Happy Thanksgiving to all of our US readers! It is the national four day holiday dedicated to eating too much, shopping, and football. 🙂 Okay. Not really. Or at least, the last two aren’t supposed to be the point. Family, tradition, giving thanks – those are the actual purpose of the holiday. I’m already at my parents’ house to help with the preparations for our (in theory) drastically pared down feast. We used to do the whole BIG meal: Turkey, Oyster dressing, squash casserole, green bean casserole, baked beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, rolls or biscuits of some kind, and finally, pumpkin pie and pecan pie. Every single year, that meal was followed by an emergency room run for me because of a blinding migraine. I finally worked out that turkey and the oyster dressing are migraine triggers. THEN my mother began adding salmon to the Thanksgiving feast. Just for me. But, you know, my folks are in their 70s. Neither my sister, nor I, have houses, thus there’s no place else to host Thanksgiving. I feel like my parents shouldn’t have to host – not at their age. So last year, we tried going out to Thanksgiving dinner. Not a success. We paid too much money for a solidly mediocre meal, though everyone agreed that trying to take the burden off of my parents was the right thing to do. We just didn’t know how to do that and still have food we liked. That we could afford. Then, late last year, my mother was diagnosed with Celiac. Do you know how many things have wheat and gluten in them?? So much for casseroles. We finally settled on a reduced menu that we made at Mom’s house for this year.It was supposed to be fried chicken (we have a wheat free, gluten free flour mix for coating the chicken), baked beans, Brussels sprouts and biscuits. Easy, right? That menu has since expanded. Sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (my sister found gluten free cream of mushroom soup…we’ll see), and mashed potatoes and gravy. Not the simplified, pared down meal prep I’d envisioned. And hey! We’ve already had one family holiday meltdown! 🙂 Still. I am grateful. I still have both of my parents to worry over. I spent Tuesday evening taking my sister’s 15 year old daughter to her first concert. We saw Bastille. It was awesome. I’m in a privileged position in that my family is healthy and happy. I get to do the thing I love most – write stories. I get to live where I want and in the alternative residence I love – even if hauling out the boat and doing the bottom stressed me in October. Worth it. And above all, I am eternally grateful for my readers. Whether you are in the US and celebrating this weekend or not, I wish all of you good health, prosperity, joy and peace. (This is from a Buddhist compassion exercise: May you have good health. May you have wealth. May you have great joy. May you know peace.) I’ll add in: May you have plenty of your favorite things to eat. 🙂
What’s the one thing your family holiday meals cannot be without? It used to be oyster dressing for us. Until the Celiac thing. Now it’s the baked beans. What’s yours? Pie? Turkey? Football?