Ah, Thanksgiving. The time of year where most of the leaves are on the ground, turkeys in all the grocery stores are gone before Wednesday of the week of the holiday, football comes on so many times in one week that I have a permanent smile plastered on my face, and Twitter becomes a peek into what people have sitting on their dining room tables (whether it’s edible or not is an entirely different post). Fun times, if you ask me. This Thanksgiving, however, is a tad bit different for me. For starters, it’s the first Thanksgiving week in the last 9 years that I’ve actually looked forward to. Ever since I lost 3 very important people to me in 2002-2003, the holidays just simply have not been the same. I always said that they wouldn’t go back to “normal” for me until I had a family of my own, but I’ve at least temporarily proven myself wrong for Thanksgiving this year. (We’ll wait until Christmas to see if I’m totally correct.) I think this year has gone back to “normal” for me because of another first – this is the first year of me being out on my own, and therefore, the first year where my mom (or another parent, whether it be a family member or friend) isn’t solely responsible for dinner. Amazing, right? With that being said, I have to dive into something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while on here: food.
For those people that know me outside of the good ol’ internet, they know that I’m famous for my cornbread, and can throw a pretty decent dinner together whenever I feel like cooking. In the summer, I’m good for salmon with a watermelon/mango/arugula salad on the side; in the spring/fall, I make a nice peach bbq chicken with sweet potatoes and corn; in the winter, I’m good for a Italian sausage pasta bake with a variety of veggies…and throw some other random meals in there; I just wanted to give you an idea of what I like to make. To be honest, I just started cooking a little over 2 years ago. And I started because I got bored. I had just started grad school, and didn’t have a job, so once my graduation money ran out for me to go out and have fun, I was basically stuck in the house. I got hungry quickly, so I figured I’d start cooking for myself. I mean, I had made things for myself before, but this was when I started cooking on a consistent basis, and when I started inviting people over to eat the food. The first meal I made for other people was bbq chicken, rice, and cornbread. I took it to a studio full of hungry men, and needless to say, I walked out empty-handed. Score!
That was the day I realized that me cooking for someone means something not only to the person eating the food, but to me as the person preparing it. It is actually an extension of how I feel about them or a way for me to show someone that I care about them. When I sit back and think about how much preparation, taste testing, time, and effort it takes to pull together a great meal…how could I not care about someone that I’m cooking for? In another sense, cooking is one of those things that’s therapeutic to me. That may be why I’m not building a tent in my feelings about Thursday – I (along with my roommates) get to prepare food for somewhere around 10 people, and I know it’ll take all day. Most people want to run away from the thought of having to spend all day in the kitchen, but now that it’s almost here, I really can’t imagine another way to spend my day. I’m really excited about this being my first Thanksgiving dinner that I’m preparing, and I’m truthfully thankful to have the opportunity to do this. I’m thankful that I’ll be surrounded by people that love me and care about me on this holiday, and that I’ll get to put my soul into the meal I’m making for them.
No matter what your plans are for Thanksgiving, I hope that everyone reading this has an amazing one, and that you’re all surrounded by people you love, and by amazing food, football, and fun. I’m thankful to have each of you as readers, and to call most of you my friends. I’d lost sight of what this holiday is supposed to be about over the last few years, but I think I’ve finally gotten it together this year.
Share with me in the comments some things you’re thankful for! Enjoy the holiday!