~Can’t afford flowers for the table? No worries, hons – take a large vase and fill it with colorful objects from around the house. We like to use empty medicine bottles. We’ll tie each one with a little ribbon to make it more festive. Or you can gather rocks from outside and put them in the vase. It’s also handy as a weapon that way, in case the festivities turn to fisticuffs.
~Let everyone help you! Ask everyone to bring a dish. If you are extremely selective about your menu and want to cook yourself, have them bring their own place setting and then take it home to wash themselves. That will help!
~Short on space for a buffet? Nonsense! Turn all your other furniture into serving boards. Use a desk, the toilet tank, your makeup table! Just cover them with festive linens and voila! Dessert and cheese!
~Short on festive linens? Use blankets, sheets, your wedding dress. If it’s fabric, it’s a linen, hon! Re-purpose! (I’m still trying to find a new use for Fenwick’s old jock straps. If you have any ideas, let me know!)
~Have everyone share their wishes of Thanks around the table. Make it even more fun by having them say it in the form of a limerick! For Uncle Robert who eats all the holiday stuffing, for example: “There once was a turkey named Bob, who ate all the stuffing the slob, he burped and he farted, his next poo quite smarted, said “never again!” with a sob!”
~Make sure to have enough room and food for surprise guests. Have TV trays ready. Buy a stash of turkey microwave dinners. On a budget? Buy the expired ones. This way your “surprise” guests won’t surprise you ever again. That’s planning ahead, hons!
~Thaw your turkey ahead of time. You’ll read guides that tell you a 20 pound turkey takes 3 days to thaw. Those of us who have done this before laugh and laugh and laugh. It takes 3 weeks to thaw one of those big boys! Especially the ones from the grocery store. I believe they keep those in an iceberg in the Arctic during the year until Thanksgiving. I remember one year after thawing for 4 days, Fenwick had to take the chain saw to the bird and we boiled the parts for 2 hours until they thawed. We were sick for a week afterward, but dammit we had turkey!! For the budget minded, buy separate parts of chickens and bake them up as your “turkey parts.” Just tell your guests that the temperature must have been a bit too high and they shrank!!
~So much stress over gravy, hons! I hear complaints and wails and downright fear over making it from scratch. It’s so easy. Just scrape the turkey pan drippings (after it’s baked, hons) into a cup. Make a roux in a skillet. I was out of flour once and used face powder. I don’t recommend this. Then add some chicken stock and your drippings and stir. Don’t forget to season. And there will be lumps. Gravy always has lumps. The secret those smug, sassy smiled home cooks keep is that they strain it. No strainer? No problem, use pantyhose! No pantyhose? No problem! Just wrestle one of the older lady relatives to the ground and use hers! A compression stocking is even better!
~Leftover safety. The food will keep in the refrigerator for only 4 days. But here’s the thing. If there is any food left in the refrigerator after 4 days, you don’t want to eat it anyway.
~If you have spare cash that you just have nothing else to spend on, go for the festive apron! Personally, I like having the food stains on my clothing. It’s a reminder of what I’ve cooked, so I never forget to serve the green bean casserole. (like I did when Seymour was 12 and we didn’t find it until he was 14). Fenwick enjoys wearing an apron. It makes him feel as if he’s contributed. He puts this on –
And enjoys the pats on the back from the other men for his hard work without lifting a finger.
Remember the day, hons. And all the things you are thankful for. Being able to foist your kids on another family for a day; at least before they take a bite, having people be actually grateful for your cooking ; being able to keep the turkey from extinction.
That’s it, hons. If you’re doing Thanksgiving, do it well. Do it safely. AND like my daddy used to tell me before going on a date “Use protection with that turkey!”