A belated happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! And a special Thanksgiving wish to our neighbors down the street who provided such entertainment yesterday in the form of no less than eight police cars all lined up, and who knows how many cops loading their shotguns behind their open car doors and marching down the street, pointedly not looking from side to side to see all the neighbor faces pressed against their windows. I have no idea what was going on down there; I don't even know what those neighbors look like. But it seems they were up to no good yesterday. Thanks, villainous neighbors! That was exciting.
We had a small dinner at our house, just me and Jim, my mom, Alexandra, and my brother and his girlfriend Charisma, who came down from Seattle. Jim and I have made a number of Thanksgiving dinners together now (this is the beginning of our 10th year together) and this was by far the most stress-free. The thing about Thanksgiving food is, it's easy to make. You just have to time everything right. And since there were only 6 of us this year, we just did the basics: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce. And of course, pie.
Yum. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here's the basting team of Jim and my mom:
And one hopeful pup:
The bird was divine. Good job, basters! And, the basters doubled as the gravy-makers, and the gravy, which I think is the most stressful part of the whole preparation, was the. best. ever. Easy, and PERFECT!
After the pies, which were made by the pie-maker Jim (pumpkin and apple) with me as apple-peeler, we did what everyone does on Thanksgiving and we watched a vampire movie! Oh, and not just vampires. Vampires vs. werewolves. (Underworld). Very festive. While we were doing that, Alexandra slunk upstairs to hijack my blog. I know she's going to be vastly upset that I am already posting again and pushing her post down, but. . . what can I say? Sorry, Al.
Here are a couple of tips for reluctant holiday hostesses:
1. Have a special recipe box just for holiday recipes you make every year.
Then, as the holiday approaches, you just take it down and there's everything you need, all together. Plus, as magazines always have new recipes every year and you try new ones, you add them, make notes to yourself, whatever. And Christmas cookie recipes -- keep them all together. Makes things so easy.
2. Cheap flowers. Small vases.
This one came to me by chance this year. Being in the middle of finishing a book, I did not put a whole lot of advance thinking into this meal. (Which is where my recipe box came in very handy.) I forgot to buy flowers until the night before, and then all that was really left to me was Safeway, where a basic bouquet was $24!! So instead I bought three $4 boquets of little filler things: the green mums, the small caranations, and whatever thos cute little pink pod things are, and I arranged them in little creamer pitchers. They filled 5 small containers, and looked totally cute all lined up down the table. You can keep a giant boquet on the table anyway, but some small ones, you can.
So, that's my "Martha" moment today!
And here's a thought, for everyday, not just holidays:
Use cloth napkins every day.
We just started doing this, after I read (wish I could find it to quote) the stats on how many trees would be saved annually if more people would start using recycled paper napkins and toilet paper. It was staggering. And it occurred to me I could do better than that (on the napkins, not the TP!) -- Cloth. We have a zillion and one pretty cloth napkins we never use. It's kind of like how some people will never use nice soaps but just keep them forever on the counter to look pretty? Well, I long ago got over that and I use those nice soaps. But my napkins have just been sitting there all pretty and tucked away, and so now we're using them instead of paper. And it's nice. Still need paper towels for some things, sure, but this has way reduced our paper consumption. And to the argument that you'll just use more water to wash them: not really. You have a few napkins to throw into the load of laundry you're going anyway. And to be honest, most meals aren't messy and you barely use your napking and don't necessarily need to wash it after dabbing a crumb from your lip. (Unless the thought of touching something that has touched your own lip really grosses you out, which would be weird.)
So, there's that. To save trees, and be elegant. I guess if you have kids, this may not be so viable, but I don't. Except this one, who definitely requires paper napkins for eye-goo maintainance:
Have a great weekend, all! If you feel like ruminating on your "misspent youth" go on over to Sunday Scribblings and contribute.