I went through my usual pre-party panic cleaning frenzy only to discover with 1 hour before our first guests were expected to arrive (at 1:00) that our vacuum had decided to omit an intensely foul smell...close your eyes and imagine singed hair and burning tires. Yum, eh? Especially right before you are hosting your first ever Thanksgiving dinner for TWELVE people. So, I borrow a vacuum from a neighbor that works exceptionally well on the 1/3 of Tal that is laying on the living room and dining room rugs. Vacuum, check! Now I just have 2 pumpkin pies, roasted vegetables, stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, crescent rolls and cranberry sauce to get on the table by 3:00.
It was about 1:00 by this time and my brother arrived dutifully on time with mac 'n cheese and sweet tea in tow. Surprising quickly I was able to whip up the pumpkin pies and get them into the 425 degree oven. Now, food prep and timing are things I have absolutely no experience with at all. In fact, most meals that I am in charge of tend to be eaten in rounds as things always end up taking me off guard by cooking either much faster or much slower than I expect. I had given a little thought to the fact that I had four things that require the oven at three different temperatures and cooking times, but the reality of the organization and maneuvering didn't really hit me until that 2:00 mark. I have never moved so quickly and expertly in my kitchen. With a flushed face and dish towel thrown over my shoulder like a pro, I was shifting pies, setting timers, chopping veggies and rolling delicious crescent rolls out of a can like I had entertained for TWELVE people a thousand times before.
Miraculously, at precisely 3:00pm TWELVE Simmons' & Tarr's squeezed themselves into our cozy (read: freakin' tiny) dining room and feasted on:
- fried turkey courtesy of Papa Tarr
- ham courtesy of Mama Simmons
- roasted garlic mashed potatoes - a Martha Stewart recipe via Charles
- mac & cheese from my brother
- apple salad thanks to my sis
- roasted vegetables a la me...this was a truly gorgeous dish of acorn & yellow squash and radishes & carrots from Wendy's hippie farm coalition all simply seasoned with salt & pepper and lightly drizzled with olive oil
- pan-fried brussel sprouts from charles and his mama
- stuffing from a bag but gussied-up with fresh celery & onion
- glory collard greens
- cranberry sauce
- turkey gravy
- and crescent rolls.
Oh right...forgot to mention the SEVEN dessert options available including: pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin ooey gooey cake, pumpkin bread, mince pie, pecan pie and vanilla ice cream!!! I like pumpkin a lot.
Aside from the success of the meal, it was so wonderful to have both of our families with us yesterday. I think both sets of parents were proud that their kids are finally grown up enough to host Thanksgiving and attempt to begin making up for the years and years and years they have taken on the responsibility with very little thanks from the kids. I also think they were a little excited not to have to cook themselves this year. Sitting at our make-shift twelve-seater dining room table and watching our families enjoying an enormous meal in our house and interacting like one big unified family was better than anything I could have asked for and for that, I am so thankful.
Right, so now I'm an expert and all, feel free to hire me next year for all your Thanksgiving needs. Ha!