Thanksgiving and Christmas in my family is a small affair. There aren’t many of us in the area. I enjoy entertaining but am used to having between three and five courses for 18 to 30 people. So a family get together is small compared to what I’m used to. Then again, it’s family.
I asked my mother to bring cheese and crackers and she asked not to as she didn’t want people to fill up ahead of time. Ok. She provided cranberry sauce and my brother and his wife brought potatoes.
I arrived about 90 minutes before the target plating time and set to work. Much of it was simply waiting as two dishes needed to finished in the oven, one had to be brought to temperature in a water bath, and two needed to chill. Everyone asked if there was anything they could do to help. Everything went out within about five minutes of one another and I was pleased. Normally my timing isn’t quite so tight.
The first course was the noodle salad which my dad eyed suspiciously. He may not encounter eggplant and mango often nor does he probably like toasted sesame seed. He had a forkful, noted that it wasn’t for him, and went on to the other courses. My heart sank a little but in short order the bread was demolished followed by a healthy portions of everything else.
At the end of the meal my uncle looked at me and said “I’ve never eaten so much”. This wasn’t a casual observation so much as I felt like he was sharing a secret. My brother commented “the food was all good”. There’s two ways to take this phrase, indicating that each food item were good or that the food was sufficient. If the former, that marks the first time my brother has ever complimented my food. Unlike after most holidays, my uncle, father, mother, and brother each volunteered to take something home with them. I hadn’t seen this before.
This wasn’t the first family holiday meal I’d done but it was the first to receive such a positive response. My mother once commented “I can see how people like your baking but it doesn’t really do much for me”. My dad has commented on how entrees “weren’t dry enough for my me”. I don’t know if this marks some progress in my cooking abilities or something else. This was my nephew’s second Thanksgiving, but the first where he had the same food as us. I think that somehow made things tastier.