Friday, November 23, 2012

Preparing for Christmas

We can only be said to be alive in those moments 
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  
~ Thornton Wilder

Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday of the year!  We had 7 friends over and I served a traditional meal - turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, homemade bread, corn and broccoli casseroles courtesy of a friend who made extra for me (thank you, Melany!), and pumpkin and pecan pies.  :)

One of our guests was marveling over how good my turkey came out and I pointed out that I've had many years of practice.  That reminded me of my first Thanksgiving as a new wife.  It was a bit of a culture clash for me and my husband.  ;)

Growing up in my family, my mom did the daily cooking, but my dad did the special occasion cooking.  My husband and I were married in September and I had been doing the daily cooking for 3 months.  Then comes our first holiday as newlyweds - Thanksgiving.  

I was planning to try to do the cooking.  Instead of a turkey, I thought I'd do something smaller and so I purchased 2 small Cornish hens.  But I was totally confounded when I couldn't find an opening for the stuffing.  Naturally - having grown up in a house where the man was master of the special occasion cooking - I turned to my husband for advice and assistance.

Now, my husband grew up in a family where the kitchen was 100% the domain of the women.  In fact, when we were opening our wedding gifts, his reaction to a vegetable peeler was, "Cool!  What's this?"  

So, for months, everything had been going smoothly, and in accordance with his expectations, in that I was handling all of the "kitchen stuff."  Suddenly, out of the blue, during the most complicated meal preparation, I was asking for his advice and help!  He was caught completely by surprise - and not the good kind of surprise!

We were each feeling stressed - it seems so silly now, but at the time...  And so there were some tense, slightly elevated voices.   I was feeling shocked that he wouldn't help me during my time of need and he was feeling shocked that I would turn on him with such unreasonable demands.  I think it was one of the first moments of disharmony in our newlywed lives.  

Needless to say, we got past it, and now, 30 years later, I've got the turkey thing down pat.  

Oh, how did I resolve the no-opening issue?  I chopped those suckers in half with a butcher knife, stuffed them and "stitched" them back together with toothpicks before cooking them....  ;)

"Finesse" has never been one of my strong suits!  

Anyways, our dinner yesterday was delicious, but the highlight of the day was definitely setting up the Christmas decorations - a tree, village and trains.  

Apparently I'm not the only person who has trouble with subtle - courtesy of the girls, a snow storm engulfs the village:  

The trains were a new experience for our guests, and they loved it!  

Most everyone spent the afternoon on the floor:   

Watching their enjoyment is definitely one of my life's treasures!  

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving memories?  

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