To nobody’s surprise, when I was twelve years old I announced to a room full of eighteen people that Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. My mom winced, thinking, no doubt, of all the years worth of stress-filled days thrust upon her in that instant by my declaration. If it really was my favorite, she had to make it good. And let me tell you, it really is my favorite.
I’d like to think I’ve alleviated a bit of the stress as I’ve grown; each year I take on more and more of the cooking. This year I actually made most of the dishes: the sautéed Brussels sprouts, roasted root vegetables, roasted herb potatoes, and red cabbage and apples. The most notable dishes, however, are always made by my mom: the turkey, the cornbread dressing, and the sticky toffee pudding.
Sure, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the turkey. But it wouldn’t be our Thanksgiving without a portion of mealy, mushroomy dressing so large it takes up a third of your plate, or the last bite of the night being a huge spoonful of ooey-gooey, melt in your mouth sticky toffee pudding so good it might have come from a stone cabin in the highlands of Scotland.
So I guess Thanksgiving is about the food, but it’s also about the tradition, and ours is quite simple. We cook like crazy. The turkey comes out, my cousin carves it, and we all sit down to eat. We raise our glasses and my dad says a “Thanks,” that gets followed by a chorus of “Cheers!” which is stifled so quickly by the sound of china that it is a wonder it ever happened at all.