November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Without Martha

I will driving to Michigan either tonight or tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with my grandma. We're very much looking forward to being with her, but not to the strange smells during the eight hour car ride or the horrid traffic through Chicago. Not to mentoned the bazillion tolls on the way through. I tell you the truth that you might as well just drive around flinging dollar bills out the window for three hours from Milwaukee on through to Indiana because that's about what you're doing. Oh, and since my cousin said she might come up from Detroit, which I doubt, because she says a lot of things that never seem to come to pass, like how the Lions will win the superbowl one day. Or crazy things like how organizing everything in Tupperware modular mates is not only a wise investment but a great way to stay tidy, even if the contents include 800 pounds and twenty years worth of clutter. Not that she does that or anything.

We will be dining off of paper plates this year, which I know would disgust Martha's daughter, but my litle granny has a little kitchen without a dishwasher. Not uh. There's no way we're pulling out the china. Even if she had any.

Finding this comforting, if you too are going to focus more on good food and quick clean ups.

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I'm telling you in advance, so don't act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won't be coming, I've made a few small changes:

Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make. Instead, I've gotten the kids involved in the decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the paper Easter plates and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.

Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand –crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist assures me that it is a turkey.

We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of the comments were made at 5:00 am Thanksgiving day upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds.

As an accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a recording of tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.

We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. We've also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door.

Now, I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private" – meaning: Do not, under any circumstances enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind my young diners that "passing the rolls" is not a football play. Nor is it a request to bean your sister in the head with warm tasty bread. Oh, and one reminder for the adults: For the duration of the meal, and especially while in the presence of young diners, we will refer to the giblet gravy by its lesser-know name, Cheese Sauce. If a young diner questions you regarding the origin or type of Cheese Sauce, plead ignorance.

Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice; take it or leave it.