Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gearing Up for Thanksgiving

Grammy and Grandpop are visiting from Philadelphia!

They drove out over the first part of the week - being retired has certain benefits, of which not having to worry about a work schedule is only the most obvious - and arrived last night at dinner time. They will be visiting over the Thanksgiving holiday, and then heading back on Monday - avoiding, with any luck, the congestion on Wisconsin's highways caused by the end of the deer season. Not Thanksgiving, particularly. We can handle Thanksgiving just fine. Deer season, not so much. It's a matter of priorities.

Kim and I got married on the last weekend of deer season, and my future father-in-law was somewhat offended by our choice of dates. "Well," his daughter said, "if you're any kind of hunter you'll have your deer by then." I don't remember offhand if he did, but I do know he was at the wedding. It was good to have him there, though whether he has forgiven us for our scheduling decision I still don't know.

So today Tabitha and Lauren have been having some grandparent time. Tabby and Grammy spent the morning baking pies, which turned out to be more exciting than anyone thought it would when Grammy forgot to put the apple pie on a cookie sheet and it dripped onto the oven floor and set off all the smoke alarms. There was much to-do, but the pie was saved. Eventually the smoke cleared, and we could close the windows and doors again. The pumpkin pies were a lot less dramatic, as pumpkin pies tend to be. They are the Quakers of the pie world that way.

Lauren, meanwhile, is currently playing "Battleship" with Grandpop, and doing a serviceable job of defeating the former Navy man at his own game. Lauren is a whiz at those things, and at some point we will seek to make money off of this.

The cooking and the general flurry of activity is designed to get us ready for tomorrow, when Kim's parents and various other folk from that side of the family descend upon us for a festive day of socializing and eating and relaxing and more eating. Grandparent time with all four grandparents! It will be fun.

We've already got the most important part of the day squared away: there will be dessert.

As for the main course, Lauren and I chose the turkey when we went grocery shopping on Saturday. Apparently, if you want a reasonable sized turkey, you can't wait until Saturday. When we got there, we had a choice between turkeys that were too small and turkeys that were too big - a choice that was perfectly obvious, really. It all comes down to one thing: Leftovers! There must be leftovers! Leftovers that we can eat well into December, until we begin to grow feathers ourselves! So we came home groaning under the weight of this beach ball of a turkey that just about fit into the fridge and will probably fit into the oven if we use enough force. But by God there will be leftovers.

I have also reached deep into the family archives and made Nana's ricotta pie. It is amazing how many of those old recipes include hard liquor - whiskey in this case. She also used to make a chicken breast recipe that involved a fair amount of brandy. Why don't we do that anymore? We worry too much about eating these days.

Of course, in retrospect, it might have been a mistake to let Lauren lick the bowl.

Though it didn't affect her Battleship skills any.

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