turkey-960x675Happy Gobble Gobble from Los Angeles, California!

I don’t know about your Thanksgiv
; but mine was a success. Preparations started on the Tuesday before, at about 11am. The grocery shopping. I had written everything down on a list… you need to, there is no way in hell you would remember all of that!

I got to the store and I noticed that there weren’t that many customers around and the people, that were there, were there for the same reason as me. How can I tell? They too had a long grocery list. I also noticed that many had printed them out rather than writing it and they were way older than me. I guess, I am traditional in that sense and, thank god, technology didn’t take it away from me. I find pleasure in writing my lists. Typing them is just not the same and I find it harder to organiz
e my thoughts with a keyboard.

This is the first time, in my life, that I am cooking Thanksgiving in the US! It’s not the first time I am preparing it; I usually cook everything – by myself – since 2006. This year is a little different than the others, that’s because I am pregnant so I know I need to take it easy as this pregnancy is causing me to have random panic attacks (last attack was on Halloween).

On Wednesday, I prepared my time schedule and started to cook anything that needed to be boiled, I pre-prepared the cauliflower casserole and prepared the Menus (I like to print them out) and by the time I finished with everything, it was already 5pm!

The Thanksgiving Menu

Dead tired, on Thursday – Thanksgiving Day – I woke up at about 6:30am. Getting my husband, Andrea, up was a little harder; so I started to scream at him like a Thanksgiving Nazi would do. Andrea then went to pick-up the Turkey, I ordered about two weeks before hand. He came home with a box and when we opened it, our joyous face soon became frowns when my supposable fresh Turkey was frozen! Frozen?! I panicked, at this point I was hormonal and hysterical, I looked at my schedule hanging on the wall – I’m screwed.

I called #WholeFoods, in a frantic, and told them my situation… I might have been un-lady like and swore everything I possibly could imagine at them and then apologized and explained that I’m pregnant and hormonal. That’s when I started to cry. The guy on the phone wasn’t apologetic, nor sympathetic… at all! He explained that the turkey was flash -frozen and if I left it under cold running water, it would defrost in about 30 mins to an hour. WTF of a time frame is that?  First of all, I ordered a FRESH turkey; which you said you had, I asked if it was frozen, you said it wasn’t. Andrea picked it up and also repeated to you “It’s fresh, right?” and you confirmed to him that it was.

I still don’t get how a frozen turkey is ever considered fresh, especially when they explained to me, on the phone, that they received it over a week ago!  Anyways… moving on.

Thank god Andrea was at home, he basically made the Turkey, with my precise dictatorship – of course.  So really, I was the brain and he was the muscles. It weighed at about 14 pounds and since I am pregnant it wasn’t a good idea that I would handle that part. After the turkey was in the oven, my hubby decided that his work was done. I worked until 7pm, since the frozen turkey made me lose an hour.  I did, however, take a break for lunch to recoup. My cousin had also arrived in the early afternoon from San Diego and helped me out a lot. It’s hard allowing people to cook for you, they don’t know what they are doing and the food just won’t come out the same. Is this what a chef feels like in a busy restaurant? Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to my husband and cousin, without them this wasn’t going to happen!

Most of my guests had arrived b
y 6pm; but I was still in the kitchen, busy about. I barely spoke to anybody and hope no one thought I was rude, especially when I pushed them out of my way. Sorry for that; but common! Hot stuff coming through and I am not talking about me.

I set up a buffet table, self-service style. Mu house was like the UN, there were all cultures in my house, from Mexicans, Italians, Americans, South Africans and Russians. Of course, the Italians did not respect the line and just went at it. Others were trying to respect some sort of order, it was chaos and hilarious to watch.

Even my kitties had their own Thanksgiving meal ?

When we all sat down at the table, I halted everybody before they took a bite, although there were some who were already digging in. In my family we have a tradition before we eat our annual Thanksgiving meal, everybody needs to take turns and say what they are thankful for. We compromised and decided that people could eat during other’s speeches, whatever.  I didn’t really appreciated the ones that didn’t take it seriously and made their speech into a comedy, you are eating a Thanksgiving meal you should abide by the house rules; but most did speak from their hearts and it was nice to hear. It was as if everybody forgot that it was Thanksgiving and went straight for the grub; but there is a whole reason for this holiday, to not forget what you are thankful for. Once a year you remind yourself “You know what, I am pretty darn Thankful”, especially because during the year most don’t even consider it.  Of course, it took about 15 mins for everybody to eat, when it took about two days,
three days if you include the day of shopping, to
prepare everything.

This year was quite difficult for me because, just the year before, my mother suddenly passed away so you can imagine that I was unthankful for many things last year and this was the first year I was cooking Thanksgiving without my mom to call in the heart of her night and ask for help. I think that was the hardest part of my day.

Thankfully, this Thanksgiving, I had lots to be thankful for. After a year of trying to conceive I got the delightful news, in August, that I’m pregnant! So my little baby girl, Rosanna after my mother, is already the most wonderful thing that could have ever happened to me and I am so grateful for her and –of course – my husband, without him the task would have been a little more complicated.

The night ended with us playing an Italian game called “Il Mercante in Fiera”, which is actually a traditional game in my husband’s family during the Xmas holidays. Talking about traditions, my hubby and I have our own too. With the left overs we usually make Thanksgiving croquetas. Even though
Andrea screamed at me for making too much food that would be thrown away (or though he thought), somehow we managed to eat everything!! We are at a point, in our relationship, where the best of each of our family traditions are combining, with a few new traditions that we are making together along the way.

It took me a few days to get over Thanksgiving and finish this piece; but I hope all of you Americans and none Americans (because I know plenty of none Americans who celebrate it) had a wonderful and stuffed holiday. Always remember what you are Thankful for and don’t wait for Thanksgiving next year to remind yourself. Happy holidays!

By Simi

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