Ordinary World for 15 Nov 2018

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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24 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    TT9 – The struggle continues…Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly
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        It’s painful… We’re seriously considering serving stove top and Kraft macaroni & cheese this year and just telling everyone to go fuck themselves. There are only like three people that come to our Thanksgiving that haven’t already had a meal somewhere else first (we do ours on Friday). The fact that they still make demands despite this being their second Thanksgiving makes me insane. Ahhh…family. After this it’s a long slog until New Years.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mike Dwyer
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          Ugh. If you lived closer, I would invite you guys to join us so you could just focus on the food drink and merriment. .Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly
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            Appreciate the offer. I really do like cooking for everyone, but it becomes a pain. My daughter and her husband are vegans, which has also added a new, interesting wrinkle. Lat year I made 90% of the dishes vegan and most of the family had no clue.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mike Dwyer
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              I’ve adopted the Thanksgiving rule of telling guests that I will be making X, Y, and Z, and the encouraging them to make whatever they want to go with/instead of that. Usually that means we have more than one of some things, like sausage stuffing and turkey gravy and gluten stuffing and vegan gravy.

              It makes for a more crowded table top, but a far less stressful afternoon for me.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly
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                My wife would love to make it a ‘semi-potluck’ but there’s the added stress for me of my sister showing up with something that needs 20 minutes in the oven, my sister-in-law showing up 45 minutes late and my aunt trying to take over my kitchen for prep work (she once offered to make a relish try and then took over half my counter to cut vegetables when she arrived).Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Aieee.

                Our tradition these past few years has been Thanksgiving camping (keep in mind Canadian Thanksgiving is a bit earlier – 14 October this year).

                The dishes are divvied up among the households, and since we’re camping, everybody is responsible for bringing whatever kitchen they’re going to need.

                This year we didn’t end up camping because the weather was especially cruddy. The division of dishes had already happened during the camping planning phase, but it did mean the kitchen at Mr T’s uncle and aunt’s got pretty crowded, and some proper crowd management and process optimization was required.

                When we host potlucks here, we generally don’t do a scheduled sit-down meal. If we keep it as a ‘come and go and graze as you please’, then kitchen bottlenecks are much abated in both incidence and importance.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to dragonfrog
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                I like the idea of allowing people to graze without an official start time. We do that for birthday parties and dinner parties with friends. Much less stress.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to dragonfrog
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                I like that camping idea, that sounds like a lot of fun.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Aaron David
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                It’s a blast. Campgrounds aren’t very busy that late in the year and the family is big enough that we usually get a whole loop to ourselves. The kids run in a great big pack, up to a dozen kids under age 12 depending on the year.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Mike Dwyer
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              My wife and I will be having a very small T-day, just us and the couple we tend to hang out with. He is a vegetarian, but not vegan, which my wife actually enjoys cooking for. She likes the challenge. My wife loves to cook, much like you and Tod, and she would love to do a big, extravagant feast, but with my son moving back east, her parents both having passed and me not being very close to my family she just doesn’t get the chance.

              So we tend to go more for non-traditional recipes and themes, allowing her to branch out flavor wise even if she doesn’t have the big production numbers wise.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Aaron David
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                I agree with your wife. The challenge of cooking vegan-friendly dishes actually made it enjoyable last year. I think my daughter also appreciated how many things she could eat since she was a big fan of Thanksgiving when she was only a vegetarian because of all the non-meat side items. Once you figure out the substitutions it’s really not bad.

                We do a small get together with my in-laws on actual Thanksgiving and make a point to veer as far away from traditional foods as possible. Pizza, Chinese, spaghetti, Indian…anything besides turkey and stuffing. It’s actually become a fun tradition.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                It’s like our X-mas food – mostly eastern European types of dried fish, cheeses, bread, etc. My MIL came from a huge Polish-American family and that is how my wife grew up. It makes for a nice change.Report

              • Avatar jason in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Barbecue is good–that’s what we did last Christmas when we hosted Christmas dinner–less formal and more eat when you want.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to jason
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                Interestingly enough, my mother-in-law does a pretty solid beef brisket in the oven. She started making it because my wife doesn’t eat turkey unless it’s thin-sliced deli meat. It became such a hit that my whole family expects it. I swear they have more brisket than turkey on most of their plates.Report

              • Avatar jason in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                We usually don’t have leftovers and no one complains about smoked meat. Like you’ve noted, the variety is good. Plus, depending on how many holiday dinners one attends, turkey can wear out its welcome.Report

        • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Mike Dwyer
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          Heh. Neither I nor my mom claim any particular kitchen expertise, but…

          This year, she’s having cataract surgery three days before Thanksgiving so I am 100% expecting* to have to do all the cooking myself. (My father can’t, physical limitations, and my siblings….are kinda useless on that front).

