In years past, we’ve packed up and headed for the big family gathering (my family) somewhere around Tulsa, Oklahoma. This involves a Tuesday-afternoon trip to the vet to board Scooter the cockatiel, followed directly by a departure that evening. Overnight stop along the way, finish up the drive (about 950 miles total each way) on Wednesday, with a goal of arriving in Tulsa in time to have a hamburger at Claud’s (I’m a 3rd-generation Claud’s customer. They know me there), where they’ve been making the world’s best greasy hamburgers since 1954. I get a double-meat cheeseburger with the onions fried in. Highly recommended.
Once fed, we check into the hotel (well, now that the folks are back in Tulsa and have bought a house, we don’t have to do the hotel thing unless we want to), and then hook up with my family for, well, more food. Sleep. Get up in Thanksgiving morning, have breakfast, and head out to 2nd-cousin-Kelly’s place for the big feed. A typical gathering is 35-40 people, the record in my lifetime is, IIRC, 62. Food. Horses (Cousin Keith, Kelly’s husband, is a veterinarian and competitive roper). ATVs (I generally surprise people by being the only one who shows up with his own helmet… but my brain is my most valuable asset, so I protect it). More food. Lots of family. It’s a good time, really.
Friday: the annual gathering of the American Society for the Appreciation of Coney Islands, something founded by my late Granddad Crider. Many folks go shopping. Mostly, we recover from Thursday.
Saturday: we hit the road for home.
Sunday: we arrive home, do some laundry.
Anyway, we’re looking at 30+ hours of driving for about 50 hours in town, plus all the travel expense. And yes, it would be possible to fly and save some time, but two adults plus one teen equals budget-buster on airfare alone.
So we elected to stay home a couple years ago, and we’ve stuck to that plan since. Just the three of us. And since K has elected to be vegetarian, only two of us eat turkey. And neither of us much cares for dark meat. So, instead of a turkey, we got a nice organic, free-range turkey breast this year. As I type this, it’s sitting in a brine solution out in the garage fridge.
We’ll do the pies and start the rolls in the morning. K did her rutabaga (a peculiar northern tradition I’ve never been able to embrace…) today, as well as making Kelly’s dill dip (yum!). When K leaves for her volunteer work at HAVEN (the local abused-women’s shelter), I’m then in charge of executing the rest of dinner: potatoes. Dressing (my family recipe). Turkey, of course. Gravy (I make wonderful gravy). Ocean Spray cranberry goo — with ridges, of course. Green beans (NOT a casserole). Mac-and-cheese for K’s protein course. And so when K gets home, and Miss E arrives from her dad’s, dinner will be served. And it shall be Good. I decree it so, even before I start cooking.
K has long taken issue with my ability to time all the parts of a meal. So I wrote a schedule, with each item listed, its prep/cooking/rest time, and thus its start time backed up from our desired meal time. I resisted the urge to Gantt Chart it in MS Project at work the other day, but I was tempted.
So, to the three or four computer-savvy housecats and parrots who are reading this (as I’ve seen no evidence of humans as yet), may your Thanksgiving be happy, your appetite healthy, and surrounded by people you love, either in person or in spirit.