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Old 11-16-2012, 12:51 AM   #1
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A cooking related rant

There was a letter to Dear Abby a couple of days ago. The woman complained that she was 43, had been doing Thanksgiving for 19 years, the job had been dumped on her by her mother who was burned out on doing it. Oh, and it was the same 12 guests each year.She signed her complaint 'exhausted hostess'.

First of all: boo hoo!

With that kind of po-faced attitude, her guests are probably only attending out of a sense of duty.

She is doing it wrong. Unless she is Martha Stewart, the companionship is more important than any thing else. I do the basics..the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and sometime candied yams (if I'm in the mood). Other households bring rolls/butter, veggies, assorted pies, snacks, etc. We use disposable plates and glasses, paper napkins. Real silverware, which gets counted before the garbage goes out. There is no centerpiece unless someone brings one.

And FYI: I'm 63, this will be my 40th Thanksgiving hosting my relatives. The fewest we ever had was 5, the mostest 27. Most years around 13-18. This year 13. One nephew in UT with wife's people (down 4), another nephew to NM to wife's people (down 5), and one nephew working grocery store until 4pm (down 2).

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Old 11-16-2012, 01:01 AM   #2
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I've never understood why people can't just say to their family, "I don't feel like doing the meal this year. Why doesn't someone else take over?"


That said, I didn't read the letter so have no idea what this particular woman's situation is/was. But it's not hard to say "I'm not doing it this year," and it shouldn't be a huge deal.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:02 AM   #3
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... attitude aside, it is nice that she's been doing thanksgiving for 19 years. Actions do speak louder than words. It's great when both go together. But one is much better than none. I'm also sure she likes her relatives and appreciates their company. Otherwise she wouldn't put up with the "exhaustion." Just my own take. Feel free to scoff.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:03 AM   #4
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I definitely agree that she needs to stop being a pushover. Family obligations like this are so often self-inflicted. If she doesn't want to, just don't.

I have taken my own advice. This year's holidays will include for just us, the kids, and local friends. That's it. No travel, no visitors. I need a break from family stress, and I'm going to take one. We have reservations at a Brazilian churrascaria (all-you-can-eat grilled meats and a wonderful veggie bar) with friends. This may become our new tradition.

I'm also counting the hours!
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:32 AM   #5
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I've never understood why people can't just say to their family, "I don't feel like doing the meal this year. Why doesn't someone else take over?"
Location can be a problem here. My extended family is spread across 3 cities, so thanksgiving pretty much has to happen in the city in the middle. Of the three households that live in that city, one has a house so trashy no one wants to go there. So that leaves two houses: one does thanksgiving and one does christmas. I'd like to host, but I don't have room to seat 20 people and I'm not in a city convenient to others. Driving 2 hours also limits what I can bring with me to things that aren't hot. :/
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:36 AM   #6
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I'll do the Turkey. What would you like to bring?

Carol is bringing cranberry relish and rolls, Tom and Susan are bringing two pumpkin pies.

We still need starches (Yams? Mashed Potatoes? Rice?) and vegetables.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:42 AM   #7
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We need pie! Blueberry, blackberry, pecan, apple, peach, and coconut cream (which, most people don't know, was served at the first Thanksgiving dinner . . . I think).
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:07 AM   #8
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:31 AM   #9
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It could be that this woman doesn't enjoy any of it and feels resentful that the burden falls on her every year instead of having it shared among the relatives. I would have no problem making the dinner, but getting my small house into the proper state (cleaning and organizing) to receive that number of guests, would be giving me fits.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:30 AM   #10
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Whatever her reasons for resenting the holiday and her relatives, she should pull up her big girl panties and *tell* them this is the last year. Passive/aggressive behavior like that really annoys me. Especially since she is probably all smiles and sweetness and light while they are there.

And maybe I'm being totally unfair. She might have fibromyalgia or MS or something else of that nature. It might be a physical as well as mental hardship on her to host the dinner. All the more reason she should let them know that this is the last time.

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Old 11-16-2012, 06:32 AM   #11
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We need pie! Blueberry, blackberry, pecan, apple, peach, and coconut cream (which, most people don't know, was served at the first Thanksgiving dinner . . . I think).
Nice try AC, but I doubt if the Pilgrims had coconut. And if they did, I'd rather have coconut custard. And pecan, and mince meat, but not *real* mince meat made with meat, the phony stuff with apples and raisins.

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Old 11-16-2012, 07:00 AM   #12
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I tried to convince my parents that, with gas rationing, they should skip driving to my mother's annoying cousin's house three hours away, and my girlfriend and I would make Thanksgiving dinner in their kitchen: for us, my girlfriend's daughter, my sister, maybe my grandfather.

I usually like hybrids.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:57 AM   #13
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I'll do the Turkey. What would you like to bring?

Carol is bringing cranberry relish and rolls, Tom and Susan are bringing two pumpkin pies.

We still need starches (Yams? Mashed Potatoes? Rice?) and vegetables.
I could bring broccoli casserole, which is a tradition at all our dinners. Oh, wait...you don't live in Georgia, so I guess I can't participate.

For the last dozen or so years, I've done Thanksgiving dinner for eight or nine of us. This year my wife has insisted we buy a catered dinner instead, and I reluctantly gave in. It will save me a huge amount of work, but somehow it seems more festive to me when it's made right here. And, I'll admit, I take a little pride in demonstrating that a guy can put together a decent meal. But not this time.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:18 AM   #14
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Nice try AC, but I doubt if the Pilgrims had coconut. And if they did, I'd rather have coconut custard. And pecan, and mince meat, but not *real* mince meat made with meat, the phony stuff with apples and raisins.

MM
I'm fairly certain they did peach pie.

