It is no secret that I am not a fan of cooking. Sure, I make dinner pretty much every night for my family. But that’s because if I don’t, they will starve, wind up eating crap or I will be talked about behind my back for being a terrible wife and mother and it’s bad enough that it takes me a month to clean my house so I figure I should do something that resembles some sort of domestic act.
I’ve had a running joke for 22 years about holiday cooking. I’m like a broken record this time of year. Especially if I run into a friend or acquaintance at the local Shop Rite. “So, Mo, are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner?” My answer starts out like this, “Umm, that would be a HELL NO!” I then repeat for the 253rd time, verbatim, the only speech I made on my wedding day. The gist of my little speech? I basically made it very clear that I would never, ever host a holiday dinner EVER.
Last week, this exact thing happened. I saw a friend of mine ahead of me in line. “So, Mo, are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner?” My reply? See above. Of course this friend just laughed and laughed. But the woman behind me? She snapped her head in my direction and glared at me as if I had just fed my child some glass shards.
I risked a peek at her. Suddenly, I was a little ashamed and felt the need to make sure this stranger knew that I loved the holiday and even though I won’t host, I am willing to help out in any way I can. For some reason, I thought I should rectify myself in front of this person who I have never seen before in my life and who I will probably never see again.
Even though I felt like Scrooge lost in the wrong month, my feelings of regret were short-lived. By the time I paid for my groceries, the exchange was forgotten about. Besides, I stand behind my nearly quarter of a century declaration, DAMMIT!
The other day, my sister-in-law, the same sister-in-law who has been hosting Thanksgiving for the past umpteen years — bless her heart — called and asked me to bring a ham. I swallowed hard, my heart rate doing double-time. I think I even broke out in a little sweat.
A ham? I don’t even know how to buy one, let along cook one.
Twenty-two years into my marriage and I have yet to prepare one of these things. I can slap down a couple of slices on some bread but that’s the extent of my experience with ham.
The problem is, every time I make some kind of meat dish, it winds up resembling more of a piece of shoe leather than something that you want to actually eat (I said I cook for my family, I didn’t say I was good at it).
The day she called me and asked for this thing called a “ham” was the day she put the life of our Thanksgiving dinner in my hands. It’s not my fault. Like I said, it’s not a secret.
I find comfort in knowing that there will be other options on the table. So, the meal will not be lost just because I feel the need to keep meat in the oven longer than necessary to prevent anything like E. coli or Salmonella from happening. After all, my heart is in the right place.
So, go forth my people and enjoy your Thanksgiving Day. May your turkey or ham or tofu be perfectly prepared. As for me, I will not be having the ham. I heard the cook isn’t very good.