I’m trying to think of a way to best explain this side of my family…Greek. Irish. A little nuts. A little fabulous. Always exciting. The family stories that arise at family gatherings always leave me wondering, “is that for real or are they totally full of crap?” But the truth is that all the crazy stories are truthful (I think) and I have been blessed with some incredible characters in my family.
I learned most of what I know about making food from my dad, his mother, and his mother’s sister- Auntie Pam. Auntie Pam’s life is fascinating. She’s made food for and rubbed elbows with leading politicians and celebrities and has been featured in many food magazines and newspaper articles over the years. She lived the yuppy city life until she found her true calling on a peaceful farm on the west side of New York state. When once she was dining at the Ritz, she now clears land on a bushwhacker making room to plant orchards and vegetable gardens. She is an incredible chef and spends much of her time now relaxing at home and cooking for her friends and neighbors. She is absolutely hilarious and the most entertaining teacher and story-teller. I know you’ll enjoy what she has to say here at Real Food Family.
Here’s Auntie Pam’s first post on her tips for Thanksgiving. She wants to encourage all us young people to chill out a little when it comes to holidays. Auntie Pam, the stage is yours…
A few ideas for a Perfect Thanksgiving…
First shoot the turkey.
Make an easy free-form apple pie like this one, and an interesting decor with ornamental kale.
Okay, forget the food and recipes…I have a few tips for getting through Thanksgiving dinner. Here they are:
- It is a family affair –relax. Just make sure to put yourself together first…don’t come in the kitchen with the rollers in your hair and a robe and slippers. I have learned that the hard way and I never would get out of the robe and rollers before the end of the day! Take a nice bubble bath get yourself ready to go- fix your hair and makeup first, then go to the kitchen!
- You don’t have to have matching China and tableware. You can mix and match. Set your table 2 days ahead. You can always cover it with towels if you think it’s going to get dusty!
- You should have a seat for every person (borrow folding chairs if you have to). That’s pretty important- it makes people feel special.
- Let people help! It’s supposed to be chaotic it’s supposed to be crazy. Relax an don’t worry or be so serious about everything being perfect because it won’t be.
- You can clean your kitchen tomorrow or the next day. I promise you it’ll still be there on Saturday! And if somebody wants to wash dishes let them!
- If you just don’t like a dish someone wants to bring let them bring it –just don’t eat it. It’s not the end of the world!
- Make your pies and side dishes a day ahead of time (if you haven’t already given up and made reservations for Thanksgiving dinner) and warm them up. Make an apple pie and pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and that stupid sweet potato dish. Oh, and get your stuffing ready to go. It’ll save you a lot of frustration and a possible nervous breakdown! Most important- do not forget to thaw out the turkey (write it on the wall if you cannot remember). If it’s not a fresh one follow all health regulations so you don’t kill anybody, and get a couple of extra drumsticks so you can roast them separately in case people start a fight over the drumsticks!!
- It is not the time to open up the Williams-Sonoma catalog and try to figure out what the heck kind of new dish like pumpkin pots de cream you might serve. Just stick to the old classics and do not at any time look at the old cover of the Saturday evening Post where they present the perfect turkey. That is failure for sure!
- Buy lots of of 2 buck chuck wine to serve and store the good wine in your bedroom under the bathroom sink so when you excuse yourself you can take a drink or two and smile.
- Have the police on speed dial in case one of your crazy relatives decides to go completely nuts! (In our family, that’s typically the case.)