I cooked a meal for more people at once than ever before.
What did everybody get up to for the Thanksgiving holiday? Is this anyone else’s favorite holiday? Four days off in a row and it’s all about family, friends and being a little collectively introspective.
We traveled down to the cousins M&P’s house in Laguna Hills for Thanksgiving, with our Trader Joe’s cooler bags stuffed to the limit. We do the appetizers for the family holidays. I’d do those cute little stacks of stuff on a cracker if we didn’t have to haul it all 100 miles. As it was, I made artichoke dip, sliced up several kinds of cheese, and relied on TJ’s vast selection of hot appetizers for the rest.
There was no ethnic food theme. My only criteria, really, is to try to get things that all need the same temperature. Sometimes it’s 375. This year it was 400…we had bird’s nests (Asian onion cake things), mushroom tarts, and spanikopita. Celebrating the bounty of multicultural U.S.A.
We stopped on the way to pick up my paycheck–I wasn’t about to fight traffic out of town the night before a holiday so I worked from home Wednesday–and grabbed a cup of Starbucks for which we tipped a ridiculous amount. I always make sure to thank them for coming in on the holiday. I worked in restaurants on Thanksgiving a couple of times in my youth and it was actually a lot of fun.
Good time with the cousins and their friends. I told her a few days later how much we appreciate the relaxed atmosphere at their house every time we’re there. They do a lot of work, but they don’t get uptight. I’ve learned from watching them that the best thing you can give your guests is the impression that you are not stressed out by their presence in the least.
We ventured out early in the morning on Black Friday, to take advantage of the store wide 20% discount at Bed, Bath & Beyond. We’d had our eyes on some things that would help us be better hosts and were going to get them one by one as we acquired coupons. We bought some padded folding chairs, chair pads for our wooden chairs and a set of really nice TV trays. Stopped by Target for paper plates, etc. and were very impressed with the organization there. The line was long, but we were moving almost the whole time.
The rest of the day was cooking and cleaning and continuing the reorganization of our library. Once we had all the books out of that room so the laminate flooring could be put down, it was hard to put them all back in. When we first moved in we were so happy to have all the books in the same room, but in the past decade we’ve gotten into music and have been wanting to create space to invite people with guitars to visit. So in the interest of being more friendly, we are going to donate some books to our new local library, give some away, and move some to other parts of the house.
We invited a handful of people to come up for turkey and the trimmings on Saturday. Didn’t even think of it till a few days before, but we figured we’d give it a whirl. We invited people to come up around 1-2 in the afternoon, sing for their supper until it was served around 5:30, and stay afterward if they felt like it.
I cooked the turkey, stuffing and potatoes the day before, and finished up with gravy, shredded Brussels sprouts and appetizers, etc. the next day. When something became a hassle, I just moved on. I made homemade mozzarella rather than homemade pies… that won’t be my choice next time. Cooked a meal for 10 people and it came out hot and apparently tasty. There is talk of this becoming a tradition! I hope so!
There are still books in the library, but only along two walls now.
I’m never sure how people feel about having their pictures on my blog, so here’s a shot of Capo’s guitar as he takes a turn around the song circle. He and BikerChick stayed overnight with us. A lot of people headed back down below by ten o’clock, but a few were still playing and talking till after midnight.
We had a nice time with Capo and BikerChick on Sunday morning. She headed off for a bicycle ride around Palos Verdes and he stayed a while later talking. In the late afternoon, I started a fire in the fireplace and sat in my big wing back chair and wrote.
What a great weekend! All the work we’ve done to transform the library into a place where 10-12 people can form a circle with guitars paid off! Our only regret is that we can’t just make it an open house and invite everyone at once. We have to keep it to a reasonable size.
I do find myself seriously considering how many people we could get into a song circle in the living room if we pushed all the furniture into the library leaving only a path from the front door…