Friday Mom posted a request for thanksgiving recipes. Sadly, I could not contribute. Well, that’s a lie – there wasn’t anything sad about it. I’ve told you I don’t cook, right? Don't feel sorry for my lack of culinary skills and try to help me out or somehow cover for me. Thanks, but no thanks.
Once you learn to cook and demonstrate your prowess, people will expect it of you. My inability is purposefully and intentionally maintained.
I was also smart enough to marry a guy who took home economics in high school. (Probably as a ploy to hang out with the girls. My brother did the same thing.) Those suckers learned to cook in class. Now they have to do it. Daily.
Thanksgiving is a big deal at our house. Sort of. When we first got married, our place was equidistant from both our parents. We decided to have thanksgiving at our house for both sides of the family. Been doing it ever since. It has morphed into quite a gathering. My family, Jackson’s family, and whomever else we can drag in off the street.
Jackson cooks the dressing. He’d never tried it before, but volunteered on our first joint venture holiday. He’s been doing it ever since. Sometimes he smokes a turkey. Sometimes one of the other manly-men in the family does it. We also often have fried turkey when the manliness is rampant and there is not enough outdoor-fire-type cookin’ going on.
Then there is AndyHam. Jackson’s dad makes AndyHam. It looks like something off the cover of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, circa 1954. It is the best damn ham ever. Complete with pineapple slices and little red cherry halves. Geeze, I think I drooled on the keyboard.
We’ve developed a few un-official menu traditions over the last few years. My mom always brings black-eyed peas slow cooked with lots of spices and sausage bits. My uncle brings the best dang corn casserole you’ve ever had. Jackson’s aunt always makes a beautiful relish tray that ends up completely devastated and destroyed by mid-afternoon. My mother-in-law makes an unbelieveable sweet potato casserole.
Oh, and sitting down for dinner – that’s a bit different, too. I have a big dinning room table, but nothing that seats 30 people. The closest we’ve come is the Ping Pong Holiday table.
During one of our scrounging-at-the-thrift-store trips, Jackson and I bought a regulation size ping-pong table. We were excited. We had a large extra room that we weren’t really using. We lugged the table home and wheeled it down the skinny hall to the back room. We unfolded it and found that it fit perfectly. However, there was no room to actually stand at the ends and swing a paddle. Somewhat deflated, we folded it back up and leaned it against a wall. There it stayed all year long until Thanksgiving Day. Then it was wheeled back down the skinny hall to the living room. The furniture was moved out of the way and the table unfolded in the middle of the room. You can fit 30 people around a regulation size ping-pong table if you try hard enough. Yes you can.
Not being one to cook, I’ve also never been into the accoutrements. I don’t own a tablecloth or china. I didn’t select any china when we were out registering for wedding gifts. A plate is a plate is a plate and what’s wrong with paper?
Someone commented that we might need a cloth for the Ping Pong Holiday table. No problem! I found a couple of sheets I’d previously used as drop cloths. They were clean and covered the table nicely. The blue and tan bird and swirl pattern on one complimented nicely the pinky flowery pattern on the other. Well, no, not really. But who cares?
And what do you sit on around a Ping Pong Holiday table? Lawn chairs, of course.
Sadly, however, there will be no Ping Pong Holiday table this year. Jackson and I went a little nuts back in April after watching too many episodes of Clean Sweep. We got rid of it.
This year, the majority of our guests will be enjoying their feast on the floor. Maybe I’ll spread out those sheets for people to sit on. I could get a Sharpie and write the names directly on the sheet. Kind of like a place card. Only on the sheet. On the floor. Yeah, that's a good idea!
The really interesting thing is, these people keep coming back every year.