Sunday Sessions

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

If we’ve been friends for any amount of time, you probably know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s like Christmas, but better—no religious affiliation, no pressure to spend money on gifts, just food and family and gratitude.

There were a few years early in our relationship when David and I would travel 5 hours south to my family in Martinsville, then 5 hours east to his family in Virginia Beach. It was stressful, trying to be there for two families, and feeling like we were never getting enough time with each (not to mention doing it again at Christmas).

But then there was the Thanksgiving where David’s parents were in the middle of a stressful move and being the newest addition to the family, it didn’t seem appropriate to ask my in-laws if I could take over their kitchen to make them a warm meal. So, dear reader, we thawed frozen pre-packaged foods from Costco, and I thought my heart would damn near break. Since then, we’ve spent Thanksgiving with my family, where the past few years the matriarch (my grandma) lets me take over her kitchen while she tells me how to make the family favorites just so. About 2 hours before the meal, we’ll ceremoniously carry the turkey up to my parent’s house across the street, and prepare it to turn on the spit of a seen-on-TV roaster that only comes out one time a year.

No matter what time we say dinner will start, it’s usually about 2 hours after that, and then we crowd into my grandma’s beloved doublewide trailer and fill our plates so full I fear the styrofoam will break. Mashed potatoes and crockpot macaroni and cheese. Yeast rolls. Green beans and broccoli casserole. Turkey. Ham. Gravy. Plastic cups of soda. I usually try to bring at least one new, fresh thing to the table (although it barely gets eaten). My mom makes an assortment of sweets, and my grandma makes the pies—usually one for everyone else, plus another one secreted away for me.

My brother and his partner are there, plus my mom and dad, my brother and his wife, and their two kiddos. Most years my uncle stops by, and sometimes we have special guests, like my grandma’s friend Cordie. This event has always been the litmus test for potential boyfriends and girlfriends.

I used to dream that one day my family would crowd around my kitchen table for our Thanksgiving meals, and that I would, by then, have mastered the family favorites, but the truth is they have made their lives in my hometown, while we still continue to explore and roam. I’m coming to terms with the idea that I will never host my family for Thanksgiving.

For now, though, I still have a kitchen where I am welcome, and recipes to learn, and vegetables to foist on my carb-loving family, on my favorite day of the year.

To Read

“On one level, this story in Flint is about water. But on another level, it’s about trust in government, feeling like your voice matters and that elected leaders care about you. Pipes are hard to fix. Those other things are even harder.”  Here is your regular reminder that Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean drinking water.

Working my way through this incredible thread of stories about matriarchy from the San Francisco Chronicle.

This week I found hope in stories I read and heard about Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia.

A pox on the house of every single one of you drinking garbage coffee from Keurig machines.

America, our food is so gay.

Longer Reads

Populism, preservation, collective memory, architecture: there is so much to entertain in Kate Wagner’s “Archivists of Extension.”

I read David Sedaris’ Calypso this week, more than a few times I found myself chuckling or snorting out loud on the train. Find your release valve—whatever that is—and give yourself permission to open it this week.

To Eat

Look, I don’t know how I feel about this collard green melt either, but if it has the attention of Bon Appetit and some of my favorite food people, I feel like we have to give it a try.

If you’ve got time this weekend, why not make this pumpkin pot pie (or sub butternut squash and no one will guess the difference)?

Still the best and tastiest Brussel sprouts recipe I’ve ever made.

Time to practice those pie crusts, babies.