I haven’t hosted Thanksgiving in quite a while. My brother & I split the holidays this time of year – he & his wife host Thanksgiving and I host Christmas. But once upon a time I did indeed host Thanksgiving and enough time has finally passed to share this story. After this experience I’m surprised I ever was willing to host a holiday again. Even more surprised that other people let me.
My first official Thanksgiving happened 14 years ago. I was pregnant with my first child (hugely pregnant I might add since she was born on December 24). I had purchased all necessary ingredients and was ready for a day of cooking. I made all my side dishes and desserts in the morning so I could have the oven for the turkey all afternoon. The dinner included my husband and I, my brother who was living with us at the time and I think one of his friends – whom I’ve known since they were in grade school together. There’s a chance my husband’s grandparents witnessed this fiasco also but that might have been a different Thanksgiving.
At any rate, I pulled the turkey out in the morning to see if it had defrosted. It was still frozen. Not just slightly frozen but ice block from Antarctica frozen. I got all resourceful and tossed it in the bathtub with cold water that I diligently changed every 30-40 minutes. I couldn’t use my kitchen sink because I had so much cooking to do all morning. Besides the turkey was all wrapped up so it wasn’t that gross.
(Okay, it might have been gross.)
At 2pm I retrieved the turkey from its day long bath and… it was still frozen of course. Not quite as rock hard though so I figured I could just roast it anyway and it would take a little longer. Dinner was planned for 4pm. I started checking on the turkey at 5pm. And 6pm. And 7pm. If I remember correctly we finally sat down to dinner at 8:45… though it might have been after 9pm.
Since it was Thanksgiving none of us had eaten all day (well, I’m sure I did being pregnant and all). So waiting until 9pm for dinner – a dinner that most people eat around 2-3pm – was a bit excessive to say the least. I was the worst hostess ever that day.
While I’m in a sharing mood… let me tell you about my first Thanksgiving dinner. My husband & I were living in Iowa and couldn’t come home for the holiday. We decided to recreate all of our favorite parts of Thanksgiving so we wouldn’t be as homesick. I made mushrooms sauteed in burgundy; broccoli, cheese & rice casserole; two kinds of dressing; mashed potatoes and of course a turkey. All in the galley kitchen of our one bedroom apartment. There wasn’t enough room on the counters to put out all the food. We spread it out on the counters and our table (a card table with space for just two chairs). We piled our plates high, set them on our chairs and then found places to put all the food on the counters and in/on top of the stove. It might have been a bit excessive for just two people.
So this Thanksgiving I should be thankful that I’ve become a better hostess.