I’m not adept at a lot of things. But one thing I am good at is finding ways to celebrate Thanksgiving without having to be the one to cook the turkey.
As best I recall I’ve cooked a turkey only three times in my 64 years. None of those times were disasters that would have made me shy away from ever doing it again.
I always remembered to buy a big bird, to thaw it completely, and to put it in the oven early enough to be ready to eat by mid-afternoon. By the third time, I even remembered to remove the sack of innards before cooking.
I think it was that final mastery that allowed me to step back and let others take the reins.
On to the next challenge, I probably thought.
Not that I’ve been a complete slacker. I never showed up empty handed to any of the Thanksgiving dinner invitations that I readily accepted.
Usually I was carrying something called a corn-bake casserole, a side dish so midwestern that my spiral bound, well-used, “What’s Cooking in Clark County” cookbook contains 12 different variations of it.
Each variation adds another stick of butter, another cup of sour cream, or another cup of shredded cheese until it ultimately becomes a fiction to call the dish a “vegetable.”
Knowing my audience, I always went with the one that called for the most butter.
When a svelte New Yorker found herself in the midwest one year and asked for the recipe, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. I knew she’d be having her own version of “Black Friday” when she stepped on the scale the next day. There was no reason to ruin Thanksgiving for her too.
This year followed the usual pattern and I was thankful to be able to eat turkey cooked by someone else. There was even a corn-bake casserole on the table. One that was made with just a few minor variations since creamed corn doesn’t seem to exist in Mexico.
Nothing that a little extra butter couldn’t cure.