I haven’t written anything in over 2 weeks, so you know what time of year it is. Personally, this time of year is my favorite. And not just because I make a sizable portion of my income at Christmas time.

I love having company. I took over much of the baking and cooking for holidays at my mom’s house before I moved out. For the last few years, I have planned our family’s New Year’s Day party for 30-40 people. But most of my entertaining has been at my parents’ house.

My only other experience of having my own place was an apartment that I shared while I was in college. I especially enjoyed entertaining there. College entertainment is so simple. You need alcohol, maybe some chips or pizzas, and you don’t have to clean. I mean, you don’t have to clean much before people come—after they come it’s a different story.

But this Thanksgiving was the first holiday I have ever hosted at my house. And not only did I host the dinner, I also had company for the whole weekend!

I can’t travel at Thanksgiving, because I’m too busy, so last year we spent a quiet Thanksgiving at home. It was nice, but quiet. And as Caleb likes to say, “the more people, the more party!”

I gave an offhand invitation to my family for Thanksgiving, not expecting anyone to want to come, and, lo and behold, almost everyone did.

I had lists on top of lists of house projects I wanted to have done before they came, and things that I wanted to do the week before they were here, 3 days before, 2 days before, the day before… I didn’t end up doing half of them, but I made the house presentable, and prepared lots of delicious food. I never did get the office tidied, but I figure that’s an after Christmas project anyway.

Thanksgiving Day I was sitting in the kitchen, thinking, “I really should be rushing around frantically, but there’s nothing to do right now.” The dinner came off without a hitch.

The applesauce and apple butter was made well in advance.

I bought the turkey at Whole Foods when I went into Pittsburgh to take my saw to be fixed.

The mushroom and white bean casserole was cooked waiting for bread crumbs to be added on Thanksgiving to bake.

I made the cranberry sauce on Tuesday.

I made apple juice (in my food processor) the day before.

I cooked the pies (vegan pumpkin pie (Bryanna’s with the maple syrup subbed for the sugar), gingerbread apple pie, and classic apple (sweetened with xylitol)) the day before.

When I got up (without an alarm) at 6:30ish on Thanksgiving, I made coffee cake for breakfast, then the cranberry cornbread (Cosmic Cornbread with millet-sooo good), and then I peeled the potatoes (from my garden) and left them in water ready to be cooked.

Before dinner, all I had to do was make the stuffing balls and steam the vegetables (one of which was swiss chard from my garden). Oh there was also a butternut squash soup. I roasted the squash earlier in the week and assembled the soup to simmer all day on Thanksgiving.

We ate at 2 p.m. which was exactly what I had planned. My mother helped me putting everything out and setting the table, my dad carved the turkey (his traditional job, despite being a vegetarian for 25ish years), but other than that, I did everything. My mom was very appreciative. After almost 40 years of marriage and six kids, I think she burned out any cooking desire that she may have had. She sent me a little cartoon where this woman is saying, “I have a lot to be thankful for…..I’m not hosting Thanksgiving dinner!”

The next night we had burritos and used up some of the turkey and the leftover vegetables. I sort of burned the beans on the bottom of the pot, and I think it improved them-gave them a nice smoky flavor, something you might want to try some time.

I love this time of year. At Christmas, I go home to my mom’s and she said she wants exactly the same menu as at Thanksgiving. For New Year’s, I’m still working on the menu. Last year, I made curries, shish kabobs, homemade pitas, and homemade bread. This year, will have to be different……


3 thoughts on “Hospitality

  1. That sounds really nice. I ran into your mom today at the store and she was telling me how nice your house is now and how nice Thanksgiving was. You did a lot of work!

  2. I did a thanksgiving here in the UK, which is pretty rare, my husband is american and we shared it with my Dad as we’re living with him. The kids love it, my youngest took in a pumpkin pie to share as part of her “food around the world” project, You cant get hold of the pumpkin very easily over here.

  3. The food all sounds amazing! It is a really nice feeling when you have everything together and can calmly go about your day. Good luck with the rest of the holiday season.

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