For the first time in years, I am hosting Thanksgiving at home this year. As an American abroad, I don't typically bother with the whole affair. My husband, who isn't American, doesn't particularly care for turkey, my kids are non-eaters (sigh), and none of our friends (also not American) know the difference or place any value on the day. It never felt "worth it", despite the fact that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I spend every Thanksgiving picking at whatever (lovely) food is on my plate and sulking. Silly.
Now that my girls are getting old enough to notice, I think it's time they start to experience Thanksgiving. Although they've never really lived in the States, they are American. They should know about this unique holiday of ours. We invited two families to share our feast, and we hope it will be a great experience for everyone. And really, what's not to love about Thanksgiving? The coming together of family and friends, the remembrance of all our blessings, the sharing of food lovingly prepared... Okay, therein lies the problem.
So often, Thanksgiving meal preparation is a MASSIVE stressor for the cook. Even if you are smart enough to farm out all side dishes, a turkey for 10 (or more!) is a huge, multi-hour undertaking that must finish (ideally with perfection) on time to sate the hungry masses. I don't even roast chicken (my husband doesn't care much for that either), so a turkey is a bit daunting. I haven't cooked one in over five years, and I've never cooked one in a European-sized oven (small!). And not having it come out just right on such a very important day...well, the perfectionist in me would be truly devastated. Fingers crossed, it would turn out well, but then I'm still the only person at the table who is fussed about turkey in the first place. It's a lot of work for one person's culinary appreciation, but serving anything else just wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving.
Martha Stewart, avert your eyes.
Despite my ingrained urge to make everything from scratch, I JUST ORDERED A ROAST TURKEY. I called the local fancy-pants grocer (who does sell turkeys this time of year, just for us Yanks abroad) and asked if they'd roast it up for me by this weekend (we shifted our feast to accommodate work schedules). Lo and behold, they were happy to do it! My turkey will be roasted to perfection with no inconvenience (or stress!) to me and my family, and it will be ready on time, without question. Hip hip hooray! Now, I have plenty of time to do things I enjoy, like make biscuits (American, not English), side dishes, tidy up, set the table to look extra pretty, whatever tra-la-la because I don't have to worry about the bird. I am oh-so-happy!
Sometimes, it's just better to be smart.