Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays as a kid. Our family gathered at our house (no boring car trip involved!) and we all fit around my parent's large dining room table (no kids table in another room). I loved seeing my mom pour through her recipe books, scrub the house clean, get out her wedding china and go through her ritual of setting the table the night before.
It's true what they tell you, that as you get older you will appreciate your mom more and more. Now that my family is scattered, we don't go to my parents house for Thanksgiving anymore which means I have to plan, cook, clean and set that darn table myself. Including a slightly frantic trip to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a turkey baster, roasting pan and gravy boat. Bed Bath and Beyond should really assemble a "First Thanksgiving" package for all the crazed people hosting for the first time. They could partner with Advil.
Hosting a holiday IS a lot of work, much more so than I realized as a kid, but truthfully I enjoy it. I have been gathering my recipes for weeks and creating a lengthy "To Do" list for my husband (*newlywed tip: don't write him a paper list, he will lose it and drive you crazy asking "what was on my list again?" 100 times. Write it on the dry erase board in the kitchen. He can't miss it or lose it).
Every year my husband and I invite anyone we know who is a Thanksgiving orphan to join us. This year we have a group of 7, my biggest yet. In the past I've done just a simple boneless turkey breast, but this year we are doing a whole turkey (mostly because it was free). One tradition that the NJhousehold WILL be carrying over from the Thanksgivings of my youth is to have the MEN cook the turkey. NJhusband better put the butterball hotline on speed dial, he is in charge of Operation Turkey 2012.
Hopefully somewhere in all the cooking, cleaning and likely burning of things on Thursday (also NJhusband's 35th birthday!) I will be able to take a breath, grab my camera and remember all the things I have to be thankful for.