Thanksgiving is a feast of feats. For rigid traditionalists like us, cursed (or blessed) with a small New York kitchen, the menu is a deliberated and calibrated event. We must have some sort of potato, mashed, some sort of brussels sprout cooked in an unwholesome way, some sort of homemade roll, stuffing made from scratch, smoked turkey gravy made to my mother's specifications, homemade cranberry orange sauce, the turkey itself, and a pumpkin-ish dessert with whipped cream. As a token of health, we usually throw some sautéed kale into the mix. Getting all of these things ready to eat at the same time is our annual culinary Everest.
After procuring ingredients (a process involving trips to multiple grocery stores and bodegas), we make the schedule. Cranberry sauce gets made two days ahead, and sweet potatoes roasted, stuffing cornbread made, and dessert concocted the night before. Thanksgiving itself is a day of Swiss precision, as things get whisked in and out of the tiny oven and come to rest on every available surface of our gradually overheating apartment. Dirty dishes are valiantly battled. If everything goes well, the kitchen is only in moderate shambles when we sit down together, bone-tired, plates on our knees, and eat, eat, eat.
I suppose, theoretically, it might be possible to celebrate Thanksgiving without hours of furious cooking, but short of a plane ticket, it's the only way I get home.
Wishing you a day to be with the ones you love, second helpings, cozy sweaters and patterned socks. And hopefully some help cleaning up the kitchen.