Holidays of my childhood were always spent at my grandmother’s. All my cousins were there and we always had the full spread: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turnip, rolls, green beans, cranberry relish and pies of multiple denominations. As far as I know, my grandmother did all the work. Although it’s certainly possible my aunts and my mother helped. Certainly not my father or uncles, because cooking is woman’s work. <ahem>
My grandmother has been gone for 12 years, and was in no position to host a meal for at least 10 years before that. And we cousins grew up and were off with friends, or spouse’s families, or working or just not available consistently.
So now that I’m an adult, and a parent at that, I’m stuck with figuring out how to handle this tradition known as holiday cooking!
As with make-up and shoes, I seem to have missed the gene that controls creativity surrounding holiday meals. My poor children. I hate to see the amount of money, preparation, cooking and clean-up time and effort that goes into a meal that takes 15 minutes to eat. Sure, I know it’s not all about the food. It’s as much, or more, really, about creating and passing down a tradition, spending time with those you love and basking in the glow of the holiday. Except why is it that the women get stuck in that glow while the men get to watch football or drink beers on the porch? Not that I want to drink beers on the porch, but I think you get my point. And if it’s different in your family, hallelujah!
My step-sister is hosting Thanksgiving this year. We haven’t formally RSVP’d yet, but we may have to, just so I can bring a side dish or dessert and be done with it. And my children can bask in the love of our extended family, including cousins their age, which will be much more enjoyable and memorable for them than watching me stress out at home trying to put on a huge meal for just the three of us, which sounds pretty darn sad to me.