Thanksgiving is when us Working Girls re-discover our Kitchens….
I love Thanksgiving. I love the excuse to get out my sauce pans and baking dishes and my whisk and hand mixer. I love going to the grocery store and piling up the cart with $100+ worth of groceries including whipping cream, pounds of butter, yams, pecans, greens and so forth. I love polishing the silver, ironing the damask napkins, laying out the lovely tablecloth with my grandmother’s initials brocaded on it,. I love shopping expeditions to Bed, Bath and Beyond or World Market to purchase additional wine glasses because we’ve broken so many during the year and we need 12 for this year’s guests.
I especially love sitting down with cookbooks or looking on the internet to read and compare recipes for how to roast a turkey and how to prepare brussels sprouts, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes and, of course, gravy. Not to mention the choices that must be made for pies — what will it be this year: pecan, pumpkin, apple or all three?
I love Thanksgiving right up to the final moments when my husband and I have cleared the table, hand-washed the silver and tried to fit all the china plates and glasses in the dishwasher.
I love doing it all ONCE A YEAR.
I’m no Betty Crocker or Julia Child. Nor do I aspire to be. But sometimes I forget.
Sometimes I get so excited by a recipe or feel so confident rolling out pie dough or spend so much time preparing a particular dish that I’m absolutely sure will wow my guests, that I think my place is in the kitchen rather than in the office. I start to think I ought to spend my time with cookie cutters and wooden spoons and the Cuisinart instead of pecking the keyboard of my computer.
But then something happens. A tiny tragedy. I burn the spinach. I drop a knife and it almost slices off my toe. Or, like last summer, when I hand-pitted several pounds of cherries for two pies — and accidentally put in several tablespoons of baking powder, as a thickening agent, instead of corn starch. Yuck!
In other words, I goof up. Or I don’t goof up and I think I’ve done everything right — but my dish doesn’t come out of the oven as magnificently as I’d anticipated. I can read the lack of enthusiasm on the faces of my family or my dinner guests and from the polite comments they make about the meal. Ho-hum.
That’s when I know I don’t truly belong in the kitchen. Of course the revelation is a little disappointing because who doesn’t want to be a superb chef? (And God bless those who are because I love eating in their homes.) But nowadays I know where I do belong — in my office, on my computer, shaping a story or a play or an essay. I’m a far better writer than a cook. Of course writing can also be incredibly frustrating and difficult. Yet for me, it’s also extraordinarily rewarding. It’s what I do well and most enjoy.
So Thanksgiving is a happy diversion and lovely event that, fortunately, comes once-a-year. Hurray!