At long last, the truth comes out.
Rose does not like turkey, never has.
Actually, I’m not a big fan either. Julie is a vegetarian. Evan will be in Seattle. Steve, Sheridan and Patrick tend to enjoy Food, however it presents itself. Ya-Jhu is also quite agreeable. By the time I cut up Aiden and Peter’s portions, those bitty-bites of meat might just as well be beef, fish, or pork (they are dutifully consumed, the sacrificial slog that must come before the reward--dessert).
But a Traditional Feast has always been weirdly important to me (maybe not so weirdly; I’m haunted by the memories of horrific Thanksgiving dinners cooked by Mom, and have spent my adult life in active opposition to those and most other aspects of my upbringing).
So all these years I’ve been filling the oven with a mammoth, relatively tasteless bird, and I didn’t need to???
It’s OK, truly. My daughter came up with a solid Plan B, still in the poultry family. Rose suggested we fry chicken and serve it with all the other regular trimmings. It does feel strange to be at T-Day Minus 1 without juggling fridge space for a thawing Butterball, but no regrets. I have a great recipe for fried chicken: boneless thighs, marinated in buttermilk and spices, then rolled in flour mixed with some baking powder (yes! And the resulting crust is so tasty you don’t even realize there’s no chicken skin!)
Christmas has also evolved over the decades, with multiple church jobs and traveling offspring affecting such things as schedule and manner of gift opening (one year Evan “watched” the unwrapping via FaceTime from Thailand). We’ve been trying to get our annual holiday soup dinner with our dear friends the Carlsons on the calendar (in person after a pandemic hiatus), so far without success. I’m resigned to the strong possibility that this event will be postponed into the new year. And those beloved Seyfried family Christmas benefit concerts? They are definitely a thing of the past.
I’ve been trying to go with the flow, and look at the bright side of all these adjustments—less stress than when the bar is set sky high, as it used to be. I’m trying hard to banish the impulse to take everything ridiculously over the top. A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving spread would not have cured what ailed my family of origin; neither will my super-efforts magically make everything perfect in the family I’ve helped create. Deep down I know that love is the only truly vital component of all festive family celebrations, as it is of life in general. And I definitely feel the love, no matter the population of our dinner table, and which dishes served.
As President Biden “pardons” Chocolate and Chip (this years’ ceremonial White House gobblers), may I pardon myself. May I set myself free from all the “must dos,” and just enjoy whatever Thanksgiving Day 2022 brings.
But we WILL watch the Macy’s parade. Some things are non-negotiable.