Last year we were apart for Thanksgiving. The year before that we were in different places at the same time. This year we were all together, with the bonus of an added guest.
Grandma and Grandpa traveled from Seattle, my parents rode in from Arlington and our friend metro-ed from DC. On Thanksgiving day she ran into transportation challenges, but we overcome them and picked her up despite the distance. My parents came in the night before, the in-laws the week prior.
We are renting a big house; we split it among three families for the night. Ours took the master room where JR had her mattress relocate to the floor, and Yousef on the queen bed between Jeff and I. John and Susan shared the futon in the spare bedroom while my parents cozied on the twin foam mattress and the cushions from the couch on the floor in JR's room.
There was a lot of love in that house that night. Yousef and JR could not go to sleep. They went around from room to room to check in on the grandparents. My parents had not stayed with us before so Yousef was not sure what was going on. Usually we sleep at their house, so he was confused. Confused by ecstatic. His first thought the next morning was Jeddo and off he ran.
My first thought the next morning was FOOD! In the weeks leading up to the big day, we had decided to have limited offerings of the basics; just because it was Thanksgiving we did not need to gorge on too many sides and end up with an upset stomach. But as the day progressed I stressed that we did not have enough food and ended up making more than I had planned.
The original menu consisted of home-made butter rolls, apple-fennel salad, turkey, cranberry-orange chutney, and root vegetable mash. I then added boxed gravy for my father-in-law. What we ended up having was store bought rolls, spatchcocked turkey, two kinds of cranberry sauce, twice as much salad, root vegetable mash and mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, boiled corn on the cob, and roasted butternut squash. Costco pumpkin pie with whipped cream, pumpkin pie panna cotta, coffee and a fruit plate concluded the meal.
Did we have a lot of food? We sure did! Did we have enough leftovers? Not as many as I expected! Once we split the leftovers among three families and a friend, each group had only one more Thanksgiving meal reserved for later; the turkey was almost gone. Although a thirteen pounder, it came out so juicy and tender, having cooked for only 90 minutes rather than three hours, that I could not help but going back for seconds and thirds. I even picked at the turkey as I as dividing the extra among the guests. The bones were turned into stock while the raw neck and thoracic cage that was taken out when the Columbia Whole Foods butcher butterflied the turkey for me was frozen to be turned into soup later.
Did we have a good time? We sure did! I spent my time in the kitchen with my friend cooking and chatting, the kids played with Teta and Grandma, Jeff caught up on work and Hassan and John watched TV. We all came together to eat, and were thankful for the year that we had had.