I love Thanksgiving. It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite days of the year. It’s really such a simple holiday. We just gather our family around a bunch of tables decorated by our daughters and filled with food, and we eat, drink, laugh, and talk (OK, and often have an argument or two about the political situation. This year is sure to be no exception.) for hours upon hours. What could be easier than that? We usually have about 20-30 people. Everyone brings a dish, and/or helps with the preparation, serving, and even the clean up. That’s just how our family rolls.
But every year, at about this time, I start to get stressed. Have we organized everything? Does everyone know what they are bringing? Did we tell Aunt Mary what time we were serving? Do we have all of the ingredients we need to make everything? Are the beds made? Have we pumped the septic tank (a critical event when having 25 people in an old house for a long weekend)? So, I make lists and create schedules. This year is no exception. My schedule for tonight read like this:
-clean sheets and make beds
-bake cornbread for stuffing
-make short ribs for dinner on Tuesday (the first of the group arrives)
-buy birthday cards for the two family members with November birthdays
-bake birthday cake for Wednesday
So as 4 o’clock arrived, I started cleaning and cooking. I put on some music and settled in to my routine. Everything was going according to schedule. The sheets were rolling around in the dryer, the cornbread was cooking, and the short ribs were braised. I put together the casserole, layering onions, carrots, tomatoes, and beef broth in the large old pot. The recipe called for bringing the casserole to a boil before placing it in the oven for 3 hours, so I placed the pot on the burner and went to my desk to write the birthday cards. That’s when the horrible popping and cracking sounds split the silence. I ran to the burner and picked up the old casserole, only to have the top portion of the pot come up in my hands, while the bottom stayed on the burner. The contents of Tuesday’s dinner cascaded into the burners, down the front of the stove, and onto the floor. Carrots, onions, plum tomatoes, and short ribs of beef were everywhere.
So much for that schedule!