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What Is Better Than Celebrating Thanksgiving?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a crime scene cook, meaning when I’m busy in the kitchen, the place looks like a crime scene. Cooking to me isn’t about preparation, it’s about passion and if you’re going to make a big meal then I say then do it with gusto. The folks who chop everything before hand or use their food processors are missing out on all the fun.

I just made my 31st Thanksgiving dinner and it sure has gotten easier over the years. That’s how it’s supposed to be. You do something long enough and you get better at it. I’ve never had a disaster in all these decades of cooking turkeys and that’s actually something to be proud of. A lot of people end up at a Chinese restaurant on Thanksgiving Day when things don’t go well in the kitchen. God willing, I’ll be able to avoid pork fried rice on the fourth Thursday of every November for years to come.

Thanksgiving is my joy and I love cooking and baking for it and decorating the house and ordering peppermint bark a month in advance and lighting the fire and serving apple cider with champagne. I love the smells and the tastes of the day and the sounds coming from the living room. I love the people who find their way to my table and the whipping of cream and the sounds of ice tinkling in nice glasses.

I even love the dishes and the stack of clean towels for drying them and the last minute rush to the store for thyme and the never truly knowing if the turkey is done. I love how everyone stands around trying to weigh in on whether the turkey is ready to come out of the oven and the way my husband sweats when he first cuts into the breast hoping that the turkey doesn’t gobble.

Thanksgiving is a beautiful day. It is the best day in America. It brings love, food, blessings and gratefulness and all your people to one long table every single year. Name another meal where people will spend $1,200 to fly 3,000 miles to eat a bird with people they love, and even people they roll their eyes at.

Name another day where a bowl of mashed potatoes can solve all the problems in the world, or where people who normally don’t get together very often find themselves sitting across from one another over a bowl of creamed corn.

Take away the food and I believe people would still fly thousands of miles to be at that table.

It’s the feeling they are after-that warm, fuzzy feeling they get in the late afternoon when they’re full and dozing and the football game is buzzing somewhere and there’s a dog at their feet and laughter is coming from the kitchen and the sun begins to set and another day in a year has come and gone featuring turkey. And family. And friends. And butter. And pie.

Thank god for Thanksgiving. Thank god there is a day devoted to gratefulness, to giving thanks, to pumpkin pie, to the person you love who got up at 6 a.m. to put the turkey in. Thank god for daughters who clear the table and friends who bring wine and sons who move chairs and husbands who sharpen the knives.

You see, it’s the very smallest of things we give thanks for on this day. The minutiae of life: the warm kitchen, having enough forks for everyone, white tablecloths, a working stove. Normally, we don’t give these things another thought, but on Thanksgiving we are grateful for it all.

On this day, we see that there is always something to feel grateful for and we gather together to bless our abundance-an abundance of love and food and warmth and time. Every year, I’m happy to have made it to another holiday season. I’m happy I was blessed with another 365 days to make a turkey again.

I’d give up Christmas and Valentines Day for Thanksgiving. And as much as I love it, I’m glad it only comes once a year. Not because of all the work, but because it’s a day we should anticipate and never tire of.

I hope you ate a lot and hugged a lot and also remembered the first people who held a party in the woods of Plymouth, Massachusetts-the first people who gave thanks for their abundance and their family and friends.

Wishing you all the happiest of holiday seasons.

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