Friday, November 28, 2008

Prep Work

This Thanksgiving found me in an unusual spot. Two very willing helpers! And a third who helped with setting the table although that might have been under some duress.
Amy & Jamie.
I have been giving a niece cooking lessons on Tuesday evenings so I wasn't surprised when she offered to help with Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Yes, I even let her use an electric mixer!
Secretly, I was pleased that I wasn't going to be alone in the kitchen. For me it's not about the work involved. I love to cook. It's something of a hobby and a passion. My hips can attest to that -- and at this stage in life I'm actually okay with a little more weight than less.
What I love about the kitchen and holidays is the relationships that exist in the kitchen. Mother/daughter. Husband/wife. Aunt/niece. Sister/sister. You get the idea. Usually I am alone in my kitchen, dicing, slicing, chopping and while I enjoy the process and the peace of the quiet, the process, I miss the conversations that occur when a group of like-minded individuals get together, in this case -- getting a holiday dinner on the table.
Both my daughter and my niece went through those years when they were too young to really be of help, and then they moved right along into the 'it's lame to be in the kitchen' phase of life. But now, oh yes! I am a happy woman because not only did my niece ask to help out, 'because I really want to learn this Auntie' but Amy asked too ... and admitted she was a bit annoyed that Jamie was going to help out and I hadn't asked her to help. Which is rather quite funny from where I'm sitting.
On Wednesday Amy arrived home from school and we went to work baking apple pie, berry pie and dipping strawberries in chocolate with coconut & nuts and just plain chocolate! It was nice spending time in the kitchen with her and just having that round about conversation that women are famous for ... start here, go there, end up over there and eventually back to the first topic ... which completes the cycle of the conversation. It was indeed quality time with her and I am so glad we had that time together.

Amy working on the strawberries!

Her apple pie out of the oven and cooling. Yes. She's done dipping the fruit and is now licking the spoon.

Thursday morning dawned cold and crisp with Jamie at the door ready to take on Thanksgiving dinner. We started with the turkey ... and she did it all ... from opening the package to getting him into the pan and into the oven. I taught her my secret Turkey ritual: Wash the bird gently, pat him dry gently, put him into the roasting pan and then massage him all over with light olive oil, give him one last pat on the backside with a sincere 'thank you' and then put him in the oven.

We did eventually have time to clean up ourselves and does she look happy with the outcome? Yes she does! This bird, her first, came out just perfect. I told her it's all about the ritual. ;)

You might not want to kiss this fresh cook who helped to make that pumpkin pie ... which was delish!
I do hope that your Thanksgiving day found you having time to reflect on what you are thankful for in your daily life and that you enjoyed the day however you spent it.


Debra said...

yep, kitchen conversation and company is the best, grins, debra

D said...

I am so glad you had such a good time preparing... and surely eating the holiday meal. The pictures are awesome... food looks wonderful... and OMG those strawberries... sugar? Who has sugar? I want one! LOL
Love ya

Lisa :-] said...

Thanksgiving dinner kind of got away from me this year...but we had a good time anyway.

Glad yours was happy...!

MyMaracas said...

That's one of the things I miss about living in a house full of men. I have fond memories of my grandmother, mother and I doing Thanksgiving dinner in Granny's tiny kitchen. I'm happy for all of you!

P.S. I have never seen strawberries that big. LOL