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A new tradition has started…

November 28, 2009

So we had decided – mostly by my request – that this year, Thanksgiving wasn’t being celebrated. Instead, we were doing a birthday celebration – since mine fell on Turkey Day this year – and would be doing a very relaxed party. More of a “come, bring food (something you like and want to share), and hang out as long as you’d like” type of affair than a party, really. We invited our close friends, and extended the invite to family as well, letting everyone know that there was no traditional anything going on. Everyone thought this was a great idea, and the meal planning began.

We had decided ahead of time that this would be a nibble all day, no formal dining time, buffet style food service.  The food would be there, and people could get what they want, as they needed it.  I made a coffee cake in the morning, so that those that were close and wanted to could stop by for coffee and munchies before starting cooking. The Hubby’s college buddy was next up with egg drop soup.  He mentioned that he thought it was a little to heavy on the sesame oil, but it tasted great, and the timing was perfect since I was just starting to get hungry.  A little bit later, my heartsister arrived, with sushi and the makings for spring rolls and lettuce wraps. The sushi went over great, disappearing in less than 30 minutes 🙂 I know one of Bro’s favorites is enchiladas, so I made those, and rice. I had planned to make beans too, but realized we didn’t really need them; we were going to have plenty of food. People started gathering around the table to fix their plates, and the Hubby’s college buddy came back from their house across the street with sesame chicken.  My other close friend brought a mexican-flavors inspired chocolate mousse – cinnamon and chili powder added a little kick, and made for a more complex flavor profile. The whole thing was finished off by a delicious chocolate cake with coffee cream cheese frosting.

The best part of the whole day – aside from the wonderful homemade food – was the lack of stress. No worries about gathering everyone up, or forgetting something. No worrying about the food coming out perfectly, or all getting to the table hot. For Bro, the best part was having plenty of foods to choose from – and foods that he either knew he enjoyed, or looked forward to trying.  Towards the end of the day, I asked the Hubby if we could do this again next year – instead of Thanksgiving – because it had been so very enjoyable for everyone.  He agreed that he’d liked it very much, and that yes this might have to be our new tradition. We’ll extend the invite to family again – they declined to come this time – and there are a couple more people we’ll be inviting – one had been going to come this time but wasn’t feeling well, so decided to stay home.  My heartsister and I have already started thinking about what next year’s food might be – after all, there’s no reason to make the same thing, unless we really want to.

In sharp contrast was last night’s visit to family for make up Thanksgiving. The Hubby’s mom reheated leftovers, and we sat down to the table – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, yams with brown sugar and marshmallows on top, gravy, and bread. I took the things I wanted, as did the Hubby. When Bro sat down with his plate there were only three things on it – turkey, a slice of the garlic bread, and mashed potatoes. One of the other reasons for the non-traditional Turkey Day offerings at our house – Bro has always disliked (or downright hated) most of the traditional foods offered. I used to make him have a bite or two of yams and stuffing, but over the years, I’ve learned to respect the fact that he’s a person, too, and that he has a right to decide that he doesn’t like a particular food.  He hates the feeling of gravy in his mouth, doesn’t like green bean casserole at all (also in this category are Hubby and me), has never ever liked yams – ever, and most of the time doesn’t like cranberry stuffs – too tart for him.  Grampa gave him a hard time about the lack of stuff on his plate, telling him he’d have to grow up some time and actually eat foods that are at a dinner. To my gratitude, the Hubby jumped in immediately and defended Bro’s food choices. This all served to reinforce the idea that perhaps we as a society have become to hide-bound regarding what foods should be eaten on which day or at which time.  Makes me really glad we did something different this year.

So for next year, I’m thinking of fun things that I’d like to try, and thinking about foods I enjoy that I want to share. I know there are a few people who’ll definitely be joining us, a few who are maybes, and possibly a few that won’t join us.  If there are those who don’t want to join us, I’m just as happy that they don’t… if they don’t want to eat with us, then they shouldn’t come. 🙂

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