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Carol Perkins: Thanksgiving preparations

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By Carol Perkins

The plans begin with a trip to the GFS store in Bowling Green where I can buy the best dressing (compared to mine) and the best sweet potato casserole, compared to mine. Check that off the list. Next, I must buy a turkey. How many pounds do I need? Let's see, there will be six of us, so surely a fifteen-pound one will do. We only eat the white meat, so maybe I need a turkey breast. That seems like cheating Thanksgiving! The look of a turkey on a plate compared to a turkey breast is not as "Thanksgivingly." Before buying, I must lift and thump each one. Why, I don't know! They aren't watermelons!

As I drop the turkey into the cart, I hear a "thud" against the metal cart as if I had dropped it from the ceiling. I look around to see if anyone else heard. Then I gather all the other ingredients I have decided I must have to recreate some delicious Pioneer Woman dishes.

She makes cooking like so easy and never creates a mess. (I bet her staff picks up the smallest crumble before it hits the floor.) When my cart is full, I check out and push my cart to the parking lot, along with other women who don't look very happy. For many cooks, Thanksgiving is more of a punishment than a privilege until the table is filled with family who appreciates your efforts. (Men don't seem to mind cooking; I think it is because they don't feel obligated.)

The bird goes into the refrigerator to thaw. (The Pioneer Woman probably shoots her own, plucks it, stuffs it, and makes a centerpiece out of the feathers. No, that would be Martha Stewart and then she would admire her creation and say, "That's a good thing." Cooking it is a piece of cake because I slather and mash and stick butter in every crevice before putting it in a cooking bag. Comes out tender and juicy. (Real cooks probably keep vigil over their turkey all night, piping liquid on top and throughout the bird. I don't have the inkling to do that.

The night before Thanksgiving, I drag out the seldom-used china. Wash it. Find matching pieces of silverware and take the glasses out of the china cabinet, shamefully dusty. I shake out my only suitable tablecloth for the occasion. Too wrinkled! I hold a hot iron over it until I see some improvement. By the time the table is full of food, who will notice the wrinkles? By now, I am getting nervous about the bird. It isn't thawing as fast as I anticipated. I pat it. "Good bird," I say, "keep thawing." In the meantime, pies are ready, salads are in the refrigerator, and Guy is sniffing around, looking for a pan or a bowl he can scrap.

Thanksgiving morning, the turkey goes into the oven (after I remove the disgusting insides of the bird with my hand), and the madness will begin. My daughter will arrive with her pumpkin pies, chocolate pies, and other dishes. (I should have cut back on mine.) Guy will ask, "What time do we eat?" We will work together to bring the meal to the table, and each tells for what we are thankful. I will look at Guy and think about the fifty-two Thanksgiving meals we have shared, and for that alone, I am grateful. I look at my mother and think about the seventy-three years we have shared Thanksgiving together, and I'm grateful. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

This story was posted on 2019-11-22 06:46:10
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