I love that Thanksgiving reminds me to take stock and be thankful for the abundance of blessings in my life. I am blessed. I am thankful. I’m grateful for a holiday devoted to that awareness.
But then there is the reality of celebrating Thanksgiving in America as a mom. It involves a lot of cooking, a lot of shopping, and a lot of stress.
Let’s all keep in mind that I’m not a great cook. I can produce reasonably healthy and palatable food for my family; I don’t enjoy cooking.
Shopping the gauntlet
I start shopping right after Halloween. I buy the wine as early as possible for obvious reasons. I pick up our family celiac’s favorite gluten free stuffing mix from Trader Joe’s as soon as it arrives for the season.
Pantry goods are easy to buy ahead of the rush, and doing so helps spread out over multiple weeks the costs of a sit down dinner for 20.
I’m grateful for Amazon Fresh delivering my last minute, fresh foods on the day before Thanksgiving. Grocery stores are hellish just before this holiday! Having the items I want dropped off right to my door is a Really Wonderful Thing.
We enjoy seasonal, local bounty direct from family-owned farms in New England via Farmers To You. This year ’round service is especially gratifying as the autumn harvest rolls in. I’ve posted before about my commitment to support our regional food shed with my grocery dollars.
A humanely raised turkey from Misty Knoll Farms as the centerpiece of our feast is something I’m proud to feed my family and friends.
Cleaning the house
As we catalogue my faults, let’s remember that I’m not much of a housekeeper, either. Hosting a large meal raises certain expectations for minimizing the usual daily clutter. Having out of town relatives to stay means prepping the guest room and the downstairs bathroom, too.
I have to confess: this year, I didn’t get as much done as I’d have liked to prepare for houseguests. I struggled to forgive myself for that, but I used up every iota of energy that I had prepping for Thanksgiving in other ways, choosing to prioritize the feeding of 20 people from seven households over the immediate comforts of close relatives.
I’m grateful that I’ve gotten better at acknowledging my limits; I’ll keep working on accepting those limitations with grace.
Planning on the level of a precision strike
The only way a less-than-stellar cook is going to get a meal for twenty on the table in something resembling good time is to create a plan that incorporates all the prep and cooking times for multiple recipes and integrate them temporally. Continue reading