It’s Thanksgiving, you’re sober and this year, maybe you’ve decided to take the leap and cook the whole shebang yourself. Like most addicts and alcoholics, asking for help isn’t always your forte, so you forge along on your own, forgetting that this holiday is typically one of family, unity, gratitude, and (are you ready?) TOGETHERNESS! It’s that holiday when “team cooking” is just part of the deal. It is also the one where you essentially “go back to the scene of the crime” – the place where many of us started our traumatic paths. This year, let’s find some humor in our mishaps, because really, laughter is the best medicine.
Now, let’s talk turkey. I’ve always cooked: learning early on how to make everything from the simple to the complex. But it was still with a fair amount of hubris that I attempted my first Thanksgiving without too many questions. I remember thinking, “Isn’t it just like cooking a chicken?” I did ask my mom and grandmother the basics like, “how long should I cook a turkey,” but beyond that, I sort of winged it. And of course, I ran into a whole slew of trouble. One, I had no idea how to time things so none of my dishes came out at the same time; Two, I used a plastic baster that melted together and stopped working (by the way, this happens to people all the time and usually results in a panicked run to multiple stores only to find them all closed or better yet, out of basters, until you end up finding the last one at some off-brand store in the middle of nowhere and of course, it’s plastic.) I was fiercely determined to make this meal on my own for myself and a couple of friends, so I carried on.
In the end, I think we ended up eating around 7. The turkey was decent but not great, and the kitchen looked like it had been attacked by small children. Did I mention, I was only 18? I always look back at that particular event and giggle. It was the first of many snafus where asking for help would have been a lifesaver! Since then, I’ve pulled off many a Thanksgiving, some simple, some complex, but never without asking for help or contributions. The entire purpose of this meal is unity, togetherness, and the ability to share and express gratitude as a community. The stress of Thanksgiving happens when I attach myself to an idea and forget to let go. For some reason, doing that also hinders one’s sense of humor.
I thought it would be nice to ask some of the Day School clients and teachers to name the one dish that would sabotage Thanksgiving IF IT WAS MISSING. I discovered that the traditional Thanksgiving fare is still a favorite of most and that the simple things are what make it a Thanksgiving meal. It went like this:
- Stuffing: 4
- Pumpkin pie: 4
- Sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping: 2
- Mashed potatoes:
- Honey roasted ham: (Ham??)
- Green bean casserole
- CANNED cranberries (WHAT?!)
And we had one gal who has never had a Thanksgiving because she’s not from this country. She’s in for a surprise!
This year, let’s try and let go of the drama and find a way to be a little silly. In other words, let’s laugh together, cook together, and just be “real” together this Thanksgiving and see what happens. I mean, come on, there will be pie!
Oh, and in case you get a wild hair and want to experiment with frying your turkey tomorrow, watch William Shatner lament the failure of his turkey fryer. It’s good for a giggle.