I have a weakness for mincemeat, especially enhanced with brandy or rum. Yesterday I bought a jar – even though I knew it was a bad idea – and managed to eat almost the whole thing before finally tossing the last bits. I felt stuffed and slightly nauseous and don’t think I’m going to succumb to the temptation again any time soon. Once a season is usually enough. Though if someone were to offer me some really good fruitcake, I could do some damage. I love fruitcake. But I’m not going to buy any for myself. I’m not that crazy.
It’s interesting how certain foods are traditional in some families and not others, and how traditions develop. My mom grew up having turnips on her Thanksgiving table, despised them, and vowed they would never appear in her kitchen. So I never had them and didn’t miss them because she told me they were awful. My family has turkey, of course, with a simple bread stuffing that’s cooked inside the turkey, not in a separate pan. We also have cornbread dressing, brought to us by my sister in law who grew up having that instead. Now we have both.
I think we maybe used to have mashed potatoes, though certainly not in recent memory. But sweet potato casserole with oranges and those little marshmallows on top are a staple and devoured completely. Some kind of green vegetable – used to be that ubiquitous green bean casserole with little onions on top, but now I think maybe just plain beans. And the newest addition is sweet and sour red cabbage, brought to our table by a neighbor who brought a piece of their tradition when they began celebrating the day with us. It’s colorful and a nice change of color and texture.
The desserts are the usual pies but I’m not really a pie fan. I’d rather have cake if I’m going to do a dessert, especially chocolate cake. But cake somehow isn’t a traditional Thanksgiving thing. Do you think the Pilgrims actually made pecan pies in shiny pie tins and had them for dessert at that first supper? Highly unlikely. Apple or pumpkin are possible but I don’t really like either of those either. I’m weird.
Going to someone else’s holiday meal is fun but disconcerting because their traditions – and traditional foods – are different, and Thanksgiving is about tradition and family. And football, of course, though I did spend one year with friends watching a dog show and playing cards instead and actually liked it more. And had Chinese food one year with other friends, which was different.
I’m nervous about handling myself this year. I’ve been invited out but really would rather by myself at home where I can control the food and entertain myself with weird TV and a jigsaw puzzle. I’m alone but not lonely and this year I have my cat who might even get a can of kitty turkey dinner as a treat. Alone I would have roast chicken, a sweet potato, and steamed vegetables with a baked apple for dessert. No temptation of wine or rolls or “nibbly bits” as Rachel Ray calls them. And the desserts. Even though I’m not a pie person, I’m likely to eat them if they’re there.
Today the food was under control. No exercise but I did get out of the house for a while, paid bills, and tidied up a bit. And read a book and played with the cat. Weekends are for recharging and once I got over my little misadventure with the mincemeat, I enjoyed it a lot more.