Hi, everyone! Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays, isn’t it? It’s the kickoff to the holiday season. It also happens to be the annual event at which I learned how to play poker, how to make a mashed potato gravy boat, and how to admit defeat when it comes to cooking a big meal with lots of sides for lots of people.
I have tried to cook this meal three times. The first, I was only second-in-command so it wasn’t a complete disaster. The next time was when was single – I cooked for my sister and her kids at a little townhome I moved into during my early days at Fox. I forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer until Thanksgiving Day and learned the hard way, that’s too late.
The final attempt was when Doug and I tried to cook for our friends Lisa and John O’Hurley in New York City. It was an unmitigated disaster. I inadvertently left half of my bags at the grocery store and only realized it too late. All we had was turkey and stuffing. The turkey caught on fire and wound up as dry as Clark Griswold’s in Christmas Vacation.
We realized as we cooked that we were missing gravy, which – given the turkey situation – we really needed. By this point the grocery store was closed and we were relegated to drugstore options. While at first it seemed like an enormous watery soup, I soon found out that if you stir and stir and stir and stir the gravy gets thicker and actually … disappears. My thought process went, “Well, I won’t eat gravy. Well, Doug won’t eat gravy.” Stirring … stirring. “Lisa probably doesn’t even like gravy. John can have some gravy.” John’s gravy was the size of a thimble. Then turkey grease got on one of our dogs which led the other dog to lick the first dog incessantly for a week which the grease-covered dog did not appreciate.
As the smoke billowed out of the kitchen following the oven fire, O’Hurley yelled out, “I’ve got Jean-Georges on speed dial!” In the end we opted not to dine at this five-star restaurant (mistake) and our dear friends never complained about their one-star holiday meal. But that was it for me.
This year, my sister’s kids came to visit again along with my mom – our first Thanksgiving without Suzanne. We played charades, shot some hoops (them, not me), played football in the clear, cold, late-fall weather, listened to music, and ate too much. I was reminded that what comes after tragedy is usually resilience. We are here, we love each other, we can hug and laugh and play games with each other. We can sit, pray, and be thankful for the time we have. We can reflect, eat pumpkin pie, and – if we’re lucky – cover that juicy turkey with all the gravy we want. Here’s hoping that’s how it went for you and yours.
Let’s have a great holiday season.
P.S. If you would like to help those in need this holiday, please consider donating to Toys for Tots.