Owen is cooking Thanksgiving dinner. He was planning this before we met and about a month into our relationship, he invited me. Last year I had a bit of a difficult time finding somewhere to go and I happily accepted. Owen and Barry (the roommate) did a lot of shopping last Friday and Saturday, unaided by me. It's clearly important to Owen that he do this on his own. I'm making a dish and I've volunteered to help, but heeding Nancy's advice, I've tried to take a step back from the preparations. Owen's needs to do it without my help.
Last night, I planned to go grocery shopping. I am loaning Owen an extra table and some chairs and I emailed him to find out if last night was a good time to bring those things over since I would have the car anyway. He called me around 5:30, just as he was leaving work, and said that would be great. He also listed a bunch of other kitchen stuff that he wanted to borrow. We'd talked about this before and it was fine. Along with the card table, I took him a large sauce pan, a couple of casserole dishes, a loaf pan and a roasting pan. I've loaned him half my kitchen and it's barely enough! I realized that most of my pots and pans were hand-me-downs or gifts from my parents. That's how you start a kitchen--your parents help--at least in my world. Owen hasn't had the benefit of this, so I'm happy to share. You can't go buy a whole new kitchen just for one day.
After I got to Owen's and unloaded, we went to the grocery store. Originally, I was only going to make mashed potatoes, but now I'm also making a pumpkin pie. I got the ingredients for both and he picked up the few odds and ends that he'd missed on the last shop. And we STILL forgot a couple of things. He's taking the day off today and I'm sure he'll make at least one more visit to the grocery store.
What is so great is how excited Owen is. He sees making this Thanksgiving as a rite of passage. I suppose it is. He's a mix of happy, excited, nervous and worried. His enthusiasm is delightful and a bit exhausting. I'm very happy to be part of this event.
The funny thing is, while I am an experienced (though far from expert) cook, I've never made a turkey. I have a thing about whole, raw poultry. I don't like to touch it. If I cook chicken, it's skinless, boneless breasts. I have roasted a chicken or two, and they came out fine. I also tend not to work with large cuts of meat, though I once made a mighty fine brisket for Passover. I usually make sauces, stir fry, steak, hamburger...but not roasts or whole chickens. My mom did a lot of that kind of cooking so I'm familiar with it, but I won't be too much help to Owen.
He is a little worried that I think he "can't" do things. I said, "I've never had that thought, not once. I know you can cook and I know you can take care of yourself. You don't need me for that."
"Right. But you've been doing this a lot longer than I have."
"Sure, I've been cooking longer--so why not use the benefit of my experience? But I've never made a turkey, so you're on your own there." We laughed.
I'm really looking forward to this Thanksgiving. Owen says he wants it to be perfect, and I can understand that, but I also know it's not realistic. Regardless of how the food turns out,though, it's going to be great--Owen's enthusiasm is more than enough to ensure that.
Grateful for: a first Thanksgiving.
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