I’ve discovered that trying to celebrate holidays while trying to celebrate holidays is a difficult task. Today was chockablock full of days to celebrate: National Cashew Day, National Espresso Day, National Eat a Cranberry Day and National Tie One on Day. It was also the day before Thanksgiving which means my agenda for the day was filled with preparations for that. It was an all out celebration whirlwind tour.
Thank god it was National Espresso Day because I was able to fuel myself with extra caffeine for the day. I enjoyed my espresso in the form of a cappuccino that I bought at Starbucks which was in the same parking lot as Shaw’s where I could also pick up a few last minute tidbits. I went there after meeting my brother and his family for lunch. I was delivering some creamed onions to him (and some fudge). For some reason, although I never eat them, I make good creamed onions. I think it’s because I can make a cream sauce and once you have that down, you can kind of fudge your way through anything that requires cream. My brother likes them, and my mom also insists on having them at Thanksgiving dinner, so I make them. I usually spend Thanksgiving with Lola’s family, but always send the onions over to my brother’s ahead of time. He and his wife Lesley usually host my mom, my sister and her family and Lesley’s family for the feast. I was glad I could contribute in a small way. I didn’t realize lunch was on the docket for today, but it was a delightful surprise to see everyone, especially the kids who were home from college. It was nice way to kick off the holiday.
Back at Starbucks, the cappuccino did me right. It warmed me up and gave me a little boost in my step. The parking lot there was cray-cray and I was sure I was going to see an accident. Inside Shaw’s wasn’t too bad however. Busy, but manageable. I ended up with eleven items which I bravely took through the express lane that allowed ten items maximum. What can I say; I’m a rebel. Karma hit me back instantly because the guy in front of me forgot his wallet and had to go to his car to get it, so I really didn’t save any time.
When I got home, I busted out the lawnmower (the machine, not the dance). I had to get the field ready for Thanksgiving. Our plan is to go to Becky’s for dinner, but in the morning, we are having our annual football game in the yard. The grass wasn’t too unruly, but a nice trim helped set the tone. I also marked off the field with some marking paint and got everything ready to go. It’s a narrow playing field, but that will make it interesting. The pregame banter was going back and forth today and rumor has it that veteran Jeff Breslin will even be making an appearance. As long as no one gets hurt, this should be fun.
After cleaning up, I celebrated National Tie One On Day. That’s not what you think. Tie One On refers to putting on an apron and cooking for Thanksgiving. So that’s what I did, although my apron was a figurative apron. I wish I had used an actual apron. Wearing an apron always makes me feel like I’m getting down to business kind of like the same feeling when you are holding a clipboard. I was making sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, more baklava, cranberry sauce (I ate a cranberry while making it so I can say I celebrated National Eat a Cranberry Day too), and a few other tidbits to bring. I made my project list and jumped right in.
Lola brought home some very special donuts today from PV Donuts in Providence including a Thanksgiving Donut which had turkey, stuffing, cranberry and mashed potatoes on top. How could you not be curious? She decided to bring some to Becky, our resident donut expert, so she could get a taste. That worked out perfectly because I could clang around the kitchen and make a big mess and she could have a little time with her sister before the big day.
After a good visit, Lola picked up some Chinese food on her way home so we could have a little dinner in between our cooking. There’s something about enjoying take out on the night before Thanksgiving that just seems right. You put so much preparation into the Thursday feast that you just want to make it easy for yourself. I opted for Cashew Chicken so I could eat and I could celebrate National Cashew Day.
Cashew Chicken is not our usual order. It actually reminded me of my Dad who, if we ever went out for Chinese food, would order Cashew Chicken. My Mom hated Chinese food and never wanted to even try it. My Dad, I think, loved it, but he didn’t have many occasions to enjoy it. There’s a story about when they were first married and living in New York City and my Dad was excited about how they were so close to some really, really good Chinese restaurants, and my Mom burst into tears because she didn’t like it. That was my Dad though; always making sure my Mom was happy because I don’t think he had Chinese food again for another twenty years. As an adult, I remember going out to lunch with him at a Chinese spot a few times and he’d always go for the cashew chicken. It’s pretty good. A few more vegetables than we prefer, but good tasting chicken that takes on the flavor of the nuts. Good stuff.
We ate our food while watching Survivor (OMG! OMG! OMG!) On commercial breaks we would run into the kitchen and clean up, then come back and watch the rest. It was nice just to take a moment with my Lola. Afterwards, Lola finished up the work on her Banana Cream Pie and I cleaned up the rest of the dishes. We were super tired when we went to bed and fell asleep with the good tireds. We have our list of things to do on Thursday too and our prep will start early. Cook, football, cook, clean, then feast. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but that’s how this holiday quest goes. But it’s all for joy, and celebrating joy is always worth the effort, especially when it comes to family. Cheers.
Next Up: National Sardines Day (and Thanksgiving)