Friday, November 23, 2007

Why I Should Never Be Allowed to Host A Thanksgiving Dinner -Or- I Yam What I Yam, And Not What I Yam'nt

1. I cannot cook more than two things at once and expect them to finish cooking at the same time. I should just cover this ineptitude by bringing out course after course separately, as if I'd planned it all along. "May I present your deviled eggs, sans the mushed up yolks and mayo. Enjoy your boiled egg whites." Two minutes later: "Here is your yellow egg stuff plus a side dish I like to call 'potatoes.' Salt and butter will be available when I get a chance." Two minutes later: "Please feel encouraged to take ownership of your potatoes--here is your fork, salt, butter and milk with which to mash up your potatoes. And please reserve a handful of these miniature marshmallows to place atop your sweet yams when I get a chance to bring them out. Here is the Bic lighter in case you like your minis toasted."

2. Once I was preparing a really simple soup for a group that included opening up can of beans and pouring them into the bigger pot. Imagine my delight when one guest lowered her spoon into her bowl and came up with the lid of the bean can.

3. True horror story: A few years ago, my husband's grandmother was weak and nearing the end of her life. When all of his family arrived for the meal, I pulled several people aside and said, "Do you see that step-down into the family room? I'm afraid Grandma can't negotiate that step alone, and I know I will be distracted in the kitchen. Will you please watch over her? Because I would feel so bad if she fell."

I'm giving you one second to predict the story's ending.

About 15 minute later, there was a thud. Grandma had fallen and hit her head on the wall going down that very step. There was actually a dent in the wall, and she was a tiny, tiny woman. She did not have to be taken to the hospital, but for about 10 minutes, we could not decide what to do as she seemed incoherent, etc. Truly, this is one of the worst moments in my life. And it revolved around my hosting Thanksgiving.

4. As I prepared my home and kitchen for tomorrow's feast, I began to grow insecure about the amount of food I had to offer. The ham seemed too small. The bag of potatoes seemed skimpy. I decided to go get a roast and put it in the crock pot in the morning. I went to the store, fought the Black Friday crowds and returned home to put away groceries. Slowly I began to realize I had not yet put away my roast.

Roast ... roast ... ROAST. Where. is. the. roast?! I began to get so agitated that I knocked a gallon of cider out of the fridge. The lid came off, and cider splashed all down the front of me, from neck to ankles, and all over the floor that my husband had just mopped.

My sweet daughter cleaned up the cider while I walked like Frankenstein to the laundry room and shed my sticky clothes. Then I called the store. The roast was still in the bag in the carousel at the end of aisle 9. My husband, fearing that my head would explode if I had to face the Black Friday crowd again, fetched the roast. Let me add a fascinating denouement to my story: While Husband was gone, the vacuum began making the weirdest squeaking, jabbering noise. It sounded like I had sucked up a chipmunk. Don't worry; Zoe is OK.

Now, I have only listed four reasons/illustrations of why I should never be asked to do this again the rest of my life. I could write a book. But I didn't ... what I did instead was write to Susanne, who talked me down off the ledge of my dining room pass-through.

But, you know, hosting just isn't my thang. The equivalent challenge would be like asking other people to make a public speech once a year or sing a solo at church or leave the house without makeup in a one-piece spandex body suit with a home perm. I'm about that totally uncomfortable.

When do we need to rise to the challenge of leaving the comfort zone, and when do we need to say "I yam what I yam, and I do not want to serve any more yams?"

I need an apron that says, "I'd rather be blogging."


Kati said...

Don't feel bad.

First, I brined the turkey for the first time. In cranberry/orange and apple juice.

Ever eat a bright fuschia burley?

Then. I made a HUGE bowl of stuffing.

And forgot to stuff the bird til after it was in the bag, in the oven.

Stuffing a hot turkey.

Adjusting the timing.

Calgon, take mee away.

Fresh Girl said...

Oh, bless your heart! I bet you're a lot better at this hosting stuff than you think you are. And I know none of that was funny at the time, but the way you tell it, it sure is now. ;)

I have the same trouble with #1, but I bet you at least know not to cut off the turkey's tail, leaving you no way to close the bird's back end. I won't say who did that one time. *g*

And my prediction for #3 was all wrong -- I thought you were going to say that while you were worrying about Grandma falling down the step, you weren't paying attention to what you were doing and YOU fell down it!

I hope it all goes well tomorrow and there are no catastrophes! ;)

Melanie said...

You are cracking me up.

The Gramdma story? Funny in a dark way.

His Girl said...

actually giggled out loud as I read this post.


Tammy said...

Linda, you are hilarious! I know the stress of cooking for company, but I bet it was really great to everyone who came and they probably didn't think the same as you did! :) Don't give up! Maybe you could have it at your house and just cater it all. Then it is alot less stress and work! (ha!)

Merrie said...

You are so funny... sorry, and I KNOW we are not to get pleasure from others downfallings... but, you manage to allow us to get pleasure from your.
I know that we all relate too well to your stories and all have similar ones, only don't enjoy the humor of them.
I have had to remind myself that holiday gatherings are about the gathering and not the hosting!
Now we can move on to Merry Christmas and soon it will be Happy New Year and life goes on!

Carrie said...

Sounds about the same as when I try to cook for other people. It just never works. But think of the memories you are creating! LOL
God bless :)

Barbara H. said...

Your meals are so memorable, though!! LOL! I sympathize, though, I really do, even though I am grinning...

Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts

marina said...

ok, linda off the record I need to know "what not to wear" for thanks giving all my sister show up in black I was the only one in read,
I need to listen to you more!!on "what not to wear" LOL marina Happy thanks Giving

Susan said...

Oh I am so there for you. I am not a great hostess. I'm so thankful for my husband who CAN do this all with great finesse! I also know, however, that if I host, people will bring the side dishes and life is good.

:-) Susan

NC Gal for Christ!! said...

I'm sitting here laughing, and trying to be quiet so as not to wake hubby!!
I had some challenges with my Thanksgiving meal this time, too. Thank God I was not having everyone here at my home, but nonetheless....but oh! the memories (or could they be nightmares!?)

(Found your blog on "BigMama's blog") Enjoyed it immensely!