Oh, oh, oh! I haven't told you about our Thanksgiving adventure yet.
The family came to our house this year. This includes children, nephews, siblings. Those who have gathered at my parents' house forever came here instead. This is pressure.
I have avoided hosting the Thanksgiving feast for years because my mother is a master pie baker and my mother-in-law glories in her perfectly-browned turkey.
So I did the natural thing: I got on the food network and watched those chefs at work. Their menu was my menu.
Well, I don't have a kitchen torch so I nixed the stuffing idea. I wasn't going to put dressing into the already-baked turkey, then toast the dressing before spooning it into a bowl. Our crew wasn't terribly interested in the presentation of the turkey. They care about volume.
So, for my first big Thanksgiving, I printed out pages and pages of new recipes to cook. That old adage about never trying a new recipe for company doesn't apply to me. I consider that the best time to try out new recipes.
We toasted chestnuts (never done that before) and didn't start the turkey until 9 am for a noon meal. (That made me nervous but it worked)
I remembered the year when my mother awoke to her alarm and put in the turkey while it was still dark, so the bird was ready by noon. The only problem was, she didn't check her alarm clock. She got up at midnight, unbeknownst to herself, put the turkey in the oven and got up at 6 am to a fully-cooked bird. We survived that. We'd survive my experiments.
One of the nephews came an hour early so we put him to work squishing the sweet potatoes. My mom arrived in time to slice the chestnuts. She kept getting confused over the sheets and sheets of recipes lying on the counter so we nearly had dressing with mashed potatoes in it.
The rest of the family - heavily weighed with testosterone - showed up in time to eat. And eat. The afternoon was stuffed with football games, paintball tournaments, cribbage and Rummicube. A Wii game showed up so everyone had a turn at phantom golf and bowling.
My 13-year-old son managed to get a sliver of a plastic straw into his tongue, which made for an interesting search for a tweezers and a flashlight.
But I realized in the end that the day was success because of how God has graced our family. We love to get together. There was a warm house to gather in and finances to buy the food. We laughed at the stories and teased each other all afternoon.
And the best part: Mom brought her famous pies. Even if the turkey was burned and the potatoes cold and lumpy, the day would have been fine as long as the family could snack on pie all afternoon. (And they did!) We are rich in God's blessings!