A Vegas Thanksgiving
Did you see the Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving cooking schedule? She outlined how to spread the work over four days. Holy Pumpkin Pie! Thanksgiving is a lot of work for ONE meal consumed in the amount of time it takes to update your Facebook status.
This makes me appreciate my mom. She makes the best Thanksgiving meal EVER! And she never seems flustered or exhausted by the time the meal is ready to eat. Plus she somehow manages to avoid being dusted in flour and coated in giblet grease.
Perhaps mom was trying to give us a hint the year my parents paid for the whole family to spend the Thanksgiving holiday in Las Vegas. Since we were in a hotel, there was no way mom could cook Thanksgiving dinner. We would HAVE to eat out. So, in the early afternoon on Thanksgiving day we began wandering along the strip looking for a restaurant that was a) open, b) affordable c) served traditional Thanksgiving food and d) could serve the entire Hackworth clan which was about the same number of people that voted for Ralph Nader.
It's Vegas afterall: the buffet lover's Shangri-la. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Au contrair, mon frere!
By the time we found a place that met all of our criteria we were exhausted, irritable, famished and ready to eat anything that didn't move. Even Justin's ever-present humor slowed to a sloth-like hypoglycemic halt.
Near the end of the meal, I glanced over and noticed my mom perkily slopping up the last of the gravy with her roll. Then she cheerfully thanked the waiter for whisking away the dishes she didn't have to clean. In that moment, I didn't fully comprehend mom's tickled look of contentment in her eyes...until a few years later when I keeled over after making my first Thanksgiving meal for a crowd.
Something else happened during that fateful meal. Each of the kids (though grateful for the vacation) moaned and muttered....something about....wanting mom to cook....much better....just not the same...real mashed potatoes.....home sweet home....gravy that pours not plops.....
Alas, my mother's carefree Thanksgiving days were short-lived!
Now, in a few days, our family will gather and mom will work....her magic. She'll set a stunningly classy and classic table. She'll have an activity for the grandkids. She'll be cheerful and funny and make each person feel important. And you can bet that just like Ree Drummond, she will be busily preparing days in advance.
Mom always claims that her mother made the best meals. With due respect to my grandmother, my mom is tied for first place.
Thank you mom...for
planning and shopping
cleaning and chopping
cooking and baking
giving and taking.
And for letting us gather and feast in your comfortable, welcoming home.
I am grateful for my mother. And I suspect that even though there won't be a chef and a waiter and she may collapse from exhaustion after we leave on Sunday, her eyes will be twinkling with contentment. That's just the kind of wonderful she is.
Postscript: My dad is a great help in the kitchen and a great cook in his own right. I am thankful for you too dad!