Thanksgiving: A recipe for success
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
Some of you will burn the turkey. I promise it will happen. And let me tell you, a crispy crunchy bird has little eye appeal. Others of you will bring a beautiful bronzed bird to the table — only to discover, after cutting into it, that it is bleeding and still gobbling. The burned and crispy bird is embarrassing. But the still-gobbling bird is a felony offense. Bringing a half-cooked turkey to the table is worthy of a phone call to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. (And don’t think Cousin Louise doesn’t have that number on her speed dial.) Y’see, once everyone catches sight of the raw turkey, the cranberry sauce looks way less appealing. The pumpkin pie smell brings on nausea. And don’t even talk about the eggnog.
Some of you may remember my sage advice from last year. If you don’t remember, it bears repeating. Buy four frozen pizzas. A cook without a back-up plan is a cook who is just too proud. And pride comes before a fall, my friend. Pride comes before a fall. I plan on cooking a beautiful bird this year. Golden brown on the outside. Tender and juicy on the inside. But there’ll also be frozen pizza and chicken nuggets in the freezer “just in case.”
Here’s another word of advice. Don’t make the dressing unless you know how to make the dressing. Old people are really the only ones who know how to make the dressing. I’m serious. I’ve never seen a young person make excellent dressing. So, feel free to knock yourself out on the rest of the meal. But, unless you’re older than 55, leave the dressing to more seasoned hands. IF someone has a written recipe for dressing, they are not the person who needs to make it. People who need to make the dressing are people who say things like, “A pinch of sage. A handful of chopped onions. Whatever cornbread you have left over.” A man or woman with wrinkled hands and rolled up sleeves is usually a prime candidate for such a task. However, if the person assigned to make the dressing asks for rye bread, oysters or chopped dates remove that person from the project immediately.
Know your family. It really chaps my hide when people try to make their extended family members something they’re not. If Uncle Charlie and Grandpa Jess just love the canned cranberry sauce that makes a “sucking” sound when it slides from the can, be gracious and buy canned cranberry sauce. If Meemaw likes cheap margarine instead of butter, let’s be accommodating. There’s nothing worse than a family member who decides one year that everyone in the family should be a “Martha Stewart Convert.” Truthfully, there are some things I don’t want at the Thanksgiving meal. I don’t want oysters in the dressing. I don’t want cranberries in the sweet potatoes. I don’t want a pie that was made from a recipe Aunt Gladys recently got on a Caribbean cruise ship. I want to eat the foods my granny made and her granny made. At Thanksgiving time, I like tradition. I think there’s some value in doing certain things “the way we’ve always done them.”
More importantly, I want my family to remember that Thanksgiving is not about turkey or pumpkin pie. God has blessed us with bountiful blessings. Those blessings are to be shared with others. Happy Sharing. Happy Thanksgiving.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her Web site lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 11.18.09
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View