This Thanksgiving Day, to anyone out there planning to ride over
the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, may I just say:
Will you pleeeezze take me with you?
Mushroom City Memoirs
By Gale Hammond
This Thanksgiving Day, to anyone out there planning to ride over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, may I just say: Will you pleeeezze take me with you?
We’re at 48 hours and counting until the next annual Olympics of Epicurean Feats. As you undoubtedly know, the Thanksgiving-Day-Rulers-of-the Roasting-Pan (a.k.a. “Mom”) are divided into two distinct groups. Well, maybe three, but that third category is so miniscule it’s hardly a blip on the radar screen.
Group One consists of clever gals who have managed – every single year of their lives – to wrangle Thanksgiving Dinner invitations from – you guessed it – Group Two, the trod-upon set that each year prepares dinner for 37 people. And their spouses.
Now, the lucky girls in Group One graciously offer to “bring something” to contribute to the holiday table. As a card-carrying member of Group Two, I’ve learned to stop this practice dead in its tracks. Let’s face it – how many boxes of frozen okra and stale “Parker House” rolls can you make appetizing by serving them in a pretty bowl?
One Thanksgiving eons ago, I temporarily elevated myself to Group One, which certainly taught me a lesson about straying out of my place. My sister-in-law, unarguably the reigning
Most-Excellent-Cook-on-the-Planet-Bar-None, invited our family of four to their home in southern California. At 4am Thanksgiving morning, an unexpected light appeared in the kitchen.
One traumatizing glimpse of Carol hand slicing day-old bread, onions, and celery into a gazillion identical nano-cubes for her celebrated homemade stuffing – not to mention the rows of spices standing sentry on the counter, giblets bubbling away on the stove and homemade dinner rolls already into their second rising – sent me scurrying back to bed where I plunged under the covers, my left eye twitching uncontrollably.
And that third Group I mentioned? I’ve heard rumors that there are actual restaurants open on Thanksgiving, and all I can say is some women must really have the goods on their spouses.
Every year they are escorted to lovely sit-down dinners that are SERVED to them by polite wait staff, and these same privileged women go the whole day without dipping a single manicured nail into that nasty old dishwater. Of course, I’ve never met any of these mythical beings, but like unicorns and guys that cook on Thanksgiving, I’m sure they exist somewhere.
Though I’m loathe to admit it, this Thanksgiving I’ve agreed to a challenge that is so daunting, so overwhelming that it may just push me right over the edge, which would be a brief journey at this point.
Our firstborn and her new husband will be in Chicago on Dec. 25, so Daughter No. 2 proposed that we celebrate Christmas at our house the Saturday after Thanksgiving when we will all be, undoubtedly, still digesting Thanksgiving dinner.
She presented me with this brainchild during those carefree, tra-la-la days of summer when we all experience Post-Christmas-Amnesia-Syndrome.
You know – when we still passionately believe that THIS YEAR will be the greatest Martha Stewart Christmas of all time. We will accomplish everything SO beautifully and finish SO on time, and the world will be SO benevolent that it’ll probably even SNOW on Christmas.
So let me just say I have now reached the bargaining stage of insanity.
If I finish decorating the tree, I’ll opt for canned sweet potatoes instead of boiling yams for Thanksgiving dinner. If I can manage to bake the Candy Cane cookies I’ll forego the pumpkin pie on Thursday. And if I can just get the gifts wrapped, I’ll wear a clean blouse on Thanksgiving.
You get the idea. Martha would be so proud.
Gale Hammond is a 22-year Morgan Hill resident. Reach her at [email protected]