Thanksgiving Lessons 2007

I've hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my house for more than ten years now.

It's not because I'm Martha Stewart. Nor is it because I'm a cooking prodigy. (Someday, I'll blog about the very first meal I cooked for my brand new husband. Short version: Calling it a meal is generous. Extremely generous.)

No, it's simply because I like to eat. And on holidays, I want to eat food that's familiar, food that's from my family of origin.

Don't mess with my culinary traditions. They are all I've got.

It all started in 1996. Mr. Love Well and I were living in San Diego, 2,000 miles away from our families. We didn't have money to go home for both Christmas and Thanksgiving. Neither did the majority of our friends. So I volunteered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the rest of "the orphans" in our young marrieds Sunday school class. And -- voila. A tradition was born.

Over the course of the ten years, I've learned a lot -- about cooking, about myself, about my husband. I've learned trying to tuck the wings under a raw, wet turkey is a lot like trying to bathe a tantrum-throwing infant. I've learned I should rearrange my oven racks before I preheat to 425. I've learned how to take the neck out of the turkey cavity without gagging. (Actually, I'm still working on that last one.)

But this year I've learned as much as the previous ten years combined. It's been a doozy.

So without further delay, here are a few of the lessons from Thanksgiving Day 2007:

1. If you're going to brine a turkey, it helps to have a brining location chosen and tested before you submerge an 18-pound bird in a three-gallon salt-and-sugar solution. Otherwise, you might find out too late that the crisper drawer where you planned to store the brining turkey isn't water-tight. And you might find this out by discovering a small creek of brining solution running from your second fridge down the floor of your garage.

2. Brining works wonders on dry, bland turkey meat. It's the difference between a Red Delicious and a Honeycrisp. Only I don't usually put gravy on my apples.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. It is Thanksgiving, people.

3. One of these:

Can occupy one of these:

For at least 20 minutes.

Of course, you'll also need to deal with the pad of
scratch paper you keep next to the phone becoming this:

4. If you have one of these:

Wait. What happened to my feet?

Oh! If I lean way over ... there they are!

Anyway. If you have one of these:

You'll be spending a lot of time in one of these:

A LOT. I'm considering the installation of a flat-screen and wall-to-wall carpeting.

Or a catheter.

(Side story, but during one 12-hour period this week, I finished off the the roll of toilet paper in every single bathroom in the townhouse. What do you think that says about me?)

5. Do not try to taste-test these mashed potatoes -- even for seasoning purposes. Because if you do, you may find your eyes rolling to the back of your head and unintelligible sounds coming from deep in your soul. Oh. My. Word.

Just put them in a serving dish and set them on your table. In the name of hospitality, allow your guests to help themselves first.

Then, pile your plate high and tell yourself it's a low-calorie dish. The Pioneer Woman says so.

6. A Thanksgiving morning like this:

Makes you really thankful for the warm smiles inside, like these:

And, of course, for this:

And this, sitting on your kitchen counter:

Because they are just symbols of the sweetness coming later in the day, when family gathers around a table to share over-flowing plates and over-flowing hearts.

Surely God's blessings upon me are like homemade pie at the end of a Thanksgiving meal -- an over-abundance of richness, a bounty of goodness. I'm humbled by His grace.

I pray my day-to-day living always spills over into thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6). I've been given so much.


  1. What a great Thanksgiving you had! Your pies look delicious, too, BTW. =)

  2. That was a fantastic summary of your day! I loved the pictures, especially the one of you belly and feet!
    I was so tired last night, after standing all day, my legs ached so I cannot imagine how you did it while carrying around that baby all day!
    And I agree...the paper cutter, a lifesaver, but the mess...not so fun.

  3. Mercy me!!! Those pies look home made. I had COSTCO make mine -- they were HUGE!! I like them huge. LOL

    Why didn't I try P.W. spuds? They look delish... maybe I'll do them for Christmas. ;D

  4. The pies look yummy... and your kids? Cutie pies (snort). Your husband? Hilarious.

    You are a joy to read.

  5. I'm not sure which I liked more: your comments on the brining procedure or the cute pictures of the stomach :)

  6. I remember that first Thanksgiving so many years ago. I think of all that food and the fun we had preparing it, priceless. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days also.

  7. I remember that first Thanksgiving so many years ago. I think of all that food and the fun we had preparing it, priceless. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days also.

  8. Love the pics! All belly, no feet--been there and done that!

    Your desire that your day to day living overflows with gratitude is mine as well. What measure of grace He has poured out on me!