Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Countdown to Christmas

Ye gods, it's the first day of November and I'm already looking at Turkey recipes in preparation for Thanksgiving. I've also started receiving countless Christmas catalogues from Harry and David, Crate and Barrel, Chef's Catalog, Disney, and other places I have purchased from in the past. I leaf through all the shiny, pretty pages and wistfully long for the lovely china, linens, pots and pans, gadgets, furniture, and other gee gaws that I absolutely have no room for. I wish Cash in the Attic would come to my house, pick out all the things I don't want anymore that might have some intrinsic value, and then auction them off so I could buy more things to fill my house with.

I try to decide what to buy Son for his upcoming birthday but remain decidedly undecided. Anything I choose must be purchased online and shipped directly to Son and Wife at her office. Then, there's the Christmas presents to send. I would love to purchase lots of nice things for them, but we have already decided to adhere to the K.I.S.S. principle this year: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Believe it or not, other than purchasing the above-mentioned items for Son and Wife -- drum roll if you please -- I am finished with my Christmas shopping! This is a first in my lifetime. My usual modus operundi is to wait until the week before Christmas and then shop in one fell swoop because that's when the retailers are panicking and mark everything down to the prices the items should have been all along.

But, not this time. Husband and I have already done the deed and everything is sitting there patiently waiting to be wrapped in lovely Christmas paper. And, we didn't spend a fraction of what we usually spend every year. What we did purchase, however, will no doubt please everyone as much as usual.

Now that the majority of our Christmas shopping is done, I can concentrate on Thanksgiving. Son and Wife will be unable to join us this year, so I again ponder whether I wish to go through all the bother and expense of fixing a Thanksgiving dinner. Tradition in our family states that EVERYTHING for this special meal must be made from scratch. The menu is ALWAYS the same: deviled eggs, fresh salad, olives (both black and green), cranberry relish, real mashed potatoes slathered in real butter, real giblet gravy, real sweet potatoes slathered in real butter, real maple syrup, brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and topped with marshmallows, homemade bread slathered in real butter, beautiful turkey that has been marinated for 24 hours in mother's secret marinade, real stuffing made with homemade chicken broth, and real, homemade pumpkin pies topped with real, made-from-scratch whipped cream. It's a meal meant to tempt your sense of smell, tantalize your taste buds, and clog your arteries for a lifetime.

I usually spend hundreds on the ingredients, weeks in planning, days in preparation, and minutes in eating. (Last year we actually got up to 20 minutes.) We all end up with distended guts, heartburn, added pounds, and lots of leftovers. By evening, I'm usually so sick of looking at and dealing with food, that I threaten every year to take everyone out to dinner the next year, but of course I never do.

This year, however, might be a first. Husband has already said that since Son and Wife wouldn't be here and my knees are so bad, we should just go out to dinner and forget about all the hard work. Ummmm. Now, that's an original thought. The problem with going out to dinner is that the food won't taste like mine, you have to pay for seconds, and there won't be any leftovers. Plus, we would have to dress up for the occasion to go out in public. Now, what's the fun in all that?

What will going out to eat Thanksgiving dinner say to Dancer Girl and Little Sister -- that their grandma doesn't want to cook for them anymore? My most precious memories of my long-dead mother are of all the time my sister and I spent preparing meals with her and how her food tasted. The wait for the food to get done cooking was almost unbearable but the results were worth every minute spent salivating in anticipation. Pavlov would have been proud of us. Even her chipped beef on toast was a gourmet treat! So, I'll just have to think twice about the tradition of it all before I decide whether I want to eat someone else's tastless bird and their puny fixings.


At November 01, 2005 8:00 AM, Blogger Alipurr said...

Alipurr says it is time to start teaching the babies, and passing on a little of the traditional duties. Guess what your baby is 34 and I think it is about time she learned how to bake a turkey properly. There is only so much to learn by watching others. Most people learn by doing. The only realy decision next is, my house or yours....I think it should be potluck, we don't want you to get rusty.....we can let Grandpa bring the nuts

At November 01, 2005 8:23 AM, Blogger Motherkitty said...

Giving up control, that's the hard part. You are, of course, right and you should learn to bake a turkey properly. Please, can we do it at my house this year, then you can have it forever? You will have to come the day before, however, to actually do everything that must be done (other than just sticking the bird in the oven) in preparation. Think about it.


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