‘The upside — and, alas, the downside — of Turkey Day.’
Bless his little birdie heart, that turkey up there looks like he’s flipping me right back. Well, I did roast him, after all.
Many of you will have already seen this photo, which I posted on Facebook before The Dude carved Mr. Turkey up into succulent slices, but after I’d imbibed beaucoup de glasses of wine.
I decided to use it here (the photo, I mean) because A) it got a lot of reaction from my Internet Friends, and B) it gave me lots of good material, in the form of comments. (My opening remark came courtesy Judy R. Thanks, Judy!)
Other clever comments came from Mary Ann B H, who asked if this was “going to be my Christmas Card”, to which I answered “Great idea! If in fact I sent Christmas Cards”. And Debi F, who asked “Did you paint that thing? It’s perfect!?!?!” (No, Debi. No paint was involved in the making of this turkey. But I do have two words for you turkey cooks: convection oven.)
I’m needing all the help I can get with this week’s post because even though Thanksgiving is quite honestly my very favorite holiday (read ‘Turkey Shoot’ for five Rockette-solid reasons why it beats the stuffing out of Christmas), it is also exhausting.
It’s not the preparation that’s exhausting. I rather like the pie-making and vegetable-prepping. I even like the table-setting. In fact, those who honor me with their presence on this Best of All Possible Holidays know that I can be rather a Kitchen Nazi, hogging all the chores for myself. (Though this year I did let the Young and Fit haul out the extra folding chairs.)
Even the last-minute orchestration, I like. The potato-mashing, the gravy-making. (For a hilarious gravy tale involving my father and some cornstarch-and-confection-sugar confusion, read ‘In the kitchen with Dad (and the Coal Miner’s Daughter’.)
Nope. The Getting It All Ready is not the exhausting part.
The exhausting part is the aftermath. That emotional hit that socks you when it’s all over. I mean, here you are, ready for Thanksgiving Day — so ready. And then it arrives and so do the guests, and the aroma of Mr. Turkey in the oven doing his roasting thing is wafting through the house while you’re sampling cheeses and wine with your family and friends.
And then, there you are, squeezing around the table for the Big Dinner (fifteen here this year — a record!) You’re passing the sweet potatoes and the brussels sprouts and the stuffing and the gravy and the cranberries — and the turkey, of course — and being toasted as the hostess (with more wine), which is a very nice part indeed. And then you’re on to the pies; pumpkin and apple and apple-cranberry. But pretty soon — too soon — even the Words-Against-Humanity-and-even-more-wine-part is over, and everybody’s in bed but you.
And why aren’t you in bed? You’re standing at the kitchen sink clutching a dishcloth and yet another glass of wine because you just can’t believe it’s over. That’s why.
Oh, of course there is the next day. I don’t know what you do at your house, but we go on a hike to work up an appetite for demolishing whatever leftovers are left over. Then we mess around slack-lining and shooting pool and playing board games before capping off the day with Big Beef (the recipe for which you can find at the end of the afore-mentioned ‘Turkey Shoot’).
Oh, and we polish off more wine. Maybe we watch a movie (this year was Matt Damon/Jason Bourne). Oh, and we go for more pie, if there’s still some left after The Dude’s attacked it at breakfast.
But the end of that day is the same as the end of the day before: me, by the sink, clutching the dishcloth and yet another glass of you-know-what.
And if you think Friday is bad, you don’t want to know about Saturday, when all the People Under 60 leave. Or even Sunday, when our Best Same-Age-Friends (the ones who bring the cheese and wine) take off, and it’s just Me and The Dude. Who immediately disappears outside to do whatever it is Whitmore Dudes do out there. Thank goodness by then I’ve managed to erase all traces of cranberry (eaten), pumpkin (ditto), and turkey (turned into soup). But, thank the Goddess of Post-Holiday Blues, there is still more wine.
Oh. Before I leave you (not to indulge in more wine; it’s way too early for that, even for me) let’s go back to that flippin’ photo I posted up top (and on Facebook). My delightful Cousin Carole commented “I think you should frame this and display it every Thanksgiving…sort of a family tradition.” Thanks, Cuz.
But look what I found (!) The photo below, featuring my One and Only Dad, was taken in a completely different place (at my Middle Younger Brother Roger’s) and at a completely different time, but it seems to capture my family’s attitude toward traditions pretty well. And not just on Thanksgiving.
Amagansett, New York. November 2016