Again, Thanksgiving has come and gone.
Like every other year before this one, Thanksgiving was beautifully laid back. I woke up at a leisurely hour (think 11:30 am), showered, dressed and was on my way to my Aunt’s for 1 pm. Okay, we were supposed to be out the door by 1 pm, but we didn’t leave until twenty after, but I digress. Once at my Aunt’s there was no rushing around and worrying. I sat comfortably on a couch flipping between the football game and the dog show (though to be entirely honest, I can’t stand the latter, it bores me) while munching on the occasional snack. There was a platter of cheese and crackers laid out with pepperoni, even devilled eggs too. But I paid them no mind, I was moreso concerned with saving my appetite for the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes that would be ready soon.
At some point, I was called into the kitchen to mash some potatoes “and I like them light and fluffy” my aunt told me. Funny thing about mashed potatoes, I’ve been making them for ages now and not once have they ever turned out like wallpaper glue. A whole stick of butter went in with some milk and by the time I was done, the once steaming pile of cubed spuds was now a golden, aromatic pile of fluffy… goo. A friend of the family poked her thumb into the mess and popped into her mouth, tasting it. She loved them. No longer needed in the kitchen, I went back in the living room to wait, not liking to hover around the food.
I didn’t have to wait long, the gravy needed to be made and after that was done, those of us who were still in the living room were beckoned into the kitchen to fill our plates. What did I want to eat? Dad had a pot roast that he was pulling pieces from because he can’t eat turkey, but roast can be made any old Sunday of the year. I looked at the table laden with food and finally tucked into a bit of everything. Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, some of the turkey, stuffing and gravy to boot. By the time I’d finished putting things on the plate, it felt so much more heavy than when I’d adventured over to the table. Looking around, there was no place to sit in the kitchen so I took my place back on the couch, eventually being joined by my cousin. There was chatter coming from the kitchen, but as I poked my fork laden with a bite of turkey and potato into my mouth, I didn’t pay anybody mind.
It was delicious. Though I loved every bite of stuffing, turkey and potatoes, to be honest my favourite part of the meal was neither of those. It was the green bean casserole. Yes, green bean casserole like pot roast, can be made on any old Sunday of the year. But it’s not. It’s a recipe that I have come to associate with the holiday season because it’s only served at three meals through the whole year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. So while it may be the supporting character in what’s supposed to be the turkey’s big day, I’ll stick with the casserole, thanks.
While I had been eating, others had meandered their way back into the living room, clearly not wanting any part of helping with the dishes that would need to be done. By the time I finished eating, it felt like so very little time had passed; fifteen, twenty minutes perhaps. When I finished, I sprawled out on the couch, my plate still laden with a slice of turkey and bit of stuffing, sat on the coffee table. In years past, I’d have tried to finish it, but not this year. I was full and ready for a nap. But it was during those moments where I lay curled up that I wondered what it would be like when I was finally in the cook’s shoes.
Would Thanksgiving be a big to-do when I “grew up”? I certainly hoped not. It always confused me (and still does admittedly) to wear your Sunday finest to a holiday meal. You end up ridiculously full and would like to trade your dressy skirt and blouse or slacks and shirt for a pair of lounge pants and a hoodie, or at least, I do. If not for tradition’s sake, I’d have no problem spending my first Thanksgiving with my own family doing takeout, but the want to carry on the family tradition with a nice sit down dinner (without formal attire) prevails. So maybe if I have to slave for hours and hours over a meal that will be eaten in twenty minutes tops, I might as well do it comfortably. Though, it’s not really slaving if I enjoy cooking, but I digress. The idea of wearing bunny slippers while sitting around the table brought a smile to my face.
The afternoon stretched out and soon the sky was growing dark. It was then that we bid farewell to my aunt, thanking her for having us over for dinner, and making my way to my grandfather’s for thanksgiving. By that point, honestly, I had very little to no desire for any dessert. As such, I found myself saying hello to everybody, but left my grandmother to finish getting the rest of their Thanksgiving leftovers squared away. I, instead, made my way to the fire that was roaring in the pit out back. The sky was dark and starry, the evening air chilly, but the fire more than combated the chill. As hours passed, there was beer being drank and wine sipped, laughs were even plentiful. It was the perfect end to a long, rather laid back day.
Before we had left, my aunt gave me a plentiful stack of food magazines to go through and when I got home, they were placed besides my bed so that I’d have them on hand. My clothing reeked of the fire I had sat around, but I didn’t mind, I was too tired to care. My more than casual attire was shed for Christmas themed pants and matching shirt and I fell into bed. The house was quiet, upstairs I’m sure my sisters were getting ready for bed as well. While I laid there, I almost reached out for one of the magazines, curiosity at what I could make in the coming weeks and months nearly getting the better of me… but sleep edged its way in before my hand found one. It was the nap that had evaded me all afternoon finally settling atop me like a blanket.