Are you cooking this Thanksgiving? I am. Just the turkey and stuffing. But even at that, I feel myself getting pulled into the Thanksgiving vortex of insanity.
The best turkey recipe ever! 7 things to do before company comes! The ultimate countdown-to-Thanksgiving checklist! Why (insert bizarro wine here) is the perfect pairing for pumpkin pie!
Sheesh. It’s enough send to you screaming to the nearest Whole Foods turkey dinner order desk.
And so, amidst it all, I’m reminding us both of two very important things:
1. Thanksgiving dinner is not hard.
Um, the turkey’s a roast. You season it, put it in the oven, and wait until it’s done. Stuffing/dressing is similarly simple—mix some stuff together, put it in the bird or a baking dish, and bake. Cranberry sauce takes 15 minutes, start to finish. You—yes, you, reading this now—can handle this.
The problem is we get brainwashed into thinking that every dish must be The Best Possible Version Ever.
The other problem is the sheer number of dishes. Why does this meal require 17 items while every other is plenty with 2 or 3? Okay, it’s a special occasion—so make 4 or 5. Then draw the line. You really don’t have to prepare Every Dish That Everyone Must Have Or It’s Not Thanksgiving.
2. They’re not coming for dinner!
This one’s especially important.
As much as the folks at Butterball and Libby’s and Food and Wine magazine would have you to believe otherwise, Thanksgiving isn’t about the meal. It’s about—hello!—giving thanks. It’s right there in the name.
So prepare a nice spread, but realize that waaay more important than the moistness of the breast meat is appreciation.
Put that in your cooking and it’ll be a delicious Thanksgiving no matter what.
And check out my holiday feature in the current issue of Clean Eating magazine, including the recipes pictured here (the link takes you to just 5 of the 15 recipes in the issue).