November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and All That Jazz

This year, my husband and I are making the grand dame of the Thanksgiving meal for the extended family of 20 some people - the turkey. Am I nervous? Yes. Should I be? Probably not.

It is amazing how the countdown to Thanksgiving can send you in a tailspin if you are making most of the food, especially a 16-22 pound ball of meat which can go very wrong at any point. Nobody wants a dry turkey. Undercooked, it will be the death of you. The turkey is always the center point of the magnificent feast.

I started out a couple of weeks ago searching Food Network,, and various other food websites and cookbooks to try and find the top rated turkey recipe. You see, I love to cook. I love to try new recipes. But when it comes to making a turkey and serve it to 20 some people, the thing that worries me the most is will it turn out well, taste relatively good, and how to make sure the stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and the big ol' turkey are done at the exact same time and it all turns out looking like it could be on the set of Leave It to Beaver. (Although, I'm sure some of that food was plastic.)

I decided to use Alton Brown's turkey recipe. It is the number one rated recipe on Food Network, over 4000 people have tried it. You know when my husband comes home and tells me even his coworkers have used this recipe, it must be pretty popular. We are going to have our Thanksgiving on Saturday because most people have in-law houses to go to on Thursday. So we'll see if it turns out.

And really, is the food supposed to be the highlight of the day? What Thanksgiving is really about is giving thanks, not an annual feast where you wonder if you should have eaten that second helping of stuffing because now you have to unbutton your pants or go sit down to let the carbs wear off. It's about doing what you love to do with family around: watching a football game, seeing a blockbuster at the movie theater (I'm going to see Life of Pi), spending time catching up with your childrens' lives, sleeping a few more extra hours - stuff we seldom have time to do when we are running the rat race to get everything done in our normal lives.

So, here are my two Thanksgiving wishes for you. One. Spend time on yourself, doing what you love to do. Relax. Enjoy the day. If that means for a mom to get to sit down and raise up her feet, do so. If for dad's, it means watching ESPN sports or sleeping in the middle of the afternoon, do so. If for children, it means having fun and getting away from school to watch a good movie, play a video game, or chat with hometown friends, do so. Spend time doing something you love.

Second wish. Be thankful for what happened to you this year. We are surrounded by many blessings, most we do not realize. My friend was in a horrible accident, he walked away fine. My dad broke a bone in his leg, but is recovering well. Our dog died and I screwed up taking her to the vet. But several times before in her life, good fortune was on our side. She turned out okay. When she sliced her leg and we got her to the vet in time, when she swallowed throat lounges and it wasn't poisonous, when she got out from underneath the fence and always showed up on the front porch waiting to be let in, not lost. All of us are surrounded by great blessings in our lives which are interwoven with hardships. And although it is difficult to remember this (believe me, I know) we have to hold on to those positives, those good fortunes we have had, when bad things have happened this year. There is always a parallel good scenario to a bad situation. Be thankful for the good.

I will try and remember my words when I am full of anxiety with that turkey on Saturday. Because really, it is a turkey! It is all about perspective. And now, I will bid you farewell. My daughter is waiting for me to play Barbies with her. I think she said we are going to play Fashion Show. (She has one Ken doll with a missing leg which I know I'll have to get stuck with. How do you have a one legged Ken model pants in a fashion show.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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