I do it every year. The week leading up to Thanksgiving, I cram.

Every night, I scan Pinterest and cooking blogs and make detailed notes. Food Network becomes my CNN news feed. Tyler Florence, Paula Deen and Ina Garten bring me updates on all things Thanksgiving like Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos keep viewers abreast of all the latest news.

Speaking of breasts, did you know that more than 200 million pounds of turkey breasts are consumed during Thanksgiving? That’s just a sample of what I’ve learned during my cram sessions.

Now onto my planned Thanksgiving feast courtesy of Pinterest and the Food Network or what my husband calls, “The fast, easy way to drive yourself insane before a single relative walks through the door and asks, ‘what’s that smell?'”

They make it look so easy; those television chefs. According to Paula, the success of this holiday is dependent on a single ingredient; “moar reel buuuuttr.” By the end of her Thanksgiving special, I’m saying things like, “Jackson, get yo’ mama the buttr. I think these Fruit Loops will be a mighty bit tastier if we put a big dollop on top.”

I did come away with some very handy cooking tips courtesy of Ms. Deen. One: Real butter does make everything taste better. And two: Just because you exaggerate a southern drawl doesn’t mean you can intelligently explain that a turducken is not a cross hibernation of three birds but rather the main dish for the Andrews’ Thanksgiving feast.

I’ve started preparing my grocery list. For Tyler Florence’s cornbread sausage stuffing, I need 12 spices I’ve never heard of. I’m convinced Ina Garten’s recipe for Pear Clafouti will be a crowd pleaser even though my mother-in-law says, “people won’t eat what they can’t pronounce.” And if my guests don’t particularly care for those, my fried macaroni and cheese is sure to win them over… Or raise their cholesterol 100 points.

I’ve picked up most of the non-perishable grocery items and ordered the bird needed for the Thanksgiving feast.This means I will have a few minutes to rest before the rush of activity begins on Thanksgiving eve. For fun, I decided to try out one of the new recipes while Jacob was home from college last weekend. I summoned the boys to the kitchen to taste a sample of what is sure to be the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving Day dinner; cranberry pudding. Halfway down the stairs Jackson says, “Ugggh! What’s that smell?” Maybe not.

No matter what, I’ll continue to cram for the holiday cooking season. And I’ll always remember that Thanksgiving is not about the food you cook but about the people gathered around your table refusing to eat it. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

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