Unbelievably, in a week I will be headed home where cilantro, black beans, good peanut butter, and real General Mills Cheerios await. Also, cold weather, cozy reading sessions by the fireplace, and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, will be a great contrast to the last few months of my life spent in Sydney, Australia.
Thanksgiving, while in college, is the perfect break; right before final examinations, and just as stress is starting to sink in. College makes me appreciate the moments at home, particularly moments like Thanksgiving where I am surrounded by people I love and those who I am truly grateful for. This year, after being away from home for the longest time in my life, Thanksgiving will seem even more special. I can’t wait for my family’s different characters to convene, sharing new and old stories, laughing at memories, making music out of wine glass rims, and most importantly, placing spoons on our noses.
And, at the risk of sounding like an old lady, I’m so excited to see my cats.
A few years ago, my parents hosted Christmas dinner which included a fat turkey that was put in the oven at precisely 5:00 in the morning. As usual, I awoke to the smell of roasting turkey, coffee, and pine (and I swear I could even smell the Entenmann’s fruit stollen, despite being in a packaged box). At 1 o’clock, guests arrived and enjoyed appetizers and joyful family banter. At 3 o’clock, folks were getting hungry but my mother concluded that the turkey was not ready. We passed the time by playing charades, eating more appetizers, and keeping the little children entertained. We anxiously started to feel like turkey would not be a part of our dinner. Finally, at 5 o’clock, just after the sun had set and about two hours after we had planned on eating dinner, the turkey dilemma was resolved. The oven was set on Broil, not Bake. But gosh darn it, it was the best, most tender turkey we’ve ever had.
Looking back, we all make sure to set the oven to bake when cooking turkeys, but at times, I wish we broiled it again. Broiling the turkey allowed us to embrace the family more. We spent more time laughing and telling stories than baking the turkey would have allowed. If someday I get the prestigious honor of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I could opt for a Tofurky, as unappealing as that sounds. But regardless of whether the turkey is real or not, I know that I will be broiling it, whether intentionally or not.