Halloween candy, begone! I coped with the most challenging time of year for me by planning a trip—we just got back from rural New England. The closest we got to trick-or-treaters was the Southwest Airlines counter agent dressed as a Teletubby, which, frankly, was a little creepy and a little funny all at once.
Thanksgiving? Well, we’re not going to be able to leave town again so soon, so I’m making a plan.
You know that saying fail to plan, plan to fail? If I were to put it in cross-stitch in my kitchen, I’d modify it to say fail to plan for Thanksgiving, plan to eat my weight in potatoes and pie.
I’m going to have to cook, and quite possibly bake. I simply love both of those things, and love doing them for people I love. Here are some of the things I’m considering to make it easier on myself.
(1) Garnishing with almonds. I’m allergic, so I won’t risk it. Seriously, this is like the safe-for-everyone-else version of spraying your food with roach spray. What, you’ve never found the willpower to throw something away, then worried you’d grab it out of the trash, so sprayed it with bug spray just to make sure you couldn’t eat it? Oh. (Blushing.)
(2) Spending mad-crazy amounts of money for the most beautiful vegetables available for a crudité platter to end all crudité platters. Asparagus, orange and red bell peppers, broccolini, and roasted baby beets. And watch out for my new bento tools! I plan on stamping stars and hearts out of jicama, carrots, and any other stampable vegetable I can procure. I don’t care what’s in season, and I’m not going to worry about my carbon footprint for this arrangement. To appease the carb-eaters, I may carve out some cabbage heads and fill them with hummus, although I plan to go light on the tahini. I’ll break out the old sterling trays and bowls. I’ll take pictures. No one will be able to resist the power of my veggies.
(3) Puzzles. The dining table will be occupied, so I’m planning on buying or borrowing a card table. I am going to set it up on the porch, away from kitchen smells. When my resolve needs a break, I will retreat and lose myself in a puzzle. Puzzles quiet my crazy mind.
(4) Walking the dogs. If I can rally others to join me, great, but if not, I’ll suit up and lead them, one at a time, on merry romps.
(5) Lay in a bottomless supply of carbonated water. I’m going for pretty glass bottles, imports, not cheap 2-liter plastic seltzer from the grocery. I’m using the crystal stemware. I’m going to savor those bubbles. I’m not going to worry about how silly it is to purchase something that comes at a deeply discounted rate out of the kitchen tap.
(6) Wearing tight pants. This doesn’t really fall into the category of being nice to myself, but, like the almond trick, I’m willing to do whatever it takes when I’m up against a demon day of eating like Thanksgiving.
(7) Eating breakfast. In fact, I’m even considering inviting my parents over for Thanksgiving breakfast since, unbeknownst to them, we may go elsewhere for dinner. Eating lunch is part of the plan, too, but that may need to be with my husband’s family. Which reminds me …
(8) Insisting that we eat each meal at an actual meal time. What is it with holidays? On no other day of the year but Thanksgiving and Christmas in this extended family of ours do people gorge themselves on a meal that starts at 2 p.m. This isn’t Spain, people! It’s Texas and we’re busy. We’re getting up at 7ish, same as any other day, and I refuse to blow my calories on snacks trying to bridge unreasonably long gaps between meals just because it is too much work to plan for lunch during an actual lunch time frame.
(9) Reconsidering turkey. I like it, but it creates the expectation of a fairly traditional meal, heavy on carbs (gravy, overcooked/dry wild rice (which seems to be a family tradition in somebody’s family), butter and cream potatoes, store-bought bread) and carbs masquerading as vegetables (the dreaded green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and crispy onions). If we can get Gulf snapper and oysters, I may be able to sway my dining companions. We can get some sliced turkey breast for their kiddos. I know people will still want carbs, but you don’t put gravy or cornbread dressing on snapper. Automatically, anyway.
(10) Serving from the kitchen. Rather than bring all of the serving dishes out to be passed around at the table, I’m going to see if people would be OK serving from the kitchen. People would then have to get up to get more.
(11) Giving myself a break from trying to control everything. I think some of what I’ve been planning sounds a little cuckoo. I’m not going to be the crazy person who ruins Thanksgiving for everyone else. My husband and friends and I have talked about how we can help each other be healthier, but I’m not going to be the food & fun cop. Unless that would mean I got to wear a hat and have a whistle, in which case … no, no, I wouldn’t do that to them.
What is your plan for Thanksgiving?