Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Food+holidays: fun or headaches?

Ahhh, the holidays....the Norman Rockwell picture of the loving family gathered around the table, giving thanks for all they have. How many women feel part of that picture if they're hosting dinner for 25 relatives, some of whom don't get along, one family who is always late, and one insists on bringing their dog even though you've specifically told them not to do this?

That second scenario is not mine (thank goodness!) but is a compilation of problems that I hear from some who no longer enjoy hosting or even attending holiday dinners with family. I think it is a shame that we can't be closer to the Norman Rockwell version, but I understand the angst and anger some women feel.

My Michigan sister-in-law and I have traded off Thanksgiving and Christmas for over 30 years. Last year my single son hosted Thanksgiving and this year my married son and dear daughter-in-law are hosting it. Last year Bill and I hauled dishes, pans, table cloths and folding tables not just to our son's house but down to his basement. All 327 steps. What? You never noticed that the number of steps increases with each trip?

We'll be helping again this year, but my married son and his wife have more experience with cooking and entertaining. This will be their first turkey and their first meal for 26 people. Our youngest niece will be out of town and the middle one is hosting her husband's family. Their will be 14 diners who share my married surname, 11 with Kim's maiden name and one friend of the family who has had Thanksgiving with us for years. There will be 8 young children (ages from 20 months to 9 years) which is the most I can remember at any holiday meal.

I don't know yet who will be making desserts this year. I love to make them, but will make whatever is needed. Except gravy. I make lousy gravy. Regardless of who gets the joy of desserts, I plan to bring these, at least enough for the 8 kids, but more likely, enough for everyone.
Are they cornball or cute? Whatever you think, they are soooooo me.   The directions are here.

Are you hosting or attending? Will people bring a dish to the meal? Are holiday dinners a joy or something to be endured?

Our extended family doesn't quite look like Norman Rockwell's family, but we do pull together and enjoy our meals together. I am very thankful not only for my sister-in-law and nieces who help clean up when they are here, but for my husband who starts prepping whenever I do, and is by my side throughout the entire process. My married son is following suit and that makes us both happy. Our single son is great with helping to clean up, and if you need someone to make Kraft macaroni and cheese...he's your man!

I'll let you in on a secret. My sis-in-law discovered that after the turkey is in the oven or roaster, the side dishes are cooking or chilling and ready to be finished just before everything goes to the table, it helps if you have a glass of wine. Or two. Honest.  


Sewconsult said...

Knitty, I hope you and yours, all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Hope all the family will have the best time being together.

Debbie said...

We'll be doing the same thing we do most years. We'll be at my mother's house taking orders from her in her kitchen and somehow managing to fit around her very large table.

And we'll be loud.
Thankful, but loud.

I have only been "in charge" of a Thanksgiving once in my life. I guess my family thinks it's safer to hand me the potato masher and say, "mash".

Chatty Crone said...

The last step with the two glasses of wine - perfect - if everyone has them - the dinner will be great no matter what.

What about pretty paper plates and everyone bringing something?

We are going to Ohio this year.


Love your turkeys.

SkippyMom said...

Definitely the hostess. Have been every year since I was 20. This will be my 25th, but as the family dwindles and/or moves farther away it will only be us and the kids this year. Fine by me. It is my favorite holiday - and I have never asked anyone to bring anything, but invariably my Mom made a relish tray and my beloved MIL would bring a dessert.

Now us and the two youngest kids have the meal down to such a science I don't even have to be a wake. heehee

I love the turkeys. So cute!

I hope you have a lovely holiday, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Blondie's Journal said...

It sounds like your Thanksgivings are fun. They should be with all those people! It's all about blessings and making memories for me. I host every year! I really do love bustling around the kitchen, even if I'm getting flustered...it's just one day! It's definitely not a Norman Rockwell scene here, but it's filled with a lot of love and good feelings. Hope yours is, too!


Anonymous said...

I just love those darling little turkey's. They are so me too! I'm hosting Thanksgivng and it's something I look forward to. I love the smells and watching the parade while I'm cooking. My hubby helps me get everything ready. When it's done we load it all on the table and then my family carries it downstairs for our celebration. Today I made my date and nut bread. My tables will be set by Saturday. I do as much as I can a head of time. As far as clean up goes, everyone carries everything upstairs. It works out very well for us. Our son's bring desserts. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Rudee said...

I like cooking, but over the years, our family size is dwindling a bit. It'll be dinner for 5 this year and for some reason, I'm looking forward to that!