I’m OCD. I’m a weirdo. Together those two personalities make a perfect combination preparing Thanksgiving.
My Thanksgiving menu is standard. I have it down to a science. More than two weeks beforehand I print my recipes, schedule, and go grocery shopping. I lay out all my recipes on the dining room table, put a dish they will be prepared in, and gather ingredients to go with each. I measure my dry ingredients out and put in ziplock bags. I have a schedule on a spreadsheet which I hang on my fridge. It tells me what I need to cook in what order. It tells when what needs to go in the oven at what time and what temperature. This handy dandy schedule also tells me where each of my dishes will be staying warm in my kitchen. Yep…I’m a weirdo.
I spend two days on my fantabulous Thanksgiving meal. I prepare most of the dishes on Wednesday. I also get my dining table and tableware organized. On Thursday I bake all my dishes and add the finishing touches to everything.
I had one person tell me I take the fun out of Thanksgiving being so anal. Others think I’m crazy. Well…all I can say..nicely…is that it works for me. It’s my Thanksgiving and I have a pretty darn good system!
I added roasted bananas in one of my recipes this year. Nobody said anything tasted like bananas, so they did their trick. I enjoy my cooking shows. Some of my favorite chefs give me new tips every year. Chef Tyler Florence is one of my favorites. He helped me years ago how to simplify my sweet tater casserole. While I’m cooking, I channel my inner Pioneer Woman. I cook a feast built for a king, with a comfort food edge.
Many years ago I tried to cook everything the day of Thanksgiving like my mom used to do. What many don’t know is I have my own personal Thanksgiving tradition. I never and I mean NEVER stray away from this. My hunka hunka knows to never interfere with this. See…every Thanksgiving morning I don’t start anything until I first watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory while enjoying my morning coffee. I watch the original, not that freaky Johnny Depp version. Every Thanksgiving morning since I was a little girl, my brother, Chubs, and I would watch that movie together. EVERY. YEAR. As I became an adult, I never missed a Thanksgiving without watching it. You have to understand I know this movie comes on at different times, but I never watch it, except on Thanksgiving. A handful of years ago, I nearly keeled over when my VHS tape, yes VHS, jumped during most of the movie. That old tape I had for nearly 30 years was biting the dust. Never fear, folks, my hunka hunka bought me a brand new DVD the following year.
Back to my Thanksgiving feast…
Thanksgiving is my hunka hunka’s favorite holiday. He loves it because it’s all about food, family, and football. No expectations. I want his favorite day special. I cook things he prefers. I go above and beyond. I make sure he’s happy. At the end of the day, he can just relax and watch football.
I got what I wanted…I watched Willy Wonka and enjoyed seeing the happiness in my hunka hunka.
As Willy Wonka so eloquently says at the end of my favorite Thanksgiving tradition, “…don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. …He lived happily ever after.”
I hope you all took a second during Thanksgiving and were truly thankful. You never know when you’ll share that last meal together. Be appreciative. Say thank you to the person who cooked the food. Say thank you to the person who opened their home. Just say thanks for simply being there.