If they didn't, they should have.

I'm doing the turkey again for the 40th time or so. People-relatives/friends, etc.- are free to come or not. Don't care. I want the leftovers.

And peach pie.

And I might make some rum raisin ice cream too.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:12 AM   #15
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I could bring broccoli casserole, which is a tradition at all our dinners. Oh, wait...you don't live in Georgia, so I guess I can't participate.

For the last dozen or so years, I've done Thanksgiving dinner for eight or nine of us. This year my wife has insisted we buy a catered dinner instead, and I reluctantly gave in. It will save me a huge amount of work, but somehow it seems more festive to me when it's made right here. And, I'll admit, I take a little pride in demonstrating that a guy can put together a decent meal. But not this time.
For me, it was always a cooperative dinner, whether done at home with my mom and siblings and dad, or at the church or a food bank, or at my own place for grad students and friends and people who looked hungry.

I like cooperative cooking. I like making a bunch of pies (gotta have pecan, and pumpkin, and apple . . . ) and rolls and various kinds of cranberry sauce. (It was my job to make it with oranges and fresh cranberries and a hand-turned meat grinder when I was a kid, but then my mom discovered Susan Stamberg (of NPR fame's) Cranberry Relish. And I found this neat recipe in the red-and-white-checked Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that had walnuts . . . .)

My first "I gotta cook the Turkey for Guests" Thanksgiving included a guest who was dismayed that there wouldn't be gravy (I'd been unable to make palatable gravy previously) so I made gravy for several days ahead, as practice, using canned stock as practice, then made the Real Thing with pan juice from the turkey . . .

He said it was great but "the wrong color." I note, for those who know me, he is still alive and mobile to this very day.

The whole green bean casserole thing was new to me; I'd never heard of it before Dawno and AW.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:20 AM   #16
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I'm fairly certain they did peach pie.
The Pilgrims made a special trip to Georgia to get them (only then it was called Tsuecanewausa, or something). They didn't use those picked green ones from California. After the meal the Pilgrims watched football and fell asleep on the sofa.

Speaking of fruit, I'm currently eating some fruit jams and preserves made by the Amish. And some Tennessee-made country ham and smoked sausage as well.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:11 PM   #17
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...And I might make some rum raisin ice cream too.
*Gets down on one knee*

Haggis, will you marry me?
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:24 PM   #18
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*Gets down on one knee*

Haggis, will you marry me?
Heh. The rum raisin never fails.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:35 PM   #19
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First menu?

Only two accounts of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving menu have survived. The first was in a letter by Edward Winslow dated December 12, 1621. The second mention was recalled by William Bradford in his History of Plymouth Plantation, circa 1640.

The accounts for the three-day feast list five deer brought by Indians, a large "heap" of turkeys and waterfowl shot by Pilgrims, and sea catches of cod and bass.

In addition were English corns (wheat and barley), Indian corn (maize), and a few peas Winslow described as harvested too late to be at their best. Therein ends the main menu.

No supplies from the Mayflower lasted to the late fall of 1621, but historians can infer the consumption of native acorns, beans, eels, gooseberries, grapes, lobsters, mussels, pine nuts, raspberries, squashes, and strawberries–all wild fare, some of which was introduced to the Pilgrims by Squanto (Tisquantum), the English-speaking Wampanoag who had been kidnaped to Europe, educated by English monks, and made his way back to New England to help the Pilgrims from 1620 to 1622.

Some histories claim some chickens survived the first year, but other European livestock did not arrive until 1623. Transplanted English and Dutch gardens may have supplied some herbs and vegetables, but there were no potatoes or yams. Sadly, no coconuts or peaches.

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Old 11-18-2012, 02:42 AM   #20
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Just because I remember being surprised when I learned this, we do grow peaches in Massachusetts (though I am sure the Pilgrims didn't). I've had an excellent cobbler made with local peaches at a peach festival.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:23 PM   #21
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Just because I remember being surprised when I learned this, we do grow peaches in Massachusetts (though I am sure the Pilgrims didn't). I've had an excellent cobbler made with local peaches at a peach festival.
I believe peach trees have been bred to have significantly greater cold tolerance in just the last 50 years, maybe less. It's wonderful - I have a dwarf peach in my zone 6A front yard, not sheltered from the elements at all, and every year it bears so much fruit the branches can barely support the weight.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:18 PM   #22
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Our family rotates it. We'll do it one year. Then my BIL. Then my MIL. Then an aunt. Then an uncle. That way no one gets burdened with it every year. And we treat it as the huge family get together feast it is with the best china, centerpieces, etc. the kind family and kids remember and enjoy all their lives.
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Passive/aggressive behavior like that really annoys me. Especially since she is probably all smiles and sweetness and light while they are there.
D all people with mental disorders annoy you? Or just this one?
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:30 PM   #23
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Our family rotates it. We'll do it one year. Then my BIL. Then my MIL. Then an aunt. Then an uncle. That way no one gets burdened with it every year. And we treat it as the huge family get together feast it is with the best china, centerpieces, etc. the kind family and kids remember and enjoy all their lives. D all people with mental disorders annoy you? Or just this one?
Hey, if you all have the space and the 'stuff' (dishes etc) to do the big family feast, I think that is great. My brother and I were the only ones with enough space. I do turkey day and he does Christmas.

I don't know if this person has a mental disorder.

MM
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:03 PM   #24
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Space? We live in an 1100 square foot home. Most people have living rooms bigger.



And so she annoys you without you knowing?
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:11 AM   #25
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We always have a big potluck sort of meal. That way, one person isn't in charge of everything.

However, Mom does assign the dishes we're to bring, just so she can maintain a little bit of control.

I'll be bringing the green bean casserole and the pumpkin pie.
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