Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

This is my fifth Thanksgiving in Los Angeles and the first one in four years that I haven't cooked for at least a dozen. The first year I was out here I had a big 'ole turkey day with my West Coast second family. I didn't have to cook a thing but I put in my piece by going grocery shopping, helping to set up, etc. The next year, my mom had just remarried and my eldest brother didn't want to go to Chicago with Greg's family, so he flew out to see me. I lived in a one-bedroom with a tiny kitchen, but my now-roommate promised she would help out. Because I'm me, I took the reins and bit off a little more than I could chew. I made a huge turkey, all the fixin’s, and just had my friends bring decorations, dessert and alcohol. Even though it took a week’s worth of cleaning my apartment and not being able to really enjoy having my brother in town, I was still glad I could do something like that for all of my really grateful friends. Plus, it was a great story. Three years ago the roommie and I moved in to our current house with a TON more room and a much nicer kitchen. Everyone who attended helped to clean up and the whole process was a lot more enjoyable. Last year took a lot more cleaning but I finally had the whole process down. Unfortunately, I had lost my job less than a month prior and I didn’t want to spend all of my severance on a huge meal for everyone else. I still made the turkey, stuffing and potatoes, but it was more of a potluck.

Much to the chagrin of some of my friends who claim my turkey is better than their mothers’, I let everyone know months ago that I wasn’t doing Thanksgiving. I had a ton of schoolwork due last week and I have finals next week so all the cleaning, cooking and shopping that’s required for such an event was pretty much out of the picture. I have some girlfriends who are great cooks and I knew that I wouldn’t go without.

Part of me really misses all the pre-Thanksgiving madness that I had come to love early on. I made a tradition of getting a mani-pedi and hitting up the farmers’ markets the Sunday before and braving the crowds at the grocery stores after work. I got my inspiration and turkey tips from coworkers and Williams Sonoma, and would have to call my mom nearly in tears because I couldn’t tell the difference between heavy cream and whipping cream (I still can’t but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter).

The other part of me is incredibly glad I chose not to cook. The roommie and I cleaned the house this weekend and I’ve actually had a minute or two to relax. Instead of prepping potatoes tonight, I’ll be able to do some laundry, study, and enjoy our friend’s company who is flying in from New York. The holidays fly by so quickly anyhow, I don’t want to stress out more than I have to. I’m incredibly grateful to have some wonderful women in my life who live by the beach(!) and will no doubt whip me up a memorable West Coast Thanksgiving.

As a single girl living in a city like Los Angeles, I know a ton of transplants. Holiday travel is expensive and stressful so a lot of my friends choose to stay here and have makeshift/orphan Turkey Days with their chosen families. In a way, spending this holiday with people who aren’t required to like you is perhaps even more special. I know I’m glad to see my family at Christmas, but being fortunate enough to have great friends around with whom we can share these kinds of things makes me truly grateful.

No comments: