I wish I were in your shoes today, with a feast coming up in four days. Three and counting. Around a hundred hours. This is the time of year when I am most nostalgic and most homesick, when all of Canada has washed its hands of Thanksgiving weeks ago and is busily arranging inflatable JesusMaryJosephs in their front yards and working on Thursday and Friday. And oh, I married a man who doesn’t like turkey, dears. It’s all no good at all.
If I were in your shoes, I would sing la la la and make a small turkey anyway, and sides upon sides. I would make my grandmother’s satiny gravy and her stuffing and my own garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli salad and Parker House rolls. And at least once before the big day—okay, maybe twice—or more—dinner would mean small salads and small entrées and then cheese and crackers and apples. Or pears. And ooh, grapes.
You can go all out for cheese arrangements if you’re having company, ensuring that a variety of regions and milks and firmnesses are available. But for just you and yours at home? It doesn’t take much. You take out the cheeses when you start thinking about what might potentially be your main course, and an hour later, you slice up an apple and break out the crackers or slice a little bread. This time, there’s a little bit of homemade salted caramel in the white ramekin, for apple-dipping. A little jam is nice, too, or some olives. If you want to plan ahead, you can make some bruschetta. Throw it all on a plate or leave it on a cutting board and go.
Something wonderful happens when people eat with their hands instead of silverware. The talk feels more animated; gestures become more broad. (Not too broad, or that chunk of Blue Haze will go flying right off your cracker.) We linger at the table and it feels like a party in the best way, like at any moment one of us will say we don’t do this often enough. No invites, no RSVPs, and the perfect guest list.