Thanksgiving in my childhood was always one of my favorite experiences, we would rotate through my mom’s side of the family. Each home had its own setup, its own space, and its own personality. We would flock to one of these homes and piled into the kitchen as if we all belonged there.
I am not sure why but the kitchen was our home base, people constantly coming and going, gathering, talking, (not) helping, tasting, it seemed as if we wanted to find out how many people we could squeeze into this space. As you can imagine sometimes bystanders would get in the way of the cooks, especially in the early years when all the cousins were young and running amuck.
I don’t want to say my mom was scary, but she would use this voice, one that was law, and say “Out of the cook spot!”. You could not help but listen. If only for a short time, because eventually, we would all migrate. It is where all the action is after all.
My aunt Cindy has this wonderful tiny cook spot of her own and tells this story of one Thanksgiving, the last my mom was with us for, where of course we were all in her small kitchen. A number of us in this tiny space, standing in the doorway, leaning over each other, absorbing the smells and laughter, just waiting until it was time to eat. My aunt tried that voice, the one to clear her kitchen so the cooks weren’t tripping over extra feet... “Get out of the Cook Spot”...it did not have the same effect. I can’t tell you what was different, but no matter if you were a child or an adult, you heard those words coming from my mom and you high tailed it out of there.
This year my actual Thanksgiving had none of that high-stakes cooking, no family packed kitchen, no standing around the fried turkey picking at the skin as it was carved (don’t tell). Instead, I had the most underrated Thanksgiving, I watched the parade and once Santa came out I decorated my apartment for Christmas! I have been holding back for WEEKS to decorate and I can’t tell you how excited I was it was finally socially acceptable to do so.
My friend Melody came by to find me sitting in a studio of twinkling white lights, bright garland, the smooth sounds of Frank Sinatra Holiday, and the yule log crackling on my TV. I’d like to think she was impressed. She came to my Friendsgiving the night before and we were both ready for an uneventful evening with no cooking. Let the food come to us! Thai food seemed to be the answer and why not watch one horror movie and one Christmas movie. We did keep a bit of the Thanksgiving spirit...Melody made an amazing pumpkin pie with a crust that I had no idea was gluten-free!
Fast forward….Thanksgiving is over. You are stuffed to the brim with food and there was no way you were ever going to finish everything. I am not sure what I like more, the initial meal or the endless possibilities with the leftovers. You have your traditional sandwich, but what about the bones of that bird? What about some Turkey Noodle Soup? I also repurposed the juice left from my Thanksgiving cocktail to make a new Frothy Cranberry Cocktail this week.
Check these wonderful leftover recipes and “Get out of this Cook Spot” and into your own, get cooking!