Everybody gets a little riled up for Thanksgiving, huh? Yes, as a confident home cook, the food part of the day is not hard at all. Roast a bird, mash some potatoes, make some gravy. I think what makes everyone so stressed out is that it's a larger meal than they usually do (it takes some planning to figure out where to cook everything if you have a large bird or small stove, or both), and then timing is important, and it's more dishes than they are used to. But there's just the stress of family getting together. The other day, I told my mother that I refused to give into anxiety anymore. What could possibly go wrong with the food that no one forgive? Just focus, do the best you can, and make sure to drink a glass of wine early. It's only taken me forty years to get to this place.
I don't stray too far off the traditional meal course because I rather like the T-day meal. Isn't that trashy of me? I have a strong attachment to home-y foods, as I'm sure this blog can attest to. When I was a kid, processed foods were so not a part of our lifestyle that I craved them. When I got allowances, I would buy food. Cheap, crappy food. Like Chocodiles. Or super mayonnaise-y potato salad. Or the pizza at school. Or the turkey dinner.
How I longed for that horrible turkey dinner! The perfect ball of mashed "potatoes" released from the click of an ice cream scoop, the thin, flabby slices of processed turkey laying on a soft white bread bed, covered by congealed gravy and sidled up to some kind of vegetable: corn, green beans? Everything a similar poultry-based saltiness. And a wiggly slice of cranberry jelly if you were lucky.
I can remember the menus that Southdown Elementary School handed out. I would study them avidly, knowing I would have only a cream cheese and jelly sandwich (and not understanding that I was, in this circumstance at least, the lucky one). I would quickly dismiss the chicken chow mein, (which looked absolutely revolting, but still, it had those crunchy noodles on top) and look for the turkey dinner day. It wasn't long lived, my desire for the imposter-food. I guess I was just making sure that what I had was the real thing.