Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thanksgiving is a week...
and a few hours away. With one exception, I have cooked dinner for my family and assorted and sundry friends, friends of friends, and the occasional stranger every year since I was 16 years old. In spite of, or maybe because of, all the current stress going on in my life, I fully intend (and yes, I know what "they" say about the road to hell) to do it again this year.
Considering the number of times I've cooked the meal...often for groups of people pushing 4 dozen or so, I have the whole routine down to a science. I shop. I do all the prep work (with the exception of peeling potatoes - which I've managed to delegate to my younger son in the past few years - SUCKA!) I cook. While I cook, my husband and guests decorate my home for Christmas. After dinner, I rest. My guests clean up. It's a system that's practically written in stone. It's perfect. I love it. I look forward to it most of the year!
This year, I'm a little worried the whole darn thing might go up in flames though...
What's the problem?
The problem is that I DO NOT USE RECIPES!!
Here I am...so close to meeting my goal I can actually SEE the finish line and I've come to this giant hurdle.
But seriously, what's the problem?
Well, the things I cook (without using recipes) would give Paula Deen a heart attack...or a fit of envy. Last year alone, I went through SIX POUNDS OF BUTTER!!! Yes, you read that right. 6. Six. SIX. POUNDS. OF BUTTER. My creamed "corn" alone has about a pound of butter...along with a quart of heavy cream and a couple of pounds of bacon...oh yeah, and there's some corn in there too.
We generally roast one turkey and FRY another...and, depending on the number of guests we're expecting, sometimes BBQ a bunch of extra turkey legs.
My mashed potatoes have nearly an equal ratio of potato to butter to cream (plus black truffle salt.)
For that matter, I can't think of anything besides the cranberry sauce, that doesn't have copious quantities of butter. I make up for the missing butter in the cranberry sauce with lots and lots of sugar, orange juice and a touch of (never mind, it's a secret.)
Even my salads stretch the boundaries. The green salad has tons of marinated artichoke hearts....TONS and the cucumber salad has tons of bleu cheese....TONS. They could be worse, but I know they leave a lot to be desired on the health front.
And therein lies the problem. I KNOW that my traditional Thanksgiving meal is anything but healthy. I need to fix it without ruining it for my family or myself. It will ruin it for my family if I take away all their favorites or change them to the point of being unrecognizable. It will ruin it for me if I have to stress about using "recipes" and measuring this and that.
Is there a way to fix it and make it healthy WITHOUT ruining it for all of us? Right now, I'm leaning towards writing it off as a "once a year - don't worry about it" sort of thing...but I'm afraid that sort of thinking will get me and my ass in all sorts of trouble. There are a LOT of "once a year" sort of things in life. Any suggestions?