The End of an Era

It came this week. My lovely, delicious Bon Appetit Thanksgiving issue with a delicious plate of lemon-herb turkey with lemon-garlic gravy, cornbread dressing with roasted fall vegetables, balsamic-braised cipolline onions with pomegranate, and cranberry and blood orange relish gracing the cover. And it pains me to even look at it.

After hosting Thanksgiving for our families for the nine years we have been married, the hubby and I have decided to relinquish this holiday tradition in the name of peanut. For as long as we’ve been married, we have not lived closed to our family homesteads. Since it would be difficult for us to travel for every holiday, we picked Turkey Day to stay home, I would cook and anyone and everyone was welcome. Each year we had a slightly different mix of folks – from parents and siblings to various sibling dates to a few aunts and uncles for good measure. Each year I had a minor meltdown about 11am or 1pm (depending on what time dinner was set), would be handed a glass of wine by the hubby and cook on. Each year we’d try something new and have a table full of tried and true favorites (creamy mashed potatoes, Grandma’s pecan pie recipe, mushroom crostini).

But now that we have a family, we want to create some family traditions for peanut. And there is just so much pressure on Christmas day to see everyone and be everywhere, that we just didn’t want to put the little guy through that now that he’s old enough to get cranky, worn out and annoyed. So we have decided, after debating this literally since we got in the car to drive home after last year’s Christmas visits, to stay home on Christmas.

Boy, this still tears me up. This will be my first Christmas morning not waking up in my parents’ home and seeing mom, dad and sis first thing. But on the flip side, this will be the hubby and my first Christmas waking up in our own bed, in our own home (which seems crazy to me after 9 years of marriage). And we’ll pack up the car and head up to see all the family probably for New Year’s anyway. But we at least avoid the pressure of that one day, can spend the day creating new traditions for peanut that will grow with our little clan, and hopefully have more quality time celebrating the holidays with each set of relatives in a more relaxed environment when we visit later in the week.

Ah, but Thanksgiving. I admit to being a foodie wannabe. I loved pouring over my recipe box, each past Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit since 1999, every cook book I own and my handwritten “menus” from Thanksgiving past. I loved developing each year’s rundown and creating massive shopping lists. It’s the only grocery trip I enjoy all year – going from store to store to get the best ingredients for each dish. I loved starting the day before making pies (two pecan because my dad and sis’s hubby can polish off one together in five minutes); peeling the fruit and assembling the apple pie with my sister, a bottle of wine and endless girl talk; chopping; grating; timing. The whole thing was a challenge. The only one that was next to impossible was the year I was pregnant and didn’t know it — the smell of mushrooms made me nauseous. I cooked all day and then could barely eat any of it. I thought it was the stress. Ah, but the relief and surprise we discovered the day after everyone left and I worked up the courage to pee on that stick.

So this year, I will swallow my Thanksgiving pride and my mother’s turkey (that she hasn’t had to make in 9 years!). I will enjoy bringing the wine, being the assistant in the kitchen and helping with the dishes after (something I haven’t had to do much of in 9 years thanks to my wonderful family who pitches in with the suds).

And come Christmas, you’ll find me overcompensating making any number of chocolate-peppermint cookies, gingerbread, and pouring over those recipes to find the perfect Christmas dinner for our little threesome.

But, mom, there is a killer looking Cranberry-Chocolate Tart with marscapone filling in this issue — I’d be happy to send you the recipe!

One thought on “The End of an Era

  1. The most difficult part of new traditions is breaking the old ones. I had heard that once you have kids, you’re allowed to make new decisions and traditions without guilt or stress, but I’m not sure that’s true just yet!

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