Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am very appreciative of my life and the people in it, and I am proud to live in a country that has set aside a day to be thankful. Thanksgiving allows us to focus on the people in our lives–the people sitting around our table. Here are 9 things only Thanksgiving dinner planners would understand.
1. The appropriate time to have a drink is whenever the cooking starts.
Many people use the saying that “it’s happy hour somewhere”. On Thanksgiving happy hour can be at 7 in the morning, because you always cook better with a little wine in your system. Food tastes better with a little wine or booze in it too. Bourbon sweet potatoes, anyone? A cup of white wine inside the turkey keeps it moist. I subscribe to the “one cup of alcohol for the recipe, and one one cup of alcohol for me” technique. This technique is a far cry from being trained in a French cooking school, but it is a lot more fun.
2. You can never have too many folding chairs.
Most tables seat six or eight people. Folding chairs are small and fit in the corners nicely. You can also pair them with the folding table in your garage (it’s out there, probably behind the Christmas decorations). The best people to put into folding chairs are children or guests you may feel impartial about. If you are a guest in a folding chair, you may not be as close to the host as you thought. The folding chair occupant should probably have a plan B location for next year because chances are good you may not be invited back to this house.
3. You can never have too many side dishes.
Let’s face it. The turkey is the centerpiece, but turkey does not exactly have the same taste as baby back ribs. Oh sure, I make it more interesting by filling it with white wine, but I am eyeing the sweet potato casserole or creamed corn long before I make it to the turkey. Turkey is the only meat triathletes eat. How satisfying could it possibly be?
4. If you live somewhere where you can, eat outside.
If you live somewhere where you cannot even imagine eating Thanksgiving outside because of weather, maybe you should consider moving. Believe it or not there are states in this country where the weather will be 75 degrees and sunny on Thanksgiving. Eating outside really brings home the giving thanks idea. Thanksgiving is about the first settlers giving thanks for their first bountiful harvest. It is about celebrating our reliance on the land and the land taking care of us. You can really appreciate the land more when you are outside.
5. If you are eating outside, hang small white lights in the trees.
I am talking about the small Christmas lights. They are festive all year long. They really can make an outside space feel warm and inviting.
6. When all your guests cannot walk around each other’s chairs to get seconds, that’s okay.
Our houses were not built to serve a a 12-person dinner. The table will all of a sudden no longer fit in the room where it has fit all year long. People won’t be able to get past the other chairs to bring their plate to the kitchen or to get seconds. Don’t worry about it. In fact if you use my one cup for the food and one cup for me concept you’ll be too buzzed to care. Which leads me to my next point…
7. Getting too buzzed to care is the best way to prepare for Thanksgiving.
I am not advocating you cook drunk. We use too many sharp knives, hot pans and ovens to be drunk. What I am saying is enjoy the day. Enjoy the cooking, setting the table and even cleaning up. Thanksgiving is about spending time with friends and family, not about everything going perfect. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If the place cards are sloppy or a pie is under cooked, nobody cares.
8. Food tastes better when you cook with the Macy’s Day Parade on the television in the background.
I don’t know why this is the case. It just is. Maybe the parade creates some sort of mystical occurrence in the kitchen.
9. Food tastes better when it is cooked with love.
People can tell when you cook with love. Cooking for and feeding someone is the ultimate sign of love. Without nourishment, people die. When you feed others, you are taking care of them on a very fundamental level. I love to cook. However, I love to cook for my wife and kids more. It is my way of taking care of them and showing that I love them.