Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving=Yummy=Lots of Work

We had a lovely Thanksgiving meal together with my mom and stepdad, and our neighbors and friends, The Prescotts. The kids enjoyed the smoked turkey as did the rest of us. I'd definitely go through all the trouble to do that again. Delish! The Prescotts brought sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole

This year was the first time I was "head chef". I have been a helper in the kitchen to the head chef, and have brought several sides to a meal before but I gotta tell ya, you just don't appreciate the Thanksgiving meal until you have experienced being the Head Chef. There were several times I felt like Monica Geller from Friends wanting to yell at anyone who messed up my system-- "Get OUT of MY kitchen!"

One example: I was making homemade rolls--the dough was rising in the bread machine and someone (okay, Jon) unplugged the bread machine while the dough was in the middle of the process. WHAT!?? Are you kidding me? Now I have MORE work to do--ARGH!

Had I been a more sanctified wife, I would have just said, " eh, no problem we have plenty of ingredients to make another batch." I felt bad for him later that he was on the receiving end of the wrath of the head chef. It was like an out of body experience. He was making chocolate chip cookies with the boys and needed the plug. Part of the problem was that I should have said that making cc cookies was not a good idea in the first place. But they had fun--Jon's fun ended when I found out about the rolls.

There were many times during the day when I was wondering if going through all the work of cooking all this food was worth a 30 minute meal. Is it? It seems to me that in my experience of Thanksgiving meals that whoever the head chef is gets stressed and overburdened. In order to avoid that you need a qualified sous chef who knows your system and how you like things done. The only person I have seen who doesn't get grumpy while being Thanksgiving Meal Head Chef is my mother-in-law.

Jon was very quick to say that we don't have to do Thanksgiving meals and go through all the trouble which I appreciated. It does seem like there isn't much of a choice to be counter-cultural and NOT do Thanksgiving with all the turkey etc. My kids would grow up saying something like, "My mom doesn't cook Thanksgiving dinner because she doesn't think we are worth the effort or because she is lazy." I did think that we could have a time to be thankful over a normal meal--or why wait until ONE day of the year to concentrate on being thankful. Shouldn't we do that ALL year long?

When it came time to sit down and eat, all my crabby, cynical attitudes melted away and I was glad to share a special meal with my family and friends. I am thankful for my family, friends and all the ways that God has provided for our family over the past year and a half in particular.

I do think that when you go through all the effort to make a meal that large it is better to have as many people as possible.

The funniest part of our time of Thanksgiving was when we went around the table sharing one thing we are thankful for. When it came to Isaac's turn he very innocently stated, "I'm thankful for the bums on our bodies." He has never shared that before in any setting and he truly wasn't trying to be funny--which made it even funnier. I know for me that all the stress I felt before of the food getting cold or being done on time melted away as I had a nice hearty, although slightly hidden, belly laugh.

I took some pictures of our feast for you to enjoy along with me.


Tina said...

Well, it sounds like a better than most first attempt at Head Chef, something I'll never attempt.
I was in fact, at your in-laws like always thinking of ya'll. Where she was as always calm as cucumber ~ even when I walked into the dining room and she was cleaning what aparently was a raspberry that someone (me) may have dropped on the white carpet. Yikes, she like always ~ spot, dot clean without one comment to me, the culpret.
She also made your moms fruit salad this year because she knows it's a favorite for me ~ sweet!
Of course, there was the Parker favorite ~ pink stuff. Even sweeter this year, since I've been ining on Jenny Craig for the last four months.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Jon Parker said...

I was very glad to escape with my life, it's true....
I think one secret my mother has, apart from being a saint (which always helps), is that she is more easily pleased as a chef... she's not as culinarily-inclined as my bride, who seems to know no bounds when it comes to rolls-from-scratch, two different kinds of cranberries, cornbread stuffing-from-scratch, three desserts, etc. etc. Amelia made the perfect meal... and it showed!

allison said...

Okay, SMALL WORLD. We knew the Prescotts during our time in Charleson last summer. Tyler and Lanier, right?! Evangelical Episcopal circle is pretty small, huh? Tell them we say hi!

nicapamela said...

looks like quite the feast...i had the experience of being "head chef" this year for the meal i organized for the college students i work with here, and while it wasn't quite as stressful as what it sounds like you dealt with, i was certainly glad when it was all over. what makes it worth it is the contented looks on everyone's faces...especially these kids who were away from home for the first time on a major US holiday...i suppose for me too it was nice to have a house full of people on help me not feel quite so lonely. anyway, this turned into a long comment...miss y'all!!

Mimi said...

OK - so Jon is absolutely right -- not about the saint part but about my being more easily pleased -- definitely not the scratch rolls type -- Pillsbury frozen wheat rolls or Costco specials are fine for me. Although this year when my native Texan friend was horrified that I served Peppridge Farm dressing, I did make the effort to switch to cornbread stuffing (but not from scratch). We did have 2 kinds of cranberries and 3 desserts (only pumpkin pie was homemade and it was made the night before). The only thing that would have made our day better would have been having you-all with us...then you could have brought the scratch rolls!! :-) Love you all...

Darlene said...

Looks great!!

Kelly said...

Wow-weeee! Good for you - and here's to some hot tea before bed and a good night's sleep after all that work. You have acheived level 39 in the video-game of motherhood success (The-Thanksgiving-Meal-level) HA! Really, looks like you had a delicious time. kudos

p.s. I totally had to laugh about the Jon part. My poor hubby has been on the receiving end of some vicious kitchen-enduced rants, too. Very funny. poor guys

mamabrown said...

Darling daughter,
Your Thanksgiving meal was yummy!(As are all your meals you prepare). And, so grateful that you were the Head Chef this year and I got to relax and do what I was told and got to play with the kids, too! Thanksgiving has always been my favorite meal to prepare and you are right, the more people there are at the table to eat, enjoy the food, the wonderful prayers, the thankful comments (especially from Isaac - I had to leave the table I was laughing so hard), and great conversations, and warm family hugs and thoughts. Grand time. I thought you did an excellent job as Head Chef. I was happy being the sou chef this year! Everything tasted so much better if you don't have to cook it. I am truly thankful for a very accomplished daughter that is such a wonderful mother, wife, daughter, and Head Chef!!!! TA-DA!!! She is the bestest!