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.



  1. *heaves a brick* Whaaat? You said to drop by and throw bricks at you! Oh, you meant that figuratively? Sorry! *VBEG* So what’s this dip recipe that’s so yummy? And what do you put in your stuffing? Enquiring minds want to know.


    1. The dip… from my cousin, Kelly Potter: 16 oz Hellman’s real mayo (pick your brand…) 16 oz sour cream 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons dill seed 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons dry parsley flakes 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons dry onion flakes 1-1/3 teaspoon Lowry’s seasoned salt 1/4 teaspoon + a pinch garlic powder Stir to combine, refrigerate, and serve with chunks of pumpernickel bread. The dressing: I start with Pepperidge Farms herb dressing mix and P-F cornbread dressing mix in equal measures, add a little bit of sweated diced onion and celery, about a stick of butter, melted, some sage powder, and turkey broth (chicken broth works in a pinch) to soak the dressing mix and leave it a little bit on the wet side so that it’s just right when it’s done cooking. Dust the top with sage, and bake about 45 minutes to an hour, until it’s hot all the way through and there’s a bit of crust on top. Nothing fancy, but it’s consistent and very very tasty.


      1. Hmmm. I’ve never tried putting corn bread in. I’ll have to try that. Not for Thanksgiving, but maybe for the pheasant I stuff for Christmas. That’s dill SEED in the dip, not dill WEED? Just checking.

      2. Yep. Dill seed. Not dill weed. And I neglected to mention the oven temperature for the dressing: 325F (163C), although 350F (177C) will work just fine, if a bit quicker, if you’re also doing something else at 350F.

  2. I’m thinking that between the LJ-moniker of the other commenter and mine, people are going to wonder just who your friends are. 😉 A bit more on topic… with Steve also teaching this fall, we’ve decided we are just too darned tired to do the shopping, food preparation, and clean up for a Thanksgiving dinner at home for only two people. So we are going to go out to a nice restaurant and let someone else set the food down in front of us, leaving us having to do nothing more strenuous than eat it.


    1. That’s not a bad idea, Mary, for you and Steve. Me, I kind of like the challenge of cooking, and there’s a little bit of “something to prove” since K doesn’t necessarily give me a lot of credit in the cooking department beyond my chili (as opposed to her chili), gravy, and chicken-fried-steak (none of which she’ll eat…). It’ll be good. 🙂


      1. It’ll be good. 🙂 And it was good. Yum. Stuffed to the gills. Turkey was tender and juicy — two thumbs up for brining first. Dressing was borderline too dry — that was my fault, didn’t use enough liquid. Rolls were great, potatoes were wonderful, gravy turned out pretty good considering I didn’t have much in the way of pan drippings to work with and had to improvise. Have to remember that for next year if I do a breast only again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s