T-Minus None (#346)

Today I am thankful that Andy’s Engineer Cousin is the one hosting Thanksgiving.

Hosting is hard. You have to coordinate, cook, and clean. And then be cheerful instead of resentful when everyone arrives to eat and party. If you don’t think hosting is hard, then a) you’ve never hosted or, b) you’re a white male with a wife who does all the damned work, and, c) you’re headed for a divorce.

But not hosting doesn’t mean we’ve got it easy.

Andy’s been assigned mashed potatoes (okay, this is not very challenging, I admit). I was assigned “some dessert with maple.” Quite White, Engineer Cousin’s spouse, was miffed last year when I unveiled my homemade chocolate satin pie and pumpkin cheesecake instead of the maple cream pie. Quite White moaned, “I was looking forward to the pie all day! It’s my favorite!”

Maple Cream pie, pre-piped whipped cream.

In vain did I throw Engineer Cousin under the bus explain that Engineer Cousin had asked for something chocolate, not maple.

Yesterday morning I made the maple cream pie, because no one is making the mistake of a maple-less Thanksgiving again.  Yesterday afternoon Engineer Cousin texted and told me that more folks had just RSVPedincluding Andy’s brother and his three kids. So last night I made about 120 cookies (Denny’s kids are partial to my cookies, possibly because his wife won’t let them have any sweets).

At 8 this morning, Engineer Cousin texted again: “I know it’s late notice, but could you bring some gravy?”

It was the moment Andy had been training for. Within minutes, he had all the chicken carcasses he’d been saving out of the freezer and boiling on the stove for stock. Carrots, celery, and onions were added, plus thyme from a pot on the patio.  Then he was was off to H-Mart for chicken livers.

Andy’s as good at whipping up emergency gravy as I am at emergency cookies.

The hardest part was protecting the emergency cookies from my own marauding spawn. Dalton is always hungry—especially for cookies. Andy bought Little Debbie Snack Cakes to serve as decoys. That worked for a bit, but by bedtime, Dalton had made several attempts to “liberate” the cookies.

What? You’ve never slept with cookies on your bedside table?

Last night the cookies slept in our room. This morning, Dalton made a beeline for them and had to chased away.

From the hallway, he yelled, “You have to go to the bathroom sometime!”

When Andy called Baby D into the kitchen later, Baby D ran in, expecting cookies. Instead, his father pointed to a stack of potatoes. “You can help me peel those.”

“What? I don’t want to peel potatoes!”

“Doesn’t matter,” I told him. “You’re eating dinner, you can help make it.”

“But I’ve been doing all the dishes!”

“Which is way less work than cooking or baking.”

“Besides,’ Andy told him, “You need to learn life skills.”

“I already know how to peel!”

“Great,” I told him. “Prove it. Whomever peels the most potatoes the fastest gets a cookie.”

Less than 10 minutes later, Dalton announced he was done. Sure enough, there was a big pile of peeled potatoes on the counter. Andy was still peeling, rather slowly, while listening to a podcast on his airbuds. I handed Dalton a cookie, just as Andy finally looked up.

“Hey,” Andy protested. “He dumped two potatoes back in my pile! I get the cookie!”

Dalton stuffed the cookie in his face and gave two chews. Then he turned to his dad, opened his mouth, and said, “Oh. You want dis? Here!”

And how is your holiday—or regular day —going?

Author’s Note: Don’t worry, I gave Andy a cookie, too.

Enough potatoes for 25 people?


Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

22 thoughts on “T-Minus None (#346)”

  1. Daaaaang thats a ton of potatoes!!! A big gathering sounds fun — especially when you don’t have to host!

    And 120 cookies is no joke! You are a true keeper of the cookies.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I was also responsible for mashed potatoes. Great assignment — easy and everyone likes them no matter what. I would never host a Thanksgiving meal myself — waaaaay to much stress.

  3. I am laughing here at the thought of Dalton shouting “you have to go to the bathroom sometime” while you guard the cookies 😀 Perfect picture of family life.

    I am *seriously* impressed at Andy’s ability to throw together emergency gravy with such class and aplomb. Nice going y’all. Hope it’s been fabulous!

    1. Truly, Andy has been waiting his whole life, prepared to make emergency gravy on a moment’s notice. The soundtrack to “Rocky” would have been appropriate as he gathered his frozen chicken carcasses and sprang into action.

  4. Honestly, this was probably our most relaxing Thanksgiving ever. We hosted our family (our sons, their partners, and kids). Our youngest son’s partner brought some side dishes and we cooked the ham and turkey on Wednesday. Mac and cheese in the crock pot and roasted veggies were easy to prep and cook. This gave me hope that I may actually learn to not hate Thanksgiving someday. (Between my MIL and some of my family members, I have hated Thanksgiving for decades.)

    1. I love Mac & Cheese. That would be my chosen side dish at any Thanksgiving, but sadly, I haven’t had it yet at ANY Thanksgiving dinner.

      Thanksgiving can definitely be fraught. I am glad you had a good one.

          1. I don’t use the eggs. I don’t think it needs them. With all of the butter and cheese its wonderfully creamy and yummy. The pepper and ground mustard give it a little extra something. I always make a double batch.

  5. Thanksgiving Day, as we were walking around the neighborhood, Tara asked me, “Do you ever miss hosting?”

    “HELL no!” I replied without hesitation.

    Although, I will admit, a small part of me does miss it. Thanksgiving was always our holiday for hosting; we’d cram as many as nine guests inside a small apartment, but the camaraderie was always nice. The pile of dishes, not so much.

    The maple cream pie DOES look amazing!

  6. Maple cream pie? Oh that does sound delicious. Laughing about your reward in the potato peeling contest. Cookies are better than carrots as an incentive. Our Thanksgiving was the two of us, ezpz to host yourself– and still make it traditional. Will do again.

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