Sunday, November 23, 2008


This is going to be a great week.

First of all, I only have to work 2 1/2 days. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but any break from work is always welcome! (That's why they call it work, Kittens!)

And this Thursday, I celebrate my all-time favorite holiday.


I'm very grateful that I get to look forward to Thanksgiving. I'm aware that there are many people who look upon the celebration with dread. I have a few friends who absolutely dread Thanksgiving because they have to spend time with their families.

But I am different.

You see, I really like spending time with my family.

We celebrate Thanksgiving with my godparents and their kids, husbands, and significant others. There are usually 10-12 of us around the table any given year. We all get along fabulously, which makes the holiday that much more fun.

We start arriving at the family homestead (that is, my parents' house) around noon. Dad greets each of us with a bloody Mary. (I have mine sans vodka. I never liked vodka. Long story, will tell you about it another time). I'm usually the first to arrive, and the others start to trickle in as I'm gnawing on my celery stick.

Once everyone has arrived, bloody Marys consumed, Mama Cat starts with the appetizers, and Papa Cat cracks open the first bottle of wine. We drink beaucoup wine and eat beaucoup, too. Mama Cat makes pigs in a blanket, with a little Gulden's at the side for dipping, pizza rolls, with a little tomato sauce at the side for dipping, crab cakes, crudites, cheese and crackers, brie en croute, and giardinera. Mama Cat makes the crab cakes, the pizza rolls, and the pigs in a blanket. If she could make the rest by hand, she would.

Once we've gorged ourselves on appetizers, we kick back and watch TV. We watch anything that is on TV--football, the dog show on NBC, or our recent fave, the Food Network. More wine is consumed during this period as we catch up on the year.

(Now Kittens, I know what you're thinking, and I'm going to say this now: we do NOT get drunk on Thanksgiving day.)

While we sit in front of the boob tube, Mama Cat is in the kitchen, basting the turkey and making all of the side dishes. She absolutely lives for Thanksgiving, and loves to prepare everything from scratch. She refuses any outside help; she declines all offers to make side dishes, except for my friend's green bean casserole. This green bean casserole is made from scratch: organic green beans, fresh portabella mushroom slices, hand-chopped and fried onions, and fresh heavy cream. Mama Cat would banish us forever from the Thanksgiving table if we dared to bring anything that came out of a can or a box.

After several hours of laziness and wine drinking, we drag ourselves to the table. Papa Cat, by this time, has carved the turkey and has said grace. We load up with all of the trimmings: mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, my godmother's very scary cranberry mold (long story about that one, too), salad, dinner rolls, and mixed veggies (the one item that comes out of a bag). Oh yeah, and we drink more wine here, too.

So then we finish the meal, and the children clear the table and wash the dishes. This is an annual Thanksgiving tradition. I usually wash; I hate drying dishes, but if I have to do it, I do. While the children wash, the mothers take out their knitting and compare their latest projects, while the fathers go down to the garage and smoke cigars.

Once we've digested the main meal, after about an hour or so, we return to the dining room for coffee and our choice of one of Mama Cat's two homemade pies: apple or pumpkin. Her apple pie is so popular that she now has to make two of them; she only makes one pumpkin. She sends each slice around the table with a dollop of Cool Whip (though I may have to change tradition this year: do you even know what's in Cool Whip?!!? I think I'll buy two cans of Reddi Whip, and that will be my contribution to dinner).

After the dessert dishes have been washed, we retire to Papa Cat's chiminea outside, where we build a huge fire. We sit around and hang out by the flames, keeping warm and talking some more. This may just be my favorite part of the day.

Before we all leave, Mama Cat sends each of the children home with a grocery bag full of leftovers, as well as two loaves of her world-famous, prize-winning pumpkin bread.

OK, the pumpkin bread is neither world-famous nor prize-winning, but it's still pretty damn tasty!

And then we all go home, but that's not the end of the see, Kittens, in my family, the day after Thanksgiving, we all go over to my godparents' daughter's house for Thanksgiving dinner, part deux. We don't have any leftovers, but we do have a completely different, yet totally wonderful, decadent menu. Last year we had flourless chocolate cake for dessert that day. Flourless chocolate cake!

Thanksgiving...the holiday that's so nice, I celebrate it twice!

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