There were 18 on the invitation list this year and what was especially delightful was the clean house my children had prepared in advance of the big day. Outside of tidying up the bathroom, washing the dishes as I made them and showering, the only thing on my list to do on Thanksgiving was cook. I had so little to do, in fact, I even squeezed in a nap!
Previous years have usually found me with wet hair fresh from showering and mopping the kitchen floor as the first of the guests arrived. OOOOORRR, there was the frantic call to my mother-in-law, "I have guests in 2 hours, can you please come help me finish the house?!?" and like always, she'd be there.
This year, we had a different kind of team work. My brother and his wife stopped by to drop off some things they had made, just as I realized it was taking MUCH too long to cook my pumpkin pie. So long in fact that I was now behind on getting the turkey in the oven. Upon my thorough investigation I discovered the oven had turned off. Over a fury of turning it on, and it turning off, and I turning it on, and it turning off, and my cursing and turning it on, and it turning off...um, you get the picture, it quickly became apparent I was having an oven malfunction. Now, since we had bought the scratch and dent version my oven only has one rack and even though we pledge to buy another rack every year, we never do and because of this, cooking and especially baking have been turned into a fine science in my house, especially with 18 on the way. I can deal with that, but now add to the one rack the fact that the oven turns itself off each time it reaches cooking temp was just a bit much to bear. I called my mother-in-law frantic and asked her to bring over a roaster for the turkey. In true form, she was there in 15 minutes, still in her pj's roaster in hand. I pointed out that the kitchen floor had already been mopped, so she could go back home and rest :) Crisis averted...for now. I still had muffins, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes to bake somewhere. My sister-in-law offered her oven...as my husband and brother were tackling the digital complexities of my oven, trying to coax it into working. Finally, through a series of pounding, opening and closing the door, turning on and off fans...it was working....sigh of relief! Muffins went in the oven and I moved on to mixing the whipping cream for the fruit salad. Turned on the mixer and...silence; and it was not golden. I flipped the GFI, tried a different outlet, had my brother look at the mixer, and no luck. Into the garbage it went. My sister-in-law went to her house to get her mixer. Her mixer is what appears to decades older than mine, yet worked beautifully. UGH! Finally all the dishes were cooked and everything was served. We enjoyed a wonderful meal together...a loud, Ruchus, happy meal with many generations present.
Afterward, we gathered to do the dishes. My daughter opened the oven to put away pans only to discover the perfectly cooked green bean casserole and candied sweet potatoes that I forgot to serve. Thank God the oven worked so I could finish making food that never got served! Oh well, we had a wonderful time of Thanksgiving, and for the first time, I had a houseful of people addressing the challenges one by one, as I cooked (in my smallest kitchen of all time), and it all came together beautifully. Go Team!!