A Toast to the Cooks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This is my favorite holiday: it’s all about food, football, family and friends!

Many of the blogs and media I follow are talking about how to stay healthy or stick to your diet on Thanksgiving. I was thinking about doing a post on that but then I realized as much as I love food, I care even more about the people.

Childhood Memories

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When I was a kid we always went to our family friend’s house for Thanksgiving. Barb and Mark cooked the turkey and all the sides. I can still taste those yummy mashed potatoes and home made crescent rolls (I’m sighing and salivating right now). My Aunt Linda made the appetizers and my mom baked 10 or so pies. My mom’s pies are family legend, she would make 10+ pies for about 15 people (now my mouth is really watering). After dinner we would all pitch in and clean up.

It wasn’t just the food that made me love Thanksgiving. I loved the warm house and crowded kitchen. I didn’t grow up with a lot of family around, but on Thanksgiving it felt like a big boisterous holiday. I felt at home in Barb and Mark’s house in a way I didn’t really understand until I couldn’t make it there one year.

After my parents moved from my hometown in Delaware I spent a couple Thanksgivings at their house. It was never quite the same (sorry Mom!) but I was happy to at least have my family around. Also, my mother is an excellent cook and she baked more pies than we had guests.

The Worst Guest

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It wasn’t until my first year in NYC that I didn’t see any of my family on Thanksgiving. My friend, Chris, and his girlfriend, Sam, invited Erin and me and many of their other friends over for Thanksgiving. Erin and I gladly accepted. We were too broke to make the trek home.

At first, I thought how wonderfully mature and grownup we were to be spending Thanksgiving in NYC with our friends (technically New Jersey). I thought about the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends where they get together and start new traditions. I thought it would be like that. I think for everyone else, it probably was.

Sam and Chris cooked a beautiful meal. I was so impressed by their turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and everything else which I don’t remember so well now…because I was drunk. I remember thinking it’s just like home.

But it wasn’t home.

Homesickness set in on the day before Thanksgiving as Erin and I shopped for pies and wine. I was happy to be in NYC with my friends, but missing my mother’s kitchen and the time we spent baking pies.

Thanksgiving morning Erin and I decided to make Breakfast Bourbon for our train ride from Brooklyn to NJ. Yes, this is illegal and stupid. We had to take three trains and a taxi, so please don’t judge. By the time we got to Sam and Chris’s house we had a cheerful holiday buzz. A Turkeytini and acouple glasses of wine later, and we were disaster holiday drunk.

I had a full blown holiday melt down at their house. I cried and freaked out to Sam, who just cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for about fifteen people. I’m pretty sure she had been standing in the kitchen for 24 hours straight. To her credit she didn’t shove me out a window. Erin and I almost got lost in New Jersey, thankfully kind strangers guided us to the Manhattan bound train. I think we spent all of Friday on our futon nursing hangovers and wondering what we were doing with our lives. It was indeed a Black Friday.

Pull Up A Chair

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This year, Mike and I are traveling to Indiana to spend Thanksgiving with his family. I couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend’s family. They are kind and loving and treat me like one of their own. They are also excellent cooks. I’m excited to spend the holiday with them, but I’m also a little homesick for my family and friends who are spread across the country.

I realize now being a grown up on the holidays doesn’t look anything like the TV shows. I will never have my ideal Thanksgiving where everyone I love is in the kitchen. I used to feel as if my heart was torn into pieces scattered across the country. But now, I feel my heart is overflowing and is big enough to spread to everyone I love across the country. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for all of the people I love–those I’ll see and those I won’t. I’m truly grateful for all of the cooks who have hosted me and shared their love through their food and their homes. Words cannot begin to express what these people have meant to me. So I just want to conclude with this:

Thank you Barb, Mark, Mom, Dad, Aunt Linda, Sam and Chris for feeding me–mind, body and soul. I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving and I miss you all!

I also want to thank Mike and his family for making me feel loved, and for inviting me into your homes and your family. I’m truly grateful to have you in my life!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Who are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

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2 comments

  1. […] of five to feed, I might not be saying this but for now I’m enjoying it! That reminds me, cooking is expression of love. Ok last night, I expressed my love of curry, not Mike; he doesn’t like Indian […]

  2. […] people I care about most are scattered across the country and the world. While I would love to see them in person, talk on the phone, or exchange letters–I often […]

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