Since we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, many of us will spend today baking pies, prepping food, and cleaning for company. Maybe as you gather with your family and friends tomorrow sharing tales from the past will bring knowing nods, bursts of laughter, or eager sharing of similar tales.
Hosting Thanksgiving often brings with it a level of underlying anxiety. We imagine perfection. Life always teaches a lesson though.
Thanksgiving lesson one: too much of a good thing is bad
Much like the time my son’s birthday cake—what we now have come to call volcano cake, which he inevitably requests year after year, probably anticipating another explosion—certain dishes bring cringing memories. When my son, Tyler, was a toddler, I ordered a special farm-grown turkey. This range-raised turkey, fed only wholesome grains, promised to be the best turkey I’d ever dined upon. When it arrived fresh-from-the-butcher a few nights before the big day, it weighed around 35 pounds. As I lugged it to the refrigerator, warnings started blaring in my head. The farmer assured me it was one of the smaller birds.
No roaster bag fit this turkey, so after wrestling with washing it, I plopped him in the biggest pan I had. Looking at him in the oven reminded me of my toddler who weighed about the same. The image troubled me.
Because my husband worked third shift, I faced my monster turkey dilemma alone while caring for my young sons. The pressures of cooking the perfect turkey caused me to check on the bird more often which was a good thing since I discovered that turkey juice was soon to overflow the pan. At first, I ladled it into another pan, but as this didn’t solve the problem, I fretted about messes and grease fires. I had no choice; I had to wake Pat.
“But I can’t lift that turkey out of the oven without risking burning myself. I need you to help me.” I insisted my resistant husband rescue me. Although he thought I overreacted, he obliged; however, he soon realized my fears were legitimate. He didn’t return to bed.
We drained the pan the best we could a few times. The turkey finished roasting. For the record, it tasted delicious. Cooking such a large bird proved too stressful for me though, so now I try to stick to a 20-pound bird, which I still consider tricky to wash. We haven’t been brave enough to try another “organic” bird. The lesson: too much of a good thing is bad.
Lesson two: expect miracles
Another Thanksgiving tale involved pies. My girls remember the evening I found my shortening container short of the required amounts for the number of pies I promised to bake. Of course, I could run to the store on this dark, cold night, except that I was tired and didn’t want to run to the store. I learned that I could still make pies with less shortening. Those pies were probably more healthful to eat. No one noticed a difference. My daughters call it our “oil” story like the Bible story of the widow who collected containers and poured enough oil to sell to pay off her debts. (2 Kings 4:1-7) The lesson: the Lord provides. Some might not consider it a miracle, but we did because presenting tasty pies is important at these family gatherings. When you don’t follow a recipe, the results might leave you with an embarrassing holiday fail.
I’ll never be a Martha Stewart with beautiful presentations so taking dishes to pass and hosting holidays causes a level of anxiety. Hosting holidays passed along to me and my sister awhile ago now.
Everybody can share a cooking fiasco, I’m sure. My brother likes to bring up my gingerbread house project. Luckily, that’s a Christmas story so I don’t have to explain that one this month!
Will you share one of your holiday stories with us?
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
God bless you and remember any trying experiences this year will make great stories for next year.
Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash.