Thanksgiving in the US usually involves a large family meal, sometimes as a potluck and often involving an all-hands-on-deck approach to get everything together at the end.
Some things can be done ahead, or even have to be.
The turkey (or chicken here this year) takes hours to cook, and there’s basting and whatnot. Potatoes are peeled and set on the boil.
But the real crunch happens at the end. The turkey comes out, and then all the wrap up has to happen. Potatoes are turned into mashed potatoes while gravy is prepped. Casseroles are popped into the now-free oven. Rolls or biscuits are thrown in to cook. Veggie sides are readied. And then, in a mad rush, it all gets to the table.
It takes every free hand to make that happen simultaneously.
Prayers of thanksgiving, and the feast begins!
As I write, it’s the day before Thanksgiving 2020.
The all-hands that will be available are my two hands. That’s it.
At present in my fridge:
The chicken is prepped and waiting, to go in the oven tomorrow.
The makings of stuffing have been prepped but I’ll finish on the stovetop tomorrow.
Green bean casserole is ready to bake, once the oven is free for it.
The filling is ready, but apple strudel doesn’t lend itself to assembly in advance.
I don’t plan to do mashed potatoes.
I won’t have cranberry sauce (because I rarely eat it anyway).
And I realize suddenly that I don’t have any cranberry wine from Velanzano.
Now that is a bit of a loss. But getting to NJ for wine wasn’t in the cards this year.
Everything is as ready as I think it can be, today.
I suppose the busy-ness of tomorrow will be a help, to not feel the wrongness of Thanksgiving without my family.
If we can ride out this pandemic without losing any of us, we will have come out far ahead of so many, whose Thanksgivings this side of heaven will always have those gaps.
It’s not so bad for us, all things considered.
That’s what I tell myself today, to get through.