Sunday, November 22, 2009

You Never Forget Your First Time






Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner! Get your mind out of the gutter.

Every year I want to make Thanksgiving Dinner. I look through my binder of recipes (it's white, from Staples, some are written, some are ripped out of magazines, some are photocopies of cookbook pages, with colored dividers separating them by type of meal), and watch the Food Network for new takes on stuffing or side dishes. We alternate families every year, this year we are staying in town and going to Mike's Aunt's house, otherwise we head to my Mom's. We're trying something new this year, and bringing a cheese fondue for an app, I'm still working on ideas for it.

So nine years ago we were going to Long Island for Thanksgiving, and my Mom tells us she's bailing on the family, and going to Paris with a friend for the Holiday. After panicked phone calls from my sisters and brother, I decided to take on the meal.
I still have all my notes from the planning of the day, I shopped and researched every possible way to make turkey. I hemmed and hawed about side dishes and desserts. We were living in Rochester at the time, my Turkey 10K was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so I was able to keep that in my schedule. My Dad decided to come to dinner since my Mom wasn't going to be there (they're divorced), one of my BFF's was coming, and after some trepidation, my Uncle and Grandfather decided to attend as well. My Uncle is funny, as the above photo shows, he never takes his coat off. Luke does this sometimes too, so I'm wondering if it's genetic.
The day arrived, Mike and I were up early after the obligatory visit to the bar the night before, to see everyone else who was in town. We decided to cook the bird upside down for the first half hour of cooking, then rotate it on one side for 15 minutes, then 15 minutes on the other side, then right side up for the remainder of the time. I read that this ensured a juicy bird. My mom made her famous Pilgrim Potato's before hand (mashed, mixed with cream cheese and sour cream, and baked) and she said we absolutely could NOT forget my Grandfather's creamed pearl onions. He has since passed on, but he loved those frozen onions by Bird's Eye.
We spent the morning cooking, cleaning, getting the apps out, setting the table, and enjoying each other's company. It's funny how you have to have the same things every year, for my sister it's onion dip and chips. So we had that, along with cheeses and crackers. And wine....and beer. The meal came together right on time, the turkey looked perfect if I do say so myself, and it tasted great. Mike made gravy from the drippings, and we had the following: sausage and onion stuffing, mashed butternut squash, green bean casserole, glazed baby carrots, corn souffle, mashed potato's along with the Pilgrim, cranberry sauce, and rolls.

We had a nice prayer, and were quiet as we dove in. Until I looked at my Grandpa, and whispered "Pearl. Onions." My brother shot out of his chair, we heard the freezer door open, and the microwave turn on, so all was well.

After the meal people came in and out of the house, friends of mine, and of my siblings. Dessert was pumpkin and apple pie, fruit and my potato chip shortbread cookies that I make during the holidays. The weather was cool, with a bit of sun through the clouds. I felt so content that everyone had a great meal, was happy and relaxed. During dessert my Grandpa pulled out some vodka and sprinkled it over his fruit salad, and he said that it helped to bring out the flavor of the fruit. That still cracks me up.

Later on I spoke with my Step Mom, and she said "So how does it feel to be a grown up?" I was married and on my own, but what she said made sense, making your first holiday meal is a rite of passage of sorts. And I can't wait to do it again.
Happy Thanksgiving.

19 comments:

Susan Fobes said...

What a wonderful story! I made dinner only once for my family when my husband and I were first married, but I don't remember being calm like you. And to say I was stressed would be an understatement!
(btw: Your spread was huge! You can come over and have Thanksgiving at my house this year! LOL!)

Life with Kaishon said...

What a great post. I am stopping over from SITS! I love this! I love your binder idea too. Clever! My Mom still cooks on Thanksgiving and for that I am VERY thankful as I am a terrible cook : )

♥ Teresa ♥ said...

Great memories!

I'm stopping by from SITS. I just wanted to share a bit of comment love! ♥ I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday.

Blessings,

Teresa <><

IN SICKNESS and IN HEALTH: Communicating With Your Spouse About Chronic Pain

http://toomanyheartbeats.blogspot.com/2009/11/in-sickness-and-in-health.html

Amo said...

I wondered what this story was about after reading the title! My mind must be in the gutter!

I still haven't taken on the cooking of the Thanksgiving meal yet. I'm not much of a cook, so I think it would send me over the edge. We go to my husband's uncle's house and then to my mom's every year and I just bring a dish to each place!

Your first time sounded like a lot of fun!

Ronnie said...

I had the feast at my house last year and I must admit that I prefer bringing a dish to someone else's house. Glad you enjoy it!

blueviolet said...

It obviously is a very fond memory, because you remember so many of the details! :)

Kelly said...

Glad to hear about the sugar cravings that are no more! I've been thinking about sugar a lot, but it's been 12 weeks!! I'm taking this week off, and then I'm back on the wagon. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Sophia's Mom said...

It truly was a memorable Thanksgiving for you! When are you going to host again?

http://www.thewannabewahm.com

Gayle Jackson said...

What a great memory...and don't you love watching the Food Network during the Holidays? Inspiration and frustration but always hope! Happy Thanksgiving! (found you through SITS)
Gayle
www.kafkassister.blogspot.com

Tara said...

Aren't memories a wonderful thing? I enjoyed your story. I must admit, I saw your title of your post on my blog and my mind was totally in the gutter (it stays there a lot sometimes). :)

I like the new look of your blog. I've seen a lot of blogs lately from the cutest blog on the blog; may have to check it out!

Shell said...

You're so lucky that your first try turned out so great!

warmchocmilk said...

I'm not a good cook myself. But we do often run/walk a Thanksgiving day 5k in our area to raise money for the food shelf. :)

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

Loved this story! And yes, it is a rite of passage! My first Thanksgiving, I left that baggy of parts in it and cooked it that way. OOOPS!

♥ Teresa ♥ said...

Hi Molly!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for leaving such a sweet comment! I really do appreciate it. Receiving comments always brightens my day! :0) I'm going to become your 'Follower' and in the coming days, I'll be coming by to read your blog more often. I hope you have an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving.

Many, many blessings,

Teresa <><

Melissa B. said...

I'm sooooooooo into Turkey Day! We cook too much, we eat too much, and we sit around in our PJS-all blessed day long! SITS sent me by, and I'm glad they did...

Toy Story

Sarah Brown said...

I am 35 and still have yet to do it! I am great with the sides though=)
Stopping over from SITS=)
PS- I am going to do a 5K not quite ready for the 10 yet!

Honey Bee said...

Aww, such a cute story! Makes me think of my first Thanksgiving meal, I might have to pull out some pictures! :-)
~HB

Coupon Clippin' Mommy said...

We spent our first Thanksgiving at a Cracker Barrel! I'm following from MBC. I hope you will check out my blog when you get a chance.

Christina said...

What a PERFECT Friday Firsts share! I've yet to cook my own Thanksgiving, but maybe someday. J's mom is pretty territorial over any and all holidays and food at them. Thanks for sharing your story and the juicy turkey tip!