I am that member of the family. The one who asks her husband to cook the turkey.
I am looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. My mama is coming, we are going to my sister’s home, and my oldest daughter is already considering the menu and decorations. Did I mention she is nine? She did not inherit that from me. This first little leader of my family’s next generation is ready to turn party planning diva at the drop of the hat. She may run into some tricky entanglements when her plans and my sister’s collide, but they are planning on having a meeting to get on the same page. Bonus: I don’t have to plan all the things. I have designs on making desserts, playing games, and serious napping.
Take away all the pretense and the truth is: I want to be the memory maker not the food maker; however, I am a grown up and have figured out that sometimes these things go hand-in-hand. I am good at merrily bundling my kiddos up and skipping down streets Thanksgiving morning to deliver meals with our church to those who wouldn’t have them otherwise. I am not so good at making the food of Native Americans and their Pilgrim counterparts. Wait, are we really eating what they ate anyway? I am certain they didn’t have “Pilgrim kissed mac n’ cheese” to satisfy their three-year-olds. Never mind, I digress. The making of the food—a necessary evil of yummy goodness.
I want to sit on the couch and periodically stare at the parade, or the football game on the TV in between the page-turning of my latest favorite book, munching on snacking splendor. I do not want to slice my finger with that stupid potato peeler that is determined to infect me with crazy.
I want to play games with the seven kids running through the house. I do not want to make all the dishes dance up and down the oven racks in an attempt to cook them evenly and make all the dishes warm at the same time. How people do this is beyond me.
However, I do want to sit and hear what everyone is thankful for as rolls make their way around the table. The bought rolls, not the from scratch kind—my favorite are the King’s Hawaiian® and Great Harvest’s stuffing rolls. Are you kidding me? Get in my belly!
I want to give happy, warm, turkey-scented memories to my children who only have a handful of Thanksgivings stored in their memories. I am determined to build the foundational pumpkin pie season into their childhoods along with the more important lessons of quality family time, gratitude, and love.
Thus, THERE NEEDS TO BE GOOD FOOD.
I want the food. I don’t want to cook the food. Why won’t the food just appear?
This year we are home cooking it. In the past we have bought pre-made, reheatable dishes, and it has been delightfully delicious. This year, though, we have many hands. I have my mom, my sister, my ambitious daughters, a turkey cooking husband, and then there is me. Just hand me the fruit. I like to make fruit sculptures anyway. Pieces of fruit art usually begin to cover up the fact that my attempt at even slices failed miserably. But if you don’t have the help I am so relieved to have, no need to fret. Lest, you forget, there are places, should you be so inclined, that will make the meal for you.
Yes, dear reader, there are places that will make the meal for you. Like, the ENTIRE thing. Let me take you to their leader (or at least their websites):
A lot of grocery stores will do this for you. A couple to look into:
Nationwide: Whole Foods has a menu with all the fixings.
Zupan’s has multiple locations. Did someone say butterscotch toffee cream pie? You can buy a whole meal or a few favorites, à la carte. Need a dish for attending someone else’s bash? Pick it up, dump it in a pretty bowl, and viola, delicious perfection.
Want to go a bit more upscale? Try the turkey experts at one of Portland’s oldest restaurants, Hubers.
No Whole Foods nearby? Not in Portland? Ask my smartest friend Google or your own search engine fave. The struggle is real folks. People all over have seen the need and are willing and waiting to take your money.
Cooking or not, all in all, enjoy the holidays. Love the family, build the memories, and don’t stress. Stress will steal your joy and devour the moments you are trying to make. Fight back! Tell mom guilt, family expectations, and culture’s critiques to “eat gizzards!” and turn to face your people with a thankful heart and see them for the blessing they are.