Thursday, November 20, 2008

Confession: I Hate Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

It's true. I hate cooking Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, I don't like cooking anything, but today I want to focus specifically on turkey, dressing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Fortunately, I don't have to focus on the Parker House rolls or pumpkin pie because my mom makes those. However, much as I love eating her pie and rolls, I don't exactly relish her cooking of them, as she must accomplish this feat at my severely baking-challenged home, where she inevitably battles with my oven, my poorly conceived utensils, or both. (Amazingly, she still manages to make all of her creations taste delicious, but the process ain't always pretty.)

It's not just the baking I detest, by the way. I also don't like making Susie's Favorite Jello (my signature dish from childhood, consisting of two-layered strawberry jello with sour cream in the middle and pineapple, berries, and bananas inside). Even worse, I can't seem to let go of producing it every year, despite assurances from my family that they'd be entirely cool with it if I stopped altogether. But what would Thanksgiving be without Susie's Favorite Jello? I shudder to think!

I also make a fruit and whipped cream salad that I dislike putting together because it's so darned difficult to get the fruit drained adequately. If you leave too much juice, the whole thing turns out goopy instead of fluffy. *sigh*

But the worst...the very worst thing of all is the traditional appetizer my family refuses to give up. Each year, they beg me to mass produce it, not just for Thanksgiving, but for Christmas as well. What is this essential holiday fare? The Grapefruit Stuff (an inheritance from my mother-in-law). I must admit it was an easy recipe to make in the good old days, when they had such things as unsweetened grapefruit available in cans. Now the elusive unsweetened wedges are nearly impossible to find; and I end up having to peel a fresh grapefruit, cut it up, get the seeds out, then try to make it sour enough by adding just the right amount of unsweetened grapefruit juice to mimic what I used to be able to buy in a soup-sized can. Following that lovely task, I have to dice maraschino cherries into little tiny bits, turning my hands red all the way up to my elbows (okay, I'm a messy cutter) and creating such a sticky mess that it takes several days for my kitchen work space to recover. Believe me when I say that these cherries feel icky, icky, icky on your skin, and they stain anything and everything they touch. Not good.

Throw in the responsibility for making the tables look lovely, warm, and inviting when I am not crafty AT ALL, and you will have a pretty good picture of my Thanksgiving cooking experience. (A friend down the street used to help me out with the decorating part, but she moved several years ago. Can you believe she left me in the lurch just so her husband could have a job?)

Anyway, here's the kicker. I still love Thanksgiving. I guess the upside (my whole family being here and the sharing-type program afterwards that I actually enjoy preparing) tips the scales in Thanksgiving's favor. Well, more than tips the scales, actually. Makes it one of the best days of the year.

Hopefully I can remember that when I'm fishing slimy giblets out of my turkey this Thursday.  =)


Kristin said...

Our Thanksgiving is the best ever! And the grapefruit stuff really makes it. My dad and I were already talking last week about how we can't wait to eat it, so all your hard works pays off, right? Do you want me to make Linda's stuffing? I made it last week for our friend thanksgiving dinner and it was delicious. One less thing on your plate might be good. :)

Mina said...

I've had the opposite problem. I like making a big turkey dinner (not weekly or anything ... once a year is fine) but we always went to my in-laws, so I generally only got to bring a carrot cake (which I don't associate with Thanksgiving but they like and I'm good at) and maybe some rolls.

We've moved so now I'm just up here with my sister-in-law and we get to do what we want. I get to make a lot more stuff this year, and next we'll have it at my place, so I can do the turkey.

Good luck next week.

Natalie said...

I knew I really like you! I often feel alone in my lack of cooking enthusiasm. You have made me feel better now. Thanks. And, good luck with all you have to do....I felt tired just reading it.
Have a wonderful holiday.

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I hate cooking most days :) Hey I hope you have an awesome weekend! Check out my blog to get your awards with l♥ts of l♥ve from me :) ♥ Hugs! :) Shauna

Jill said...

This post made me laugh. So glad I found your blog!

Our family chaos said...

I get to host Thanksgiving dinner this year too. Good thing my Step mom will be helping me. I don't know how to even cook a turkey. Oh well it will be a great day:)

Terry Brady said...

I not only hate cooking and hosting Thanksgiving Dinner every year but I hate cleaning up the house before company comes,planning the menu, going to the grocery store, washing the dinner plates, silverware and utensils. It's quite a job.
I hate every bit of it but I love when it's over and all the dishes came out as planned and everyone talks about how nice the house looks. He
Yes Thanksgiving is quite a job.

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