fresh cranberry compote from another year
My mother and I had a lovely Thanksgiving though nothing about the day was as usual, as planned, or as expected.
She’s been worryingly logy the last couple of weeks and I’ve had some kind of bug that’s had cold symptoms and bronchial symptoms coming and going and an unreal level of fatigue every day during the same couple of weeks — possibly we both have a bug. Anyway, we planned out a menu of our usual Thanksgiving dinner, minus a dish or two in an attempt to simplify but by Wednesday we hadn’t even gotten the groceries.
Because of my odd blood pressure ailment, which leaves me light-headed if I stand for very long, I usually fix a big dinner over the course of a week. Grocery shopping all but the freshest stuff in advance, and plotting out what can be cooked first and frozen, what can be made ahead that lasts ok in fridge, etc. All the shopping and all the cooking between Wednesday and Thursday is just not something I can do.
So I looked on line to see what I could come up with and realized the local food co-op, of which I’m a member, instead of closing as they used to on Thanksgiving, somewhere along the way started opening and doing up a Thanksgiving feast for their hot bar.
I made sure I got over there this morning soon after the hot bar was supposed to be set up and picked up lovely bourbon-brined turkey, several kinds of veggies, dressing, mashed sweet potatoes and pie.
We both napped for a chunk of the afternoon and then heated up plates of the goodies I’d brought home and were so pleased. While we certainly prefer some of the things I make and I favor making my own so I can tweak recipes to get rid of wheat and dairy, the meal was excellent, and given how unwell we’d both been feeling it was perfect.
What I especially appreciated was our ability to roll with how we felt and what we sensed we could do. I realized that for most of my life I’ve had a big thing about Thanksgiving. As a child we lived reasonably near my father’s closest (in both age and relationship) brother and his family and I SO looked forward to visiting for a few days. Those cousins are the only ones around my age and for me those days were the closest I came to having siblings so I really loved it.
The takeaway was that for many years I felt I had to have a major event for Thanksgiving and it meant I often said yes to invitations that left me uncomfortably dining with large numbers of people I didn’t know and feeling a little disappointed that the day didn’t match my expectations of it.
My mother and I both LOVE the food of Thanksgiving so it was great that we managed to get a meal we liked with the minimum effort. I’m so grateful to the co-op for the great prep and for providing food I know is always fresh and local when possible. And I’ll be fixing us a meal of some of the things we’d planned when I’ve got some energy back.
But I think what I appreciated most was realizing that I let go of putting such a big expectation on how the day had to be or feel. As my draggy-ness wore on and I slowly revised expectations, from picking up a couple of side dishes at Trader Joe’s (happily ensconced in freezer) when I realized I’d not be able to do it all to abandoning the cooking plan altogether, I never felt let down. Never felt that stab of disappointment that I wouldn’t be having the magical meal I’d planned.
We had a lovely meal in a warm and cozy house. No one was shooting anyone in the street or dropping bombs nearby. The weather was lovely. After dumping our plan piece by piece, we were both delighted that we managed to pull something together. How could we not be grateful? Thank you God. Thank you Goddess.