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November 29, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Twistie @ 12:45 pm

I love Thanksgiving. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love Thanksgiving. A day devoted to enjoying and appreciating the bounty provided to us strikes me as an excellent idea. Taking time out to share our best fortune with others feels wonderful. Oh, and pies are never a bad thing.

That said, I’ve had a couple truly scaly Thanksgivings over the past few years. Mostly they have been caused by the fact that I don’t have a dining room, so I can’t invite more than two people to share Thanksgiving with us…which would make it kind of pointless to roast an entire turkey and make a huge feast. So Mr.Twistie and I have had Thanksgiving with other people for years. Seeing as I love to cook and love to feed people, this has been a tidge on the depressing side for me.

Of course, it doesn’t help that two years ago I did all the cooking, transported the feast across town with the aid of a very sulky Mr. Twistie, and then was met by the spectacle of the owner of the house gagging at the sight of each new dish as it was uncovered, as well as his snide comments on the inedible qualities of my stuffing as he fed it to his dog at the table. Mind you, that’s the same stuffing I’ve been making for the past six years because this guy and Mr. Twistie both raved about it the first time I did it.
That was very nearly the end of Thanksgiving for me.

The same folks have asked me to cook Thanksgiving for them both years since The Incident. I don’t think they understand why I will never do it again.

So for the past two Thanksgivings, I’ve gone to dinner with other folk bringing pumpkin pie with me. It’s okay, but it’s not the way I want to celebrate the holiday.

This year, though, except for the fact that all I got to cook was pie and I had no leftover turkey the next day, was a really nice Thanksgiving that I certainly wouldn’t mind repeating.

We ate with different friends this year. The food was good and it was bountiful. My pie was praised to the skies. Nearly everyone around the table was a musician, so the evening ended in a big jam session. The only person who had too much to drink was a gregarious, cheerful drunk whose worst sin was constant repitition of the same lines and a tendancy to fawn on Mr. Twistie for his musical abilities. I can live with that.
Best of all, there wasn’t one word of body hate all day and all night. Nobody simpered about how ‘bad’ they were for having an extra helping of mashed potatoes or a sliver of pie. Nobody excused themselves for eating a full meal by talking about how much they planned to exercise the next day to ‘make up for it.’ Nobody looked squiggle-eyed at anyone for daring to have some gravy while wearing a double-digit dress size. The one person at the table who has been dieting not only took the day off and left others to make their own decisions, she made the cornbread dressing (Mr. Twistie later said that and my pumpkin pie were the two best things on the table, which made me preen a bit) and ate heartily of it.

So, good friends, new friends, good food, live music, and no anti-body talk. About the only thing that could improve on it is if next year I get to make a little more of the food. Maybe I’ll offer up another veggie dish.

How about those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving? Did you have a good one? What did you do to make it a truly happy day? What would be your perfect Thanksgiving? Or, alternately, what was the worst one you ever survived? And can you laugh about it now?


  1. So wait, some guy very rudely insulted your cooking after you took the trouble to make the food and transport it all across town, fed it to his dog at the table, AND they’re still friends of yours? To the point that you would spend the holiday with them for the two years following?

    You are clearly a far more patient and forgiving person than I.

    Comment by Tiff — November 29, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  2. I was thinking the same thing as Tiff – if that were me, I would not be answering their calls after leaving their house – so I wouldn’t even know they wanted me to be their T-day slave again.
    A non-grateful application of the term “Stuff-it” also comes to mind.

    Sounds like this year was wonderful – kudos to you and your friends for being thankful for the fruits of all your labors and fortunes (vs. guilty/regretful or feeling entitled).

    Comment by g-dog — November 29, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

  3. I made my mom’s sweet potato (with marshmallows on top) recipe for one of the three Thanksgiving dinners I attended this year. I made it specifically for a German guest who had mentioned that it was the one thing she’d always heard about in connection with Thanksgiving — specifically with the marshmallows on top — that she really wanted to taste. I’ve never cooked a sweet potato before and was stressed out for days beforehand, hoping I would do it right. Fortunately, my mom’s somewhat vague instructions were easy enough to follow, and the dish turned out perfectly — just like mom’s. It was a huge hit. Between that and my veggie dish, which another guest mentioned (on his way back for seconds) was the best thing he’d ever eaten, I was very proud of myself by the end of the evening.

    Comment by Cat — November 29, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

  4. Mine turned out to be about the best one, ever. We always cook for my guy’s family but this year we were really feeling the pressure because his dad was recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and the pressure of knowing this could be our last Thanksgiving with him really put the pressure on, more than ever.

    It was weird. On a personal level it seemed like something profound should be done or said but I realized that that was our own selfishness. What he needed was to have a very normal holiday with his family. We purchased a Wii the week before and the entire family played the whole night. We laughed and laughed and had a great time. Even his dad and grandfather. Got some great pictures and made some amazing memories that we’re hoping will carry us through a lifetime.

