I have never been a fan of Thanksgiving.
Of all the biggies (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Father's Day, my birthday), I think Thanksgiving is probably my least favorite holiday. And I think I have some pretty good reasons, too.
Please allow me to elaborate. (ha, this is my blog - just try and stop me!)
I like turkey, but let's be honest. Pretty much every turkey cooked on Thanksgiving is going to be dry and overcooked. And I hate brown gravy. So for my entire life I've been stuck swallowing dry, pasty turkey. In recent years, I've used Chardonnay to wash it down. Helps on so many levels.
And I do not like stuffing. I have some major texture issues with food, and wet bread is quite possibly the most flagrant offender in this category. As a kid, my aunt (who makes some incredibly delicious food) would serve Stove Top stuffing, which is the equivalent of a loaf of bread with a can of chicken broth poured on top and left to its own devices for a couple of days. Ew, I just threw up in my mouth thinking about that. Luckily for me I was recently diagnosed with a wheat allergy, giving me a legitimate medical reason to refuse to eat stuffing.
The veggie side dishes are okay, as long as they're not overcooked. I'm a big fan of crunchy, steamed veggies, but sadly, most Thanksgiving sides are limp and mushy. I empathize - I know how tough it is to simultaneously prepare a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, and rolls for a small army - but I still don't like eating mushy vegetables.
Growing up, we had dinner with my father's family. They're Italian, so in addition to the turkey, we also had a lasagna. I don't like pot cheese (1. that's ricotta for you non-NY/NJ Italians; 2. yes, I know that I am high maintenance, thanks for pointing that out, though). My method of eating lasagna is rather unconventional - I wrap one noodle around my fork and eat it, scrape off the pot cheese, repeat until pasta is finished. Without fail, every year my aunt or grandmother would look at the mound on my plate in horror and exclaim, "You don't like pot cheese?!?"
As tradition dictates, we always had pumpkin pie for dessert at my aunt's house. Here's a shocker - I do not like pumpkin pie. After I had graduated college and was living on my own, I finally figured out that if I wanted a dessert that was not pumpkin pie, I had to bring it with me. So I started my own tradition - I came with at least one batch of slice and bake chocolate chip cookies.
Before it became a Thing, my cousins and I used to go into New York City to watch the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Pareade get blown up. Afterward, we'd head back to NJ and I would spend the night at my aunt's house. The next day, since I was always awake before my (all male) cousins, my aunt would tell me that, as the girl, I had to set the table (I shit you not; this actually happened. And I was actually stupid enough not only to set the table, but to stay there more than once, until my cousin-in-law decided that I should stay with her and my cousin and let someone else have the honor).
Now we spend Thanksgiving at my in-laws' home. My mother-in-law makes a very nice dinner that I enjoy, but it's obvious that my kids aren't exactly enamored with the food. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so I always bring a special dessert for them.
After the table has been cleared, the leftovers bundled up, and we head home, then the craziness begins: the Countdown to Christmas! Now there's a holiday that I love...