          I’ve already decided if it comes to it: Turkey, sweet potatoes, either corn or green beans (frozen and just heated up with some butter), no stuffing (I twitch about my mom’s habit of cooking it in the bird anyway), one pie at most.

          If anyone complains (my dad won’t), I’ll just remind them their arms weren’t broken.

          And if my brother pulls the stunt he did the other year – getting his kid to pound forks on the table with him and chant “where’s the food? where’s the food?” as we’re struggling to get it on the table, I AM allowing myself some tears and a minor scene, because that really bugged me the other year he did it, and I didn’t say anything then.

          Gah. Family. Can’t live without ’em but sometimes you want to tell them to stuff a sock in it.

          But yeah. If it was just me in my own house I’d totally make mac and cheese or something simple and eat it while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” or whatever on TV.

          (*Yes I am being pessimistic but the beauty of being a pessimist is you’re rarely caught unprepared, and when the worst DOESN’T happen, you are almost irrationally grateful)Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to fillyjonk
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            We find that crockpots are a big help. I also use disposable pans when I can. We used to cook the turkey 2 days ahead and then reheat it the day of, but I have discovered turkey breast roasts in the last few years and they are lifesavers.

            Yeah, if I heard chanting everyone would be asked to leave. A couple of years ago I lost my shit because half the family congregated in the kitchen. We have a galley-style kitchen, which is awesome if you are a cook, but no conducive to people hanging around. The third time I had to ask my father-in-law to move out of the way of the oven I almost said some unpleasant things. Now the wife is primarily tasked with keeping people out of my space.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Mike Dwyer
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              I don’t know what I’d do on the first offence with the chanting. I would just be so taken aback.

              But for sure the next time I hosted those folks I’d make it clear well in advance what the consequences of a repeat offence would be.Report

              • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to dragonfrog
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                Yeah, that was part of it, I was like “The Hell? We just spent most of the day cooking while he sat and played video games with his kid, and he’s acting like we’re not fast enough with the food?”

                My dad did say something to him but I probably should have, as one of the two cooks. But whatever. If he pulls it this year I’m either turning on the waterworks or saying, “I’m going to eat on the porch” depending on the weather and how much of the cooking I wound up doing.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to fillyjonk
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            getting his kid to pound forks on the table with him and chant “where’s the food? where’s the food?”

            “Remember the year we had the food fight and we held Wally down and slapped him with handfuls of stuffing yelling HERE’S THE F&#^ING FOOD? Ah, family stories…”Report

  2. Avatar jason
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    This comment thread has made me thankful. We alternate with my wife’s cousins for cooking the dinner; it’s usually the standard stuff. When we cook, I usually add a smoked brisket because we have more people (both our families) and because smoked meat is awesome. The people are well-behaved. Chanting would end stuff pretty damn fast–we usually have to speak loudly to get people to get up and start getting their plates because they’re socializing.

    I grew up hating Thanksgiving food, because we would have dinner at a family friend’s house–we lived too far from other relatives and my mom worked full time, and those people, who were nice otherwise, could not cook. They cooked the turkey until eating it was like biting into copy paper. The mashed potatoes were bland, and I think they made the white gravy for the potatoes with flour and water and no other seasoning–Stove top Stuffing, of course (which isn’t horrible, but also isn’t the sublime food that is homemade stuffing). I used to think it was that I was just a picky eater, but then I discovered that Thanksgiving food was great when I went into the military and had chow hall food (!).

    When we do cook a holiday meal, I know that the work will be worth it because we’re controlling the quality of the food.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe
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    TT2 – man, I had some bad takes on that comment thread.Report

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