TND – Giving Thanks

November 29, 2012

It was Thanksgiving last week, and while I try to remember to be thankful for the good things in my life all the time, a little nudge to myself to actually appreciate those things never goes amiss.

As ever I am thankful for my friends who are my family – those who gather around my table every week, and those who are with us in spirit if not in actual fact due to their inconvenient insistence on living elsewhere (although we got one of them back for Dinner last week which was lovely).

However, what I am most immediately thankful for at the moment is that I did not cook Thanksgiving Dinner.  Let me explain, I love entertaining . . . normally.  I love the ritual of setting the table with a beautiful tablecloth, and polishing the good silver.  I love gathering people together to celebrate, and I love feeding people (I am also exceedingly partial to my stuffing recipe and cranberry sauce).  However, this has been the most exhausting past few weeks and in the days leading up to thanksgiving even the thought of hosting Thanksgiving Dinner was making me quail.

First about a month ago my roommate’s mother ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, and then again a week later with a pinched nerve (acquired by reading in bed while dutifully resting as she recovered from pneumonia).  There was the usual go around of waiting for test results and then trying to figure out what they all meant.  There, thankfully, does not seem to be any lasting consequences from all of this, but the whole circus was stressful.  Also, because I’m a good Southern girl, we took over a number of dishes for them to eat/freeze for later so that when she got out of the hospital she wouldn’t have to either think about cooking, or subsist entirely on take out.

Then, our apartment was rewired.  Theoretically I’m grateful for this.  We have overhead lights where there were none before.  We have wall light switches instead of pull cords (although I keep reaching for the pull cord in the middle of the room and having to back track to a wall to find the switch).  We have plugs that no longer look like they might emit a shower of sparks at any moment.

It was also incredibly messy and tedious.  There was a week when we cleaned for at least an hour every night when we got home just to get the apartment to a point where we were willing to take off our shoes and eat dinner.  We ended up hiring professional cleaners to come in after the electricians were done to clean the house to a fare-you-well – it’s now sparklingly clean and there was a large part of my soul that unknotted when I walked in the apartment last Thursday to spotless floors, and shelves, and bathroom, and kitchen.  However, having cleaners in also meant moving things off of shelves so that they could clean, and then moving everything back after they’d been.  Plus, if there is a fabric thing in the apartment that could be thrown in the washing machine it has been.  I cannot count the number of loads of laundry I have done in the last two weeks.

Then there was Thanksgiving looming on the horizon.  Normally we go to my roommate’s parents for Thanksgiving, but this year for obvious reasons we didn’t want her mother to cook.  There were, at one point, about five options on the table for how might make Thanksgiving as stress-free as possible (which in and of itself was stressful).  In the end we decided to go out to dinner, and accordingly made reservations at a lovely little restaurant in Arlington for Thursday afternoon.  It was lovely and relaxing.  There were no dishes or leftovers to deal with afterwards, and in celebration on Friday my roommate and I went up to Salem to the Peabody Essex Museum where we reveled in fantastical hats (http://pem.org/exhibitions/146-hats_an_anthology_by_stephen_jones), appreciated 15th C Portuguese tapestries (http://pem.org/exhibitions/151-the_invention_of_glory_afonso_v_and_the_pastrana_tapestries), and were (as always) baffled by the lack of decent coffee shops in Salem Center.

Ham Steaks
Roasted Butternut Squash with Grapes
Apple Sauce
Green Beans

This is the traditional least Thanksgiving-y menu I can devise, somewhat light in anticipation of Thursday’s gluttony, pre-Thanksgiving Dinner.

Ham Steaks

Roasted Butternut Squash with Grapes

Recipe previously given:  Cleaning up the Fridge

Apple Sauce

Recipe previously given:  Bangers-n-Mash


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