I realize Thanksgiving is over two months away, but it's already on my mind. Over the last 3-4 years, my family has the tradition that we switch between my parents' house and our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year I hosted Christmas, which means this year I'm on Thanksgiving.
Let me see if I can make clear my feelings about Thanksgiving. It's not that I hate it, but I do not like it. I think my issues date back to the meal we had every year that I don't happen to enjoy. I enjoy turkey, but the stuffing recipe my grandmother followed year in and year out was not a favorite, and I don't even want to talk about her giblet gravy. Please, just don't even say giblet to me.
Thankfully, as I began having my shot at cooking one of the two big meals of the year, I began to branch out and try new things. Ham with a raspberry glaze...prime rib...cream cheese mashed potatoes...cranberry couscous -- you get the idea. I'm also lucky to have a genius bbq chef in the house, and he actually bbq's whatever meat is on the menu. Everything always comes out perfectly tender and juicy. Even the turkey, which I understand is not as easy to do. It's worth keeping him around just for that.
Changing the menu has helped, but it doesn't really solve the other half of my problem: I don't particularly enjoy spending most of my day preparing, cooking and cleaning up after a meal. The men watch football, and we have a long tedious day. (Hubby can't count the bbqing as "work" because he genuinely loves it.) What's fun about that? It's not much of a day off if you ask me. I know there are lots of people out there who love this yearly experience Hi Mom and that's great for them. I say do what you love! So why can't that apply to me?
Here's what I DO love:
Eating out at a nice buffet on Turkey day. Our family used to go up to the Presidio in San Francisco, have an amazing lunch, and then spend the afternoon all dressed up at Pier 39. (This was and still is my favorite store there. We never leave empty handed.) We've talked about seeing if this is an option again -- I know I would love it. This was actually something we did on the Thursday because our larger family would actually get together on Saturday. I never got out of the giblet nightmare. This was great for my brother and I -- as we got older, we could spend Thursday with our boyfriend or girlfriend's family, and never had to choose between one or the other.
Travelling somewhere new. How about a mini-vaca? One, two or three nights somewhere unique as a family -- preferably a cottage or house where we relax, take walks, read by the fire, play games, etc. I don't' know why, but we never do those things at home.
Would you out there, reading this blog, share with me your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Even if you love the big family meal, what makes it special for you? And if you have any suggestions for a different way to spend the day, share those, too.