    At the end of the day, he’s still dying and that really sucks, but we made the best of it.

    Comment by gina at la Matriarch — November 30, 2008 @ 8:01 am

  5. Hosting Thanksgiving has been one of the unexpected pleasures of adulthood. When I was a kid I didn’t love Thanksgiving — my mom, bless her, had a bit of a curse when it came to turkeys. Hers were always super-dry. She would also make boiled Swedish cabbage in vinegar, a dish I hated (in part because the house always smelled strongly not of roasting turkey or buttery mashed potatoes, but boiled cabbage and vinegar).

    Now I’ve been lucky enough to meet a man who roasts an amazing, moist, perfect turkey. We cook the side dishes we like, pick out lovely wines, and our family and friends join us with their own contributions for wonderful Thanksgiving dinners. It’s become one of my favorite holidays, and I look forward to the day when we can fit more than 8 people in our home!

    Twistie, reading about The Incident made my blood boil. And how dare they ask you to repeat that feat after feeding your stuffing to the dog at the table! Gaaah! Ten bucks says they end up eating instant mashed potatoes and Jennie-O pre-cooked turkey breast without your culinary talents. I’m glad you’ve found others to share this holiday with, even if it means you only get to bring pie.

    Comment by Melissa B. — November 30, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

  6. Boy with rude friends like those that you prepared an entire feast for, who needs enemies? I would write them off and never look back!

    Have you thought of having a buffet? If you have a garage you can rent a couple of those long tables and cover them with plastic tablecloths, or borrow card tables from your neighbors, put votives all over and lower the lights – Chez Manolo!

    I have prepared many a Thanksgiving dinner and the most memorable were when I was just starting out! I’d buy mismatched plates and serving platters from Goodwill, decorate my old barn and have everyone help bring the food and homemade Apple cider out there. No electricity but we had kerosene lanterns! There would be barn cats and chickens underfoot and we all just had the best time. Now I have a beautiful dining room, three sets of gorgeous antique china, lovely sterling flatware and most of my relatives and my beloved dad have all passed on. Several other dear friends have moved far away. I am so glad that I improvised my early Thanksgivings, no one cared the surroundings were less than regal. The food was great and plentiful and we could all wear our jeans!

    Please don’t ever deprieve others from you company and hospitality because your home is small..IMPROVISE! Happy holidays to you!

    Comment by Carolina — November 30, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

  7. Twistie: I can’t believe those people! Who does that! You handled the situation perfectly. In terms of entertaining space, why not move all the living room furniture to the sides and then have a bunch of people bring card tables and hold it there? We didn’t have a dining room when I was a kid, I remember we’d push all the furniture to the sides of the living room and push the dining room table together with the kitchen table and two card tables to have everyone for Thanksgiving or Passover. (There wasn’t a dining room and yet we had a dining room table… same way in the next house, we just had a table in the living room)

    My boyfriend and I just moved in together and decided to host a small gathering to fit our small place. Actually it was my idea. Since we’re just starting out, he had to work the day before and after Thanksgiving so he wouldn’t be able to go home which was killing him because his family has some beautiful traditions. My family on the other hand, has kind of fallen apart since Grandma died and my parents moved south. So I suggested that I stay and we hold the holiday here. I had four boys over counting my own and the best part was hearing them all get really quiet once the food was presented. Of course, being boys, the entire “feast” took about fifteen minutes. Funniest part was when I took the turkey out at around 3:00 to put it up and discovered that it hadn’t defrosted yet and it had been in the fridge since sunday. It’s legs were literally encased in ice and I had to tenderly bathe it in the sink, like a baby, for two hours before it fully defrosted.

    The barn sounds idyllic

    Comment by Sara A. — December 1, 2008 @ 2:47 am

  8. This year’s Thanksgiving was one of the best I can remember. My mother (with whom I lived and looked after) passed away earlier this year and I didn’t know what the holiday would bring. My friend B invited me to his house with two of his sons. In the middle of the afternoon I realized it had been an entirely stress-free day, filled with food and family and dishes and noise and fun. My brothers spent the day with their families and all their dysfunction and anger and rants. I felt my mother was looking down on me and all was well.

    Comment by Jane H. — December 1, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

  9. Thank you for the nice comments Sara! The barn parties were fantastic, I didn’t realize how special until I started remembering them. We had some superb times out there, it was in the middle of five acres of heirloom apples and my huge-5 acre vegetable garden. Time marches on…

    I have a very special home – a 100 year old Craftsmen bungalow. It is just me and my 87 year old mom now. I prepared my finest Thanksgiving dinner yet! Brined Turkey breast, Sauasage,Cornbread and almond stuffing. pecan bourban brusells sprouts, baked sherry applesand pecan pie.

    Comment by Carolina — December 2, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

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