I don't usually host Thanksgiving. After our parents died, Thanksgiving was always at my brother Mark's house. He and his wife Hester had a large house with a huge kitchen that included two ovens and lots of counter space. But he and Hester divorced this year and sold the house. My house is the next biggest house in the family and so I offered to host. My house is a decent size and the kitchen is fine for average family dinners, but it is a bit small for cooking holiday dinners.
I started shopping for supplies on the weekend. On Tuesday I did the bulk of the shopping. My nephew Trevor works at QFC and his company gave him a coupon for a turkey up to 24 pounds, which he gave to me for the dinner. I found a turkey that was 23.55 pounds, which was the largest I saw under 24 pounds. As I was wheeling my cart around the store with my 23.55 turkey, three pounds of green beans, two gallons of milk, three quarts of heavy cream, three pounds of onions, and various other items, I saw this young couple with their cart. In their cart was the smallest turkey I have every seen. It was barely bigger than a chicken. And they had all the smallest sizes you could find of holiday items. She was pregnant and they looked excited and happy about shopping for the holiday. I assumed they were spending the holiday alone. In a way I think that was very sweet, but I could never imagine celebrating the holiday without at least a dozen people. This year we had 16 for dinner and that's a small dinner for us.
On Wednesday after I got off work my sister, brother Mark, niece Jessi and I started baking pies. This year we made four pumpkin, two apple, and two pecan pies. We also brined the turkey and made the first phase of Hester's grandmother's apple peanut salad, which involved cutting up the applies and making the dressing and putting them in the refrigerator. We got off to a late start and didn't get to bed until 1 a.m., but it was good to have that all done.
On Thanksgiving day we relaxed for a bit in the morning before we got to cooking. Here's a picture of all the pies. Notice that half a pie was missing. That was the Quality Control team, which declared the pie fit for company.
Then the cooking began. We got the turkey in the oven. My brother Kirk and his wife Jolene were the first to arrive and were immediately put to work snapping beans and peeling potatoes. As the day wore on all the dishes came together--the yeast rolls, scalloped corn, sweet potatoes, and green beans. All our favorite dishes that we only make one or two times a year.
Our goal had been to have dinner ready by 6:30 and miraculously we had it ready by 6:45. That's the closest we've ever been to our goal. I think about my mom who insisted on preparing the entire dinner herself and managed to get it done earlier. I can't imagine preparing the entire meal by myself. But maybe our team will be able to improve on our time at Christmas. Or not. The important thing is to enjoy the process. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, which was also important.
I'm just glad the next holiday isn't for several weeks. I might recover by then.