“Unprecedented!” Oh, Yeah, We’re up for the Holidays

This year, bizarrely, I have decided to get into the holiday spirit. That is because I was stricken by a card that said “Good Wishes for an Unprecedented Thanksgiving.” Oh no, you don’t! My holiday won’t be “unprecedented.” I will cook a good meal, and then Mr. Nemo can watch football.

I loathe the word “unprecedented.” It has become the most overused word in the English language. I hate to burst your bubble of hyperbole, but the plague is not “unprecedented.” For centuries there have been plagues of smallpox, yellow fever, scarlet fever, flu, Ebola, etc. And yet we Americans smugly believed we were immune. It couldn’t happen here. Apparently world leaders had done simulation games to prepare for such outbreaks, but forgot to draw any conclusions! Hand-washing, masks, and staying home are all we’ve got, babe. Better just do it!

On the bright side side, the cancellation of the holiday reduces family pressure. Have you ever dined with Gilgamesh, Caligula, J. Robert Oppenheimer (“the father of the atomic bomb), and Darth Vader?

On the flip side of the coin, you may not be able to recreate the holiday your autocratic grandmother prepared single-handedly. Mine refused assistance in the kitchen, with the result that my mother and I barely could cook.

Most of us have something to be thankful for. My husband’s recovery from an accident. (That’s the big thing.) A cheap used copy of a book by the late Shirley Ann Grau. (That’s the little thing.)

So let’s have a SMALL BUT GOOD Thanksgiving celebration next week! Let’s not be drama queens.

Back to books next week.

Thanksgiving Prep in the Tiny Kitchen

There is no stress on my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving: no gifts, no (or little) disappointment about the holiday, no crying into the Scotch afterwards. It’s all about having dinner at your house, so you can act like a control freak and shoo everyone out of the kitchen.

Our kitchen is the tiniest in the world. There is no room for holiday helpers. I can’t imagine what they were thinking  in the 1920s when they built this house. Were they thinking, A servant will do all the cooking? Were they thinking, Let’s make this the most uncomfortable place for women?  The refrigerator is miniature because it has to fit under a low built-in cupboard. It is really too tiny to hold a week’s worth of food.  Every time you take out the broccoli several apples fall out, sometimes on your head. “I AM NEVER EATING AN APPLE AGAIN.” I had this conversation with an apple!

There is also little counter space. You can’t make eggplant parmesan unless you assemble it on the floor. As I recall, not only does one chop eggplant but one also grates cheese, dips the eggplant in bread crumbs and milk, and makes a tomato sauce. The bread crumbs fall off the eggplant despite the milk. And so I rarely make anything that requires more than two bowls and one pan.

I like Thanksgiving dinner. Roasting turkey is no stress—put the bird in a pan and baste—but I can no longer deal with poultry. (I’m a vegetarian who used to make holiday exceptions.)  So this year I’ve decided to have all the fixin’s sans turkey. There must be a fabulous substitute for turkey I can pick up at the market!   Any suggestions?

There are good things about Thanksgiving and bad things. The greatest thing: my husband is finally out of his sling! (A car turned into the bike lane and hit him a couple of months ago.) Another good thing: I have banned a truly horrible relative from my house.

Do you have any truly horrible relatives? Can they compete with mine? The last time we saw the Most Horrible Relative, he informed us he could only stay an hour because he was using us as a beard so he could meet some woman. I have never been so furious. Should I have told his wife?  I decided it was not my business.  But I will certainly never see him again!

The other great thing about Thanksgiving: I get to read women’s fiction! In the past I have read Peyton Place and Valley of the Dolls while basting the turkey. What will I read this year? Something truly pop and sensational, I hope. Nothing comes to mind at the moment…

There are only two  bad things about Thanksgiving: it’s way too early this year (Nov 22), and it’s going to rain!

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