I don't find Thanksgiving all that stressful. It is a low cost meal and the traditional items are EASY. I used to make the beautiful vegetable purees from The Silver Palate Cookbook, but no more. I hate cleaning the food processer.
We decided to spread the side dishes out over two days; this met with approval from the visiting children.
I did manage to spread some Thanksgiving cheer, by developing (extemporaneously, in a split second) the easiest menu imaginable. I wended my way to CVS this morning to get some of their fantastic freebies. While there, I said hi to Gary, one of my favorite former students. Then I checked out.
The woman at the register told me her meal was being prepared by her mother and daughter. She told me she couldn't cook. In fact, she got that panicked look that one gets encountering something that most people find easy but that brings chills and fear and inevitable failure. (This is different for everyone. For me, it's directions. For Mr. FS, it's matching shirt to pants. Whatever.)
I told her what to do: Heat your oven and when it's 350 degrees, put the turkey in. Basting is unnecessary. After a while, put in some sweet potatoes and white potatoes. They will take a bit over an hour. When the turkey skin is brownish, take it out and check. It won't take as long as you think if you don't baste. Open a can of cranberry sauce. Prepare a salad using one of those mixes at the grocery that come with dressing and all. Buy something for dessert.
In all my years of teaching, I have never seen a light bulb moment like I did with my cashier. She told me that she would try next year.
My menu is more complex, of course, but the above menu follows the 80/20 ratio of the Pareto Principle, whereby you get 80% of the benefit from 20% of the effort.
I guess I should have told her to buy some stuffing mix too. Oops!
Have a good day everybody.