Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble Gobble Gumbo

I enjoy Thanksgiving a lot more as an adult than I did as a child. We always went to my aunt's house and, while I loved my aunts and cousins, there was a lot of friction between my mom and my dad's family (their fault, not hers). Plus my mom wouldn't let me out of her sight for more than five minutes, and my cousins fought all the time, so it wasn't all that jolly.

I much prefer the traditions my sister and I, along with my sisters-in-law, have established. Some years ago my best friend started having people over for gumbo the night before Thanksgiving. Her father and her mother-in-law are both excellent gumbo cooks (and her mother-in-law's crawfish pie is to die for). It started off with just a few couples and now it's huge. So everyone in our family, both sides, eats gumbo on Wednesday night.

Then on Thanksgiving Day we walk down the street to my husband's sister's house. All sides gather there--my sister and her family, her sister-law and her family, her sister-in-law's brother-in-law and his family, and their sister and her partner and their parents, and our next door neighbor, and my husband's family and whomever else hasn't made other plans. This year I think we'll have about sixty people. Kids will roll around in the backyard with a bunch of dogs. One of the brothers-in-law will fry a turkey in the front yard (because the backyard is full of kids and dogs.)

Best thing about all of this? I don't have to cook. There are so many people who can cook that my modest skills aren't needed. I'll bring wine and soft drinks. Diva's old enough now that she can make a trifle all by herself. All I have to do is show up. I'm good at showing up. And cleaning -- I'm very good on kitchen duty. So it's a day of food, and wine, and kids and dogs and about 30 minutes in the kitchen. No prep work, no stress. I intend to keep this tradition going until Diva and her cousins take up holiday hosting and cooking duties.

So what does your family do for Thanksgiving? Have you made your own traditions, or are you still stuck in your parents'? Maybe you like your parents' traditions and want to continue them. Share your Thanksgiving traditions -- the quirkier the better -- in the comments, and Happy
Turkey Day from the Nine Naughty Novelists.

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