I say all of this now because this post will include it all: the sickening perfection and the horror of it all. But this was a great Thanksgiving, regardless of the eventual outcome. We cooked, we laughed, we cleaned.
We approached this Thanksgiving, our first alone with just the six of us, our first in Las Vegas, our first where the four girls and I would be doing 100% of the cooking 100% from scratch, as an opportunity to establish tradition. The tradition we established? That the process is more important and fun then the outcome.
Let us begin a week and a half prior. In Family Home Evening, everyone was given the opportunity to make requests for the menu. I spent the next week fine tuning and organizing and shopping. A few days before Thanksgiving, we met again for the assignments: everyone would help. Everyone would have several jobs. All went great. The girls were excited to embark on this new journey, the turkey was on sale, the recipes were tracked down. I made a schedule for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday that would distribute all of the work so the Thanksgiving could be relaxing.
Tuesday we began. We made sugar cookies, put together our goodie plates to deliver to new friends and teachers. We got out all the ingredients, recipes, and cooking equipment. We did all the dishes so we could cook in a clean environment.
Here was the schedule:
Appetizers: ready by 11:00
Eric's Bacon-Wrapped Scallops – McKayla (Thursday 9:00am - make marinade, marinate scallops for one hour, wrap in bacon, skewer, cook)
Kirsti's Artichoke-Cheese Dip in a Bread bowl – Madison (Wed – chop artichoke hearts, mix together dip, store in fridge, Thursday 9:00am prep bread bowl, filling with mixture, cook and toast sourdough)
Crudites with Ranch Dip –
Dinner: eat at 3:00
Maya's Favorite Salad – Maya (Thursday 1:30 prep salad)
Truffle Butter Turkey - McKayla & Madison (Thursday 9:00 am prep and start to roast)
Sweet Potato Souffle – McKayla (Wednesday – prep, Thursday – bake at 1:00)
My Daddy's Mashed Potatoes & Gravy - McKayla & Madison (Wed night – peel potatoes, Thursday – 1:00 start potatoes; start gravy)
Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms - Maya & Monterey (Wed – prep filling, wash mushrooms, assemble, Thursday – bake at 2:30)
Orange Zested Cranberry Sauce – Madison (Wed – make, store in fridge)
Homemade Rolls - McKayla & Madison (Start as soon as
Dessert: serve at 5:00
Pumpkin Pecan Pie –
Leaf and Turkey Sugar Cookies – All (Bake on Tues; decorate on Thurs)
Brownies – Maya (Bake on Wed)
Everything went perfectly. I mean it. We all worked together. There were no last minute runs to the grocery store. Nothing burned. The Pecan Pie set beautifully. The Cranberry Sauce could have won a throw down with Bobby Flay. No cuts. No broken dishes or fingernails. Everyone got along. I did forget to buy the ingredients for the salad, but honestly, we could live with that. We ate all the veggies on the veggie tray before dinner so I think we were in great shape veggie wise. The rolls were a dream.
We sat down to dinner. I was so proud of the girls. They really worked hard and they were proud of everything they had accomplished. I truly believe that when children cook their own food, they are more inclined to try new and different food. Everyone ate everything. It was beautiful. We were able to have relaxing dinner conversation, without having to worry about impressing anyone (that is code for some extended burping contests) everyone was positive and complimentary towards every ones cooking efforts. We had good conversations about what we liked about having Thanksgiving this way and what we missed about not having it with extended family. Everything was very positive. Dinner took a while. It was glorious and lovely.
Maya and Monterey wanted to eat brownies. I told them to go ahead. They went over to the buffet table and there was a bit of a struggle over a particularly large, luscious looking brownie. A few words were exchanged, a little struggle and boom. The table went down. The food flew up. One side of the legs had buckled. Everything was down. The pie was completely saved. It landed right side up, away from the broken ceramic bowls. Everything else was on the floor. Mixed together.
This follows in a long line of holiday disasters. I immediately thought about A Christmas Story and the dogs eating the turkey, They ended up in a Chinese restaurant eating Peking Duck with the head still attached. Then there was Christmas Vacation where the turkey was so dry and there was cat food in the jello. There was even The Brady Bunch wedding where the boys' dog was chasing the girl's cat and the wedding cake went down.
Then there were the extended family stories: the devilled eggs made with cat pee, multiple throwing up stories, a few fights, some drunk extended family, and a few others I could mention but won't because the people involved are still alive and kicking.
So what do I have to be grateful for? We had already finished dinner. We did not end up in an emergency room (see the 4th of July post.) Most of the turkey was still in the kitchen. The rolls were not involved at all in the incident. There was no yelling or screaming or blaming (except that Monterey claimed that either Jesus or a ghost did it - but the deflection of blame is almost an art form for Monterey.) We all worked together to clean it up, sweep, mop, throw away without anyone being asked. We even saved a few brownies. The pie was safe. None of my beautiful Polish pottery was broken. The only broken dishes were old and not really my favorite things anyway. We probably did not need the calories from all those yummy leftovers anyway.
Something always has to go wrong. This was simply our homage to Murphy's Law. But I am so glad that THAT went wrong instead of so many other things that could have gone wrong. We will always remember this Thanksgiving. Without that incident, this would have been a blur in a couple of years. Now we can always look back and laugh and say "Remember the time when all the food went down and we had no leftovers?