It's 6AM in Portland, and all over the city, Grandmas are getting that thirty pound turkey into the oven so it will be cooked in time to be eaten before the football games start. All their wonderful sons (with their useless wives) and beautiful daughters (with their worthless husbands) and the most wonderful grandkids in the world will be arriving for the annual stuff-yourself-until-you-fall-asleep fest. The house will be overcrowded, everyone will be overwrought, the noise level will be deafening, the air will be steamy with cooking. Someone will decant the cranberry jelly onto the special oval plate and it will sit there quivering , still retaining the ridges from the can. Aunt Becky will bring her special green bean casserole made with canned cream of mushroom soup, and decorated with the canned fried onions. And everyone will eat it up. The vegan daughter-in-law will bring a tofu and Jerusalem artichoke casserole, and take most of it home again because no one else will touch it. In my family, we had a tradition of all the male adults getting too drunk to drive before the end of the meal, then passing out in front of the TV and missing the game. The females kept busy in the kitchen, or riding herd on the the kids. There was always wayyyyy too much food, and we usually left it sitting out long past the point when it should have been refrigerated, but no one ever died of botulism,so I guess we were stronger than the common toxins. My favorite part was the skin, all crispy and greasy. I would snitch bits of skin for hours, while helping to clear the table, do the dishes, set out the pies and coffee, clear the table after pie and do up the final dishes. Then, and only then, would we package up leftovers ("Sherry can take a leg and thigh, and Mary, I know your kids will finish off the sweet potatoes with the marshmallow topping.") and at long last, dismember and refrigerate the carcass. The next day we kids would pick at the carcass and leftovers for sandwiches, while the grownups nursed their hangovers. On Saturday, the last of the meat, gravy, stuffing, potatoes and left-over vegetables would get mixed together and re-heated as hash - the best part of the holiday! Sunday, we would wake to the smell of the turkey bones simmering with bay leaves and onions to make broth for soup. Thanksgiving would be over, School would start the next day, and we were launched into the madness that is Christmas.
DH and I do things differently. We go out to a nice restaurant and have a splendid dinner served to us in gracious peace and elegance. And sometime during the weekend, DH roasts a small turkey for just the two of us. No stress, no frenzy, no regrets. And all the turkey skin I can eat!