“"Thirteen thousand Twitter followers can't be wrong--Molly is a social media force to be reckoned with!"”
August Kammer  Talentworks Agency

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IT’S IN THE WORKS

I am in the process of a complete blog overhaul. Please bear with me, and stay tuned! I will be back soon! 

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BEFORE AND AFTER

It is over, and everything was delicious. I need to go on a diet immediately. 

Lessons learned:

  • Those roasting bags are the very best. 
  • Forget trying to make a roux for the gravy. The old “flour and broth mixed into the drippings” works best.
  • Wear leggings to dinner. They expand. See “dieting” above.
  • Dessert is superfluous, but damn, we ate it anyway.
  • Stuffing inside the turkey. Who promulgated that myth that it would poison you? It’s the only way to go!
  • I would post a photo of my holiday table, but my media button is broken. The blog needs a long-due overhaul.
  • There is no such thing as “too many side dishes.”
  • Ocean Spray cranberry is just FINE.
  • The more really is the merrier.
  • Turkey Tetrazzini was invented for a reason.
  • I need a nap.
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THE BIG DINNER

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Most of us grew up taking holidays for granted. Good grief. We sprawled across our beds, reading books, playing with our toys, or daydreaming, while decorations went up, pies were baked, and gifts just suddenly appeared under the tree, wrapped and tagged: presto!

The dinners? That huge turkey at Thanksgiving with the delicious stuffing, mounds of creamy mashed potatoes, lumpless gravy, and all the trimmings? All we had to do was show up at the table. Oh, and at Christmas–all the cookies (my mom made at least six kinds), the Christmas candle she made every year–took those for granted.! A standing rib roast was the dinner, with roasted potatoes, pickled walnuts, green beans. I never gave her the credit she deserved for all of that effort.

And now,  that  big production rests on me. Well, to be honest, my older daughter does the standing rib (and a turkey for those of us who no longer eat red meat) at Christmas. But Thanksgiving is mine this year. I confess that I am worried about the turkey.

The last time I roasted a fowl for my family, it was virtually raw on the inside. It looked perfect on the outside, and so I went ahead and mashed, cooked the green beans, made the gravy, and when everything was ready, cut into the chicken, which bled. I got mad, yelled, and forced everybody to microwave their servings of poultry and just “Eat, damn it!” My son-in-law has never let me forget that. And he is coming over for Thanksgiving this year.

I am having culinary nightmares. Roasting bag, or no? Should I get a spare meat thermometer? How long should I let the thing sit on the counter before carving it? What if I drop it getting it out of the roasting pan? Flour or cornstarch to thicken the gravy? Hell, should I just get those Bob Evans mashed potatoes? What if I forget the cranberry sauce?

I am not a natural in the kitchen, the way my mom was. She didn’t give any of this stuff a second thought. At least, I don’t think she did. She seemed to just march into the kitchen and produce all sorts of delectables, no sweat.

This is my recollection, anyway.But of course, where was I when all this was going on? Did I really pay any attention to what my mom might have been thinking or her anxiety about the holidays?

Of course not. I was in my room. Listening to my Beatle records.

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FALL

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Put the extra blanket on the bed. Take out the screens. Bring the philodendron in off the patio. Rake the leaves. Wait two days. Do that again. Start comparing online chili recipes. Dust off the crockpot. Start wearing socks again. “Spring forward, Fall back.”

Wonder if you should risk stuffing the turkey. Will anybody die? Should you use the good silver this year? It is such a pain to carefully wash and dry it afterwards-they say you can put it in the dishwasher, but it might get ruined somehow. Creamed onions? They are so good, but they give everybody gas.

When do you drag out the Christmas stuff? Should you do much decorating if you are not going to actually be here on Christmas morning? Maybe you should get rid of the big artificial tree, once and for all? Is a nice wreath on the front door enough? Are you turning Scrooge-ish?

You are getting older. So it’s ok to set the thermostat on 73 degrees. Saving on the energy bill isn’t worth the suffering. Who wants to wear a coat to cook dinner? Warming the bed with the heating pad is a good idea. Toasty when you get in.

Joints. You curse them. They ache when it rains. Arthritis is a given. Ben Gay is now a staple. You have an entire wardrobe of knee braces. You get your wedding ring sized up so that it fits over your knuckle, damn it.

Bright side: The foliage. Ginkgo trees are the most glorious. They sell chestnuts at the grocery now. Hot tea while watching television at night. Gingerbread. The kids are coming home for Thanksgiving. You had to buy a baby gate, and it made you feel like you were a young married person again.  And my God, Poldark, season four.

Dinner by candlelight. Driving past houses with lit windows, catching a glimpse of the life inside. Cats curled up right next to you. Cocoa.

Grandchildren on Christmas morning.

A deep breath of gratitude.

 

 

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IT’S BEEN A WHILE!

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Good grief. So much has happened since we saw one another!

Part of the reason I haven’t been here is that adorable baby in my lap. Her name is Birdie, and she was Christened October 8. She didn’t make one peep during the entire service, plus, she smiled the entire time.

You have to agree that she is absolutely perfect.

As soon as I got home from California and my grandchildren, I had arthroscopic knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus that I shredded years ago and have been limping around on since. That went fine, except for the fact that I am old and arthritic, which complicated the recovery with a lot of pain. The good news is that I haven’t had to do laundry or scoop out cat boxes for weeks, and it will be many more before I can either stoop over for scooping or carry anything in front of me on a staircase. I say thanks for this daily.

Speaking of thanks, I am cooking dinner this Thanksgiving. I haven’t had to do a turkey in years, and so I am convinced that it will either be raw or dry. I hope those people who answer the turkey hotline will be in a good mood that day, because I may be calling them a lot. You know those people who make their own cranberry sauce from actual berries? Those people who start their stuffing out by drying slices of homemade wholemeal bread in the oven? You do? Go to their house–over here it’s Ocean Spray and Pepperidge Farm.  No pumpkin pie here–there will be a nice assortment of fruit flavored Tums for dessert.

In other news, I am excited about one thing. I hobbled into a furniture store to by two new sofas. I may just be the most decisive person on the planet, because I stunned the in-house designer/salesman by doing one slow lap around the store, sitting on three sofas, and purchasing the third one I sat on. Took me ten minutes. He got flustered and asked me “Are you sure this is the one you want? And you are getting two of them?” Yup, it was that easy. My philosophy: GO NEUTRAL AND TRADITIONAL. You can dress it up or down with pillows. So there’s that. If there is a reality show for decision makers, I want to be on it. I think I could win big.

Have a good week, friends! And look at this baby in her crown of flowers. She is nearly edible in her cuteness. Probably more edible than my turkey…

 

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