Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mental preparation

 First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who is celebrating tomorrow!

I love Thanksgiving.  I really do.  I'm not crazy about the shopping part, but I love cooking the meal and I love to dress up the table and of course...I love to eat.

But I still have to mentally prepare for the arrival of my extended family.   It begins with me understanding that no one will offer to bring anything, but that when they arrive, they'll offer to "help".  In O'Neil Speak, that means that they want to make the gravy but nothing else.  Then great numbers of people stand around the stove to supervise the stirring and random tossing of the flour.  There will be cries of "That's too much salt!"  or "Well, I don't do it that way," or "Turn up the heat," or "Turn down the heat." Whether two of them come - or six - or eight - it's always the same.  And they create a huge mess in my kitchen.

Well, the joke's on them this year, because I've already made the gravy.  I fried up a couple turkey wings and made my usual pan gravy and I guarantee you they'll be flummoxed. I'll put them to work buttering the rolls instead and then they can all argue about the proper way to butter rolls.  And they can't make too much of a mess.

Oh, I need to back up a little bit.  My MIL will bring her candied yams and no one will eat them.  The dinner conversation will go exactly the same as it has gone for the past 27 years:

MIL:  Doesn't anyone want my sweet potatoes?
Family:  Murmur, murmur, murmur.
MIL:  Gosh, doesn't anyone like candied sweet potatoes? 
                            (side note - I like them, but hers are truly awful)
Family:  Tense silence.
MIL:  David, won't you eat some candied sweet potatoes?
My husband:  No. 
MIL:  Why not?
My husband:  I've never eaten your candied sweet potatoes.  I don't like candied sweet potatoes.
MIL:  You won't even try them.
My husband:  I don't want them. I have never eaten one in my entire life.
MIL:  Well gee whiz, nobody's eating my sweet potatoes.

And just because I'm in a holiday kind of mood, I'll stop there.  But trust me...that was the short version.  It'll continue on, even as we're clearing the dishes and putting things away.  And it'll ratchet up again when we're making plates to send home with people, because once again, everyone will decline the offer to take home candied sweet potatoes.

Ah family.  Gotta love them!  And 25 years from now, I can't wait to read what my daughter-in-law is writing about me in her blog!  I will fully appreciate the justice of the situation. 

Have a lovely day tomorrow, everyone!


  1. happy Thanksgiving to you and all the family...

  2. How funny!! Sorry but your post made me giggle ... Its kind of like that with my mother and I!! As she gets older her cooking skills tend to lack the luster it once had, and well .. to be honest its quite awful as well!! Ah the joys of family during the holidays!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

    My candied sweet potatoes are very yummy

  3. Have a wonderful Holiday!!!! Even with the craziness of family!!

  4. I think that we all have those kinds of conversations during the holiday. I would miss them if they didn't occur. Have a great day.

  5. Hope you have a great meal, despite the candied sweet potatoes.

    Can't you sneak a few onto each plate that leaves the house?


  6. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

    My sister and I tried the sweet potatoes for the first time a few years ago. We both agreed to be un-impressed. :0)

  7. Ha! I'm hoping for a full report on the reaction to the already made gravy.

    Mary in MN

  8. LOL All hail the Anti-Sweet-Potato Brigade!

  9. Can't you secretly tuck in a couple of servings of your MIL sweet potatoes into everyones take home bag? It only seems fair to me!

  10. Oh you always make me laugh, Lee! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to give us this year's stories afterwards! gobble gobble.

  11. You are hilarious as always Lee! Have a great Thanksgiving !!

  12. I won't eat anything sweet potato, so I feel your family's pain. I also feel sorry for your MIL. I guess she just wants to feel needed and can''t cook anything but candied sweet potatoes? Ask her to bring pie or something. Kudos to you for make ahead gravy!

  13. This post is too funny. I am now "the mil" and when I'm told I need to do nothing but bring the requested cranberry salad...that's what I do. And no, I don't comment on the under cooked turkey, the lack of pumpkin pie,no leftovers sent home with us...I just set back with my glass of wine in hand and keep quite. How's that for a mil?

    Lee, have a great Thanksgiving no matter's only one day!

  14. LOL! Hope you had an awesome day :)