because Thanksgiving is really about the leftovers

As far as I’m concerned, the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Pumpkin pie for breakfast. Cranberry sauce and stuffing sandwiches (okay, maybe a little turkey too).

In that vein, I offer you a rerun of my Thanksgiving thoughts from last year, in case you missed them, or perhaps did not commit them fully to memory.

I have few Thanksgiving thoughts for this year- my sister- and brother-in-law are hosting and I AM NOT COOKING! Huzzah! Which means I have more time for National Novel Writing Month, which is where I’ve been hiding. If you check the sidebar of this blog for my word count, you will see that I am very very close. I can taste it. It tastes like pumpkin pie.

More on that once I (please God) pass the finish line. Till then- Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving: so who’s cooking? Wait: ME?

Thanksgiving is the day of the year that makes me feel more like a grown-up than any other.  Every year I hoist the raw bird onto the countertop and wonder what adult is going to show up and magically make it a meal. It takes me a moment to realize, with a not-inconsiderable amount of shock, that somehow time has marched on, and I’ve become the one in charge.

I mean, it’s not that hard. “You don’t have to make the turkey,” Maggie helpfully explained to me yesterday. “People kill it, and then you get it at the store, and all you have to do is warm it up.”Why don’t you spend all the day in the kitchen ‘warming it up,’ I wanted to reply. But the truth is, that’s pretty much all there is to it, and when I plattered my first golden turkey, about five years ago, I felt like I had crossed the threshhold into adulthood at last. Then my husband got out the electric carving knife and became like, a DAD, and that was a little mindblowing I must admit.

There’s no question I have it easier than my mother did (and does- she’s making a turkey tomorrow too). My recipes are on Evernote, not on yellowing and gravy-spattered newsprint. I’ll have myiCatcher podcasts to keep me company while I stir. And– oh, yeah, I almost forgot– I’ll be buying stuffing and gravy and pumpkin pie all ready-to-go when I pick up our turkey later this morning. But the standards have gotten higher over the years too- I’m looking at you, Pinterest Real Simple Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes. You too, Thanksgiving Turkey Bento Box Kids’ Craft.

However a cook manages his or her Thanksgiving, it’s still a full day in the kitchen, sleeves up, four burners going. It’s hard work. But when I get Thanksgiving dinner with the six sides (two just for my picky eater) on the table tomorrow afternoon, I’ll feel as proud as I do when I’ve written something well. While I’ll never be a truly great cook, on Thanksgiving I get it. Cooking is a creative act, too.  You make something beautiful and delicious– even if it’s not quite Pinteresting– and with the work of your hands, you can make the people you love happy.

Are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year? Do you love it? Hate it? What’s your favorite make-Thanksgiving-easier tip? Please share it in the comments. (Here’s mine: make your mashed potatoes in the slow cooker.)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Precourt November 27, 2013 at 5:19 am

This is our first Thanksgiving away from family- and so I have to cook the bird (when usually my mom or MIL would make it!) I’ve made them before but this time it’s just us and I feel the pressure is on. But I also have pride in it… and yes- the carrot on the stick for me is leftovers the next day. Worth it!



Amy Eileen Swanderski December 2, 2013 at 12:27 am

I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the past 29 years. I began when I was 23 years old, and have cooked the whole meal from scratch all by myself. I am 51 now and am hoping to continue for as long as I can. Cooking equals love to me, and my family enjoys the traditions we have made over the years..


Kizz December 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I have a party the day after Thanksgiving. I make and serve all the standards in case people went somewhere that didn’t send them home with leftovers because, absolutely, that’s the best part.


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