The Ghost of Thanksgiving Past…


I would not be honest If I didn’t tell you I have cooked most of my Thanksgiving dinners drunk.

In the old days, while I was preparing things in the early morning hours, I’d pop a bottle of champers and drink it mixed with juice while I worked. When the bottle of champagne was gone, most of the side dishes were prepared and the family we always celebrated with would arrive, and my counterpart Jill and I would start drinking wine. My children were small then, and I was married and despite my burgeoning problem drinking, we all remember those Thanksgiving dinners as some of the best times we had as a family with friends.

This was before I was a real alcoholic, but Jill and I did some crazy things (and upset our then husbands more than a little…) while slicing, dicing and drinking at Thanksgiving:

Here are some of the highlights:

  • One year I cooked the turkey upside down. The boney rib rack was crispy and just the right shade of brown while the meat was par-boiled in grease, a wet, disappointing pale beige;
  • There was the time we all sat, neat as pins while Jonathan carved the turkey like a Rockwell painting and the bag of steamed giblets (I had left stuffed in the inner recesses of the bird in its waxed bag) fell onto the table with a wet smack;
  • I will take only 50% responsibility for the time we were in a rush to brown the marshmallows on top of the yams in the broiler and forgot them until the alarms were whooping and the entire casserole was engulfed in flames;
  • One year, while everything else was dished and steaming and ready to eat, we discovered the turkey was golden brown on the outside (I swear the little button popped up) but rare on the inside. We had to cut bleeding hunks of meat off the bird and cook them in the microwave while everyone sat with their hands crossed across their stomachs waiting…
  • I blew up the stuffing. We like the stuffing crispy, so I put it in a Pyrex dish when it’s cooked and into the oven for a while. One year I tried to keep it warm on the stove by putting the whole thing on a low burner. Pyrex explodes like a car window and I was picking out the chunks of glass, fully preparing to serve it when one of the guests said, “There are children at the table – I will not allow you to serve that stuffing.” Party poop.

You may wonder why anyone would come to one of my Thanksgiving dinners…

It is a testament to my effort and my love of family and tradition that Lauren, Jon Jon, Jonathan and I have only fond memories of Thanksgiving past. It is fortunate that most of the hijinks took place in the kitchen while well quaffed guests sat in the living room. The table was always a masterpiece…

I would teeter into the room seamlessly on stilettos and say to Jonathan, “Could you come in here for a minute?” That was his cue another disaster was in the offing.

In those days everyone drank a lot…


Today I’m not drinking because I am reminiscing.

How come you’re not drinking?