Monday, November 17, 2008

I've Lost Thanksgiving.

This year, we're hosting 15 guests for Thanksgiving. My husband and I spent some time over the weekend measuring our dining room and coming up with the best combination of tables to use the space efficiently as well as ensuring that the guests will have their ample elbow room for eating, but more importantly, digesting.

We decided on 2 eight foot tables and 1 six foot 'classroom' sized table. I ordered the rentals, including linens and chairs, placed my order for two turkeys, and ordered our turkey fryer kit. We created a menu, working around what our guests like to contribute and I nominated myself to fill in the gaps.

While I focus on the food, Doug will focus on the beverages, as well as his infamous cranberry Jell-O shots, a tradition at our Thanksgiving celebrations. Doug's mom will be tackling dessert (remember, I don't bake) and his father will take care of the touch football necessitates. I called my mom to task and asked her to bring her wooden rooster, that will act as decor for our buffet and delegated the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes to her (as well as the small chocolate turkeys that are our traditional favors for each guest). Her philosophy on the Brussels sprouts (and come to think of it, most of her cooking) is one pound sprouts to one pound butter. And her sweet potatoes are one of my favorites traditions. Combined with shredded pineapple, brown sugar, and you guessed it, lots of butter, the dish fits in more with the desserts. Just before service, marshmallows are placed atop and you know they're finished when the whites puff over the casserole dish and burn the bottom of the oven.

Besides the menu, I took some time to think about the table set up and how to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in our dining room. Part of the problem starts with the floor. It's pink. And so are the window treatments: pink and white checked. No, I did not choose this color. The previous owners did and we haven't updated the room yet. Actually, the space has been blocked off since we moved in. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why. The room is beautiful, with two sets of windows on the left wall that look out to our street and molding running around the room about a quarter of the way up the wall. The walls are a soft eggshell but the carpeting and window treatments distract the eyes from the potential of the room. And yet, we've blocked it off, as if we'd like to preserve it.

In thinking of the traditional autumn colors, they all seem to clash with the Candy-cane inspired room. The new paint color is picked out, as well as the furniture and decor to change the space. But we're years off from that and my mission this Thanksgiving is to create a scene so when guests walk in, they sign and say, "This is beautiful!" as oppose to "It's pink." The latter has happened a few times and I often cringe upon hearing it.

To make matters worse, stores in my area seem to have forgotten Thanksgiving! Gingerbread candles have already replaced the Pumpkin Spice and ornaments, tinsel, and fir trees are everywhere. Actually, in one store, in the far back corner, there was a small black-wired bin filled with a horrible selection of Thanksgiving cocktail napkins. That's pretty much the best I could find. I even went to Linens n'Things, hoping to score a deal because they're going out of business. I felt a little better because they are forgetting both Thanksgiving and Christmas. (I did actually find a squeaking turkey at our pet shop, so maybe I'm just looking in the wrong spots).

I returned home with a few items, feeling deflated and confused. Our candy cane dining room would fit in much better with a Christmas theme, but it's still November, Thanksgiving is a week and a half away, and we're Jewish.

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