Challenge accepted Bard's Hall. Here is some humorous Thanksgiving prep. advice.
Cleaning is over-rated, isn't it? It's a thankless chore, yet it becomes a priority when an impending holiday, such as Thanksgiving, looms on the horizon with the critical eyes of guests judging your efforts.
Granted, our homes could probably benefit from more than a token spit and polish, but our motivation is prodded by a compulsion to impress certain company. Herein lies the dilemma. Guests, however enchanted they may be by gleaming furniture and clutter-free floors, do not arrive with mops, brooms, rags, and various cleaning supplies. In other words, they do not feel compelled to pitch in. Probably, they've turned a blind eye to the chaos in their own homes. Shouldn't those we invite into our inner sanctum be attracted to our sparkling personality, and not our smudge-free , shining windows?
Guests are also inherently messy. Sweat, sacrifice, and sanity fade into oblivion with the first glass of red wine splattered on the carpet, the first smear of chocolate on the couch, the first muddy footprints patterning the floor, the first crunchy trail of crumbled crackers, the first shattered shards of glassware, and oh, so much more.
What I'm urging is simple, don't over clean. Think of immaculate polished floors as indoor skating rinks, slippery, and bone-jarringly bruising to visitors.
Do not attempt to sweep the woodstove chimney mere minutes before the anticipated arrival of Thanksgiving revellers. Wood ash, and soot tends to linger in the air. A crumpled, metal tube strewn across the livingroom creates a tripping hazard. Guests are rightfully shocked when greeted by hosts in black face.
Demonstrate to guests that one may co-habitate quite comfortably with dust. Dust is tenacious. Dust is irrefutable. Accept it. Encourage your budding artistes to doodle in the dust. Dust is an inexpensive renewable resource. Permit your children to autograph their artwork. Praise their creativity before friends and family. What's more important, temporarily dust-free surfaces, or the self-esteem of your offspring?
One item of furniture is indispensable at a Thanksgiving feast. During most days, this article serves as a repository for everything and anything. Flyers, mail, books, catalogues, craft bric-a-brac, odd socks, coins, stray buttons, hair clips, and leashes languish here.
The invited expect to over-indulge at the diningroom table. Clearing it of clutter is mandatory. Motorcycle engines, oily rags, and a scattering of tools fail to invoke a festive air.
Boxes were constructed for just such an occasion. Tablecloths are also an ingenious invention, especially the one-use disposable kind. They disguise and distinguish at the same time. Tear them, stain them, dribble or scribble on them.
Now that the anxiety of excessive housecleaning has been squashed, let's examine some other practical pointers for a holiday gathering.
Do not bring home a live turkey, especially one that has accompanied you cross-country on a seat next to yours. Travelling companions form a bond. Perhaps the turkey's unblinking stare appears creepy, but in reality he maintains a steady focus. You realize this fine, feathered fellow is a dedicated, non-judgmental listener. He never interrupts, or offers gobbled-gook advice. As you grow comfortable, you begin to think of your new pal as a Tom, Dick, or Harry. You and your future food share a new-found intimacy. Friends do not eat friends.
If you simply must dine upon traditional turkey for Thanksgiving, purchase a frozen one. That block of ice is just begging to be thawed in a toasty oven.
Of course, delegating the roasting of this bird to someone else, anyone else, spares one from the grief of any number of culinary catastrophes. Alas, this is rarely an option. A good cook is a prepared cook.
We all have witnessed the burning of food; the choking and tearing smoke, the coal-like residue. It's an indisputable fact of life. When and if the turkey surpasses a golden brown, and is in fact charred, be creative. Put a gourmet spin on it, and convince guests it was deliberate. Regale them with tales of blackened fish, a Creole delicacy.
Be generous with the gravy and cranberry sauce. They are after all considered Thanksgiving staples. Neither of these condiments needs to be homemade. Remember, homemade requires an investment of time, effort, skill, and fickle chance. Luck favours the prepared. For the cooking impaired, or the realist, gravy and cranberry sauce are easily attainable in a modern marvel known as a tin can. One doesn't have to fuss with the intricacies of a jelly mould either. Straight from the can, cranberry sauce presents as an instant red, round sculpture with lovely lines encircling it.
In the realm of poultry possibilities, a stubborn turkey could conceivably remain uncooked as everyone gathers for their Thanksgiving meal. At this moment, the prepared chef is offered an opportunity to be daring and innovative.
Introduce a new tradition, the backwards meal. Offer desserts as the first course. Yes, this is actually a blatant stalling technique, but why not?
Decadent desserts are usually displayed before and during the feast. They tantalize, and hint of an after dinner treat. Diners gorge on the turkey and its fabulous fixings. How often does a hostess hear, "No more, no thanks. I couldn't possibly eat another bite. I'm stuffed. I really shouldn't."
Besides, many of our delectable desserts are in fact harbouring vegetables, so, they're healthy, right? Who could, or would object?
Be brazen and kick off the Thanksgiving extravaganza with a well-deserved tribute to pumpkin pie, carrot cake, sweet potato pie, zucchini bread, and chocolate cake magically metamorphosed from sauerkraut, or potatoes.
One last piece of heartfelt advice, do not purchase the spray-type whipped cream. The nozzle has a hair trigger. In a matter of seconds, whipped cream streamers can shoot the length of a crowded table, and smother an unsuspecting face. What a waste. Guests prefer to be surprised with the less sticky sweetness of hugs and kisses.
Happy Thanksgiving! Sweet new memories await. ( 982 words )