As Penny and I waited through the last few minutes of 60 minutes so we could watch the latest installment of "The Amazing Race," we actually listened to some of what older-than-dirt Andy Rooney was gabbling about. His main point seemed to be that we should cast off modern conveniences, do without pre-packaged foods, and cook authentic Thanksgiving meals like the Pilgrims. Penny and I looked at each other with the same "has-he-lost-his-ever-loving-mind?" expression on our faces. What- go out and shoot a turkey with a blunderbuss? A bow and arrow? I think he was suggesting cooking from scratch more than turning us all into hunters...but it got me thinking about how life would be different, very, very different, if we were living, even just culinarily, like the Pilgrims.
No Kroger. No Walmart. No ovens or stove tops. No meat thermometers. No roasting bags. No electric knives. No boxed stuffing. No ergonomically correct peelers. No freezers or fridges. No cooking spray. No Dawn dish soap. No dishwashers - except the human kind. No graham cracker crust. No sweetened condensed milk( GASP - that is the worst part of all!) No canned pumpkin. No canned ANYTHING - unless you canned it yourself. No Pillsbury crescent rolls. NO MARSHMALLOWS! ( probably. Unless you watched Alton Brown and learned how to make them yourself. But no - no Food Network or internet either!) Now that's the worst - forget sweetened condensed milk. No internet? Unthinkable! I can go online and in seconds have THOUSANDS of recipes and advice at my fingertips. The Pilgrims? All they had was...Squanto.
This is the first Thanksgiving that I am hostessing. We will have eleven plus Aiden at our table and I have delegated a lot of the side dishes to my guests, so it's not like I will be doing it all by myself... In fact - I received this charming message via Facebook recently from one who will be at my festive table come Thursday:
What shall I bring you, poor as I am?
If I were a swineherd I'd bring you a ham.
If I were Mcdonald's I'd bring some fries.
What shall I bring you?
Maybe some pies?
by CHRISTINA BROWNETTI ('s) Mom
Now isn't that the cleverest, funniest thing you've seen all day?! ( I got her permission to use it here. This material is copyrighted.)
But in spite of all the help, I do feel some amount of um...what's the word I want...stress? Angst? Pressure? Nerves? The fact weighing in upon me that this is a rite of passage into womanhood? Those are all a little weightier than the truth of how I feel. What I want to know is - WILL THE TURKEY BE MOIST?! Will it be done in time so we can eat before Brad has to leave for work?! Oh, the suspense is killing me. But this is something I've wanted to do for quite some time. Something I must conquer.
In addition, we are moving Grampa into his new home the day before T-Day. Well, the moving process will take place in the next couple days because we want to get it all nice and set up before he gets there... So yeah. There are a lot of components that need to come together that I haven't even mentioned. It's looking like a big week. I have mapped out/earmarked what seems like the majority of the hours between now and Thursday. God forbid any unforeseen monkey wrenches should be thrown into our midst. Like getting sick. No! I didn't say it! Not jinxing myself!
But at least I can number among my blessings that I don't have to cook like a Pilgrim. I don't have to go through the ordeal of killing a turkey and plucking it, harvesting my wheat so I can flog it into flour to make bread to make stuffing with, picking the cranberries from the bog, churning butter, digging potatoes out of the ground, chopping the wood to stoke the fires that I will use to "cook" over, and hauling home a pumpkin to cut up and cook down for my pie. Not cooking like a Pilgrim? Now, THAT is something for which to give thanks INDEED.