Sunday, November 30, 2008

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

I love that title! My friend, Dina, threw it out after I ran down our Thanksgiving guest list. My husband, kids and I usually travel to St. Louis to have Thanksgiving at my brother, Marty's house. Last year was the last Thanksgiving we were able to enjoy with my Mom before she passed away, which made us feel that a complete change-up was in order.

The Thanksgiving Celebration landed at a new house in Kansas, offering the opportunity to include my husband's family as well. The guest list swelled to include my brother and his wife and his kids; my sister, and my Dad and his new friend - all traveling from St. Louis and staying for the weekend. Additionally, we pulled in my father and mother-in-law; my husband's sister and her husband, her daughter and significant other and granddaughter, her other daughter and her son along with my husband's other sister. 22 people in all.

I would be showing you pictures, but since I was already bossing them all around on when to arrive, what to bring, when to eat, who would say grace and at which table to sit, I decided to not make them pose for pictures. You'll have to take my word for it...they all looked fabulous!

I'm 44 and I've never roasted a turkey...may we just start there on the prickly nervousness hovering in my subconscious. My father-in-law came over the night before and instructed me on brining a turkey and left me with cooking instructions for the next day. Don't be believing ANY recipe that says 15 minutes per pound! You may end up 1 1/2 hours off like we were...thankfully I was checking the turkey every 3 1/2 minutes. I highly recommend brining. The turkey was tender and succulent without being salty.

My mother-in-law decorated two of the three tables. My sister made a fresh flower arrangement for the third. Lovely, inviting, festive... some things should be taken care of by table decorations! Everyone contributed a edible delicacy.

My nervousness caused me to create all sorts of time-out plans for myself. A stroll around the pond, a game with one of the kids, a bottle of wine (glass, optional) in my closet... silly, silly girl. It was a wonderful day! Truly wonderful. The guests chatted animatedly, the food was divine and the day relaxing.

We decided to ask the kids to spit up between the three tables, instead of forming a pack of five wiggly, giggly goofballs. This led many of the couples to split up and the two sides of the family to mix together. I was thrilled to watch as all three tables bubbled with conversation.

My family stayed on until Saturday...hitting an interesting gallery and some off-the-beaten-path stores along with more communal cooking and... overeating. I enjoyed every minute and didn't realize how much energy I had expended until I crawled into bed at 8:30 on Saturday evening.

I hope you also had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!


Nancy said...

I just about fell out of my chair when I read that this was your first turkey! You're such a whiz in the kitchen that I find it hard to believe. I'm sure it was yummy. Lawman makes me cook a turkey every year even if we're not hosting.

jordan j said...

Thank goodness SOMEONE brined their turkey! I told my mom that they should have brined the turkey but nooooo.

Rechelle said...

A glass of wine in your closet!?!?! Ha ha ha ha ha!