A stress-free holiday dinner
November 23, 2007
I’m writing this the morning after Thanksgiving, which is usually a day after I’ve overdone it with too much food, drink and stress. But I didn’t overdo it this Thanksgiving and I have to say it’s a good thing.
Before coming to The Record-Courier two years ago, I worked at a casino for about 20 years and was used to working every holiday. Thanksgiving meant trying to plan a traditional family meal around overtime hours.
I would rush home from work and bake pies, make the sweet potato casserole and cranberries and get the turkey ready the night before. At work on Thanksgiving Day, I would spend every break on the phone keeping the home crew informed of my chances of working overtime so they could put the bird in at the right time. We’d have dinner whenever I made it home but, gosh darn it, we had turkey like everyone else.
My 21-year-old daughter said she was going to her boyfriend’s family’s house for Thanksgiving this year and My Very Best Friend and I found our only guest was going to be my mother who is visiting from Las Vegas. We decided to be rebels and not stuff a turkey this holiday.
Our Thanksgiving menu was steamed crab dunked in butter, a crisp salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, asparagus and crusty bread. I made a family-sized apple pie from some of the apples I bought in Apple Hill. We had pie for dessert and I had some for breakfast this morning too.
At our Thanksgiving table, we talked about my cousin in Las Vegas who was having her annual 24-hour feast where about 80 people wander in and out of her house for Thanksgiving. This meal involves cooking a multitude of turkeys and hams, baking enough pies to fill a bakery shop and peeling 60 pounds of potatoes.
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My mom had attended one of my cousin’s feasts and said it didn’t seem like a real Thanksgiving because everyone didn’t sit down to eat at the same time. But I know my cousin’s friends and family who work in the restaurant and entertainment industry in a 24-hour town appreciate being able to work a homemade holiday meal into their crazy schedules.
My mom was on the home crew several times when I was working holidays. Just about every year, I invited people who didn’t have anywhere else to go and Mom was one of the people responsible for making sure they enjoyed a homemade Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
I don’t miss working on Thanksgiving and I know I’ll cook a turkey with all the trimmings again for three people or for a crowd. But this year it was nice having enough La-Z-Boys, exactly three, to allow all the dinner guests to put their feet up at the end of a stress-free holiday.
— Sharlene Irete is People
Editor of The Record-Courier
and may be reached at email@example.com
or 782-5121, ext. 210.