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!”
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 RSVPed—including 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.
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.