Crazy times call for new traditions


2020 is the year of change that just keeps coming. The latest mandate in this year of Covid-19 is that instead of going “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house” we are being asked to “stay home and stay safe.”

Thanksgiving by phone

Many of the edicts suggest that we video call our loved ones from the safety of home instead. Ironic isn’t it? We have spent years lamenting how everyone was on their phones at the dinner table. Now that is being advised.

One fun idea: if you have the technology, consider using a smartphone or computer to share video cooking tutorials between veteran Thanksgiving chefs and the “new to cooking” brethren. It might be fun to “cook” together virtually.

Years ago, a winter storm kept us from going to my grandma’s for the traditional dinner. There I was at 32 years old making my first full holiday dinner on the fly.

I had my Gram on speed dial all day. “OK, how often is too often to open the oven ‘just to check?'”

“Why are my pie crusts black on the edge?”

“Should they ooze?”

“Oh my gosh, Gram, pick up the phone! Why is my gravy doing that?”

I survived and no one died of salmonella. We definitely had a lot to be thankful for that year.

Advice for newbies

In order to make this essay helpful, let me share here — use a meat thermometer. You’re welcome.

Additionally, if you are new to the making of the traditional feast, please remember that poultry should never be served rare. Also, mashed potatoes are among the easiest foods to prepare — add or subtract liquid as necessary. Speaking of liquid, if you do imbibe, remember wine goes well with — and in  — a lot of things, and a few sips can also help the cook.

If you aren’t a prolific baker, there is no shame in purchasing pie. Don’t forget the ice cream. Someone always asks for ice cream.

Whether near are far, remember to share your stories. Make the family recipes — or buy it just like your family always did. In the end what matters is to love your people, wherever you are.

New celebrations

It is difficult to make changes to tradition. In the spirit of being thankful for the blessings we have, I am finding some cute/fun ideas for our “different” celebrations this year. Someone said she might have a campfire in the backyard and I made note of that. “PJs all day” sounds fun too. It’s not clear why I dress up to cook anyway?

I appreciate everyone sharing their ideas to make the best of change. As does Mr. Wonderful, because otherwise, I’m going to decide we should fill the holiday with projects on the house.

In the meantime, as we face a smaller gathering, it begs the question: four pies for four people is the correct ratio of pie per person, correct?

I hope the Butterball turkey hotline and local fire departments are ready for all the newbie turkey cooks who are going to make their debut this year! Let us lift them — and their turkeys — in prayer.


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