that I spent Thanksgiving with some vegetarians didn’t help either. They still wanted to feel like they were eating turkey even though they didn’t want to eat the real thing. I kind of think there’s something fundamentally wrong with that. I mean, if you’re a vegetarian then why on earth would you want to eat something that looks like a big dead bird??!! It was entire turkey made of tofu. It, again, wasn’t brown. No crispy skin to peel off and eat. There wasn’t even a real substance to it and my gosh that thing cost A LOT of money! I had to special order it from this place in SF. It was in the shape of a turkey at least. They did their best to try to fool you. That year I paid for the artwork of forming tofu into a turkey shape more than I paid for anything to actually eat. I think after about 5 bites I couldn’t stand it anymore. After all of that I resorted for a few years to cooking lasagna and saying that I was just honoring my Italian heritage.

After Matt and I were together and NOT having a turkey on Thanksgiving wasn’t an option, I knew things had to change. Forced to “make this work” as my favorite Tim Gunn would say, I discovered all of the varieties that were possible. Turkeys could be roasted, bbq’d and my favorite, fried! I did have a lot to learn however and it wound up being by trial and error. The first year I cooked the turkey half way through dinner Matt pulled the plastic bag out of the turkey. I didn’t stuff the bird so I never stuck my hand in there! How was I supposed to know that??!!

Now, years later, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I get to cook with my husband some of the yummiest dishes. Stuffing doesn’t have to be from a box and vegetables could include bacon! We all know that everything is better with bacon! We even have a semi set menu. Cornbread, apple, sausage stuffing, brussel sprouts with bacon, fresh cranberry sauce with oranges and of course, a turkey. This year we’re trying a recipe from Giada De Laurentis. It’s turkey with herbes de Provence and citrus. YUM!

I’m looking forward this year to a nice, quite Thanksgiving. It’s just the four of us. I know Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family and friends and most people gather around large tables filled with people and more food that you can eat in a week. But, last year I spent Thanksgiving on an airplane flying home after spending a week with my mom in the hospital.
Maya and family had left some of their Thanksgiving feast leftovers for us on our porch. It was a Thanksgiving filled with emotion and exhaustion. This year it’s going to be quiet. I have so much to be thankful for. Mom is actually doing quite well, better than any of us thought possible. She’s spending the day with her Arizona family and has been cooking for two days in preparation. My sister will be spending the holiday with a ton of people I’m sure. She and her husband are the extroverted social butterflies of the family and me, I’ll be here with Matt and the boys. I’ll be saying thanks for all that I have. An amazing family and wonderful friends, a beautiful home and my health. I’ll be saying Thank You all day long in the back of my mind behind everything that I do. Sort of like a silent mantra that just plays on repeat with each action I take and each hug I give or receive and behind every conversation I have with my friends and family.

Every year is a year to be thankful, but so is every day, every moment. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I wish you love and peace and joy this holiday!

next one

A Day At The Beach

Verified by ExactMetrics