November 28, 2013

Getting on the gravy train

What is it about Thanksgiving that we all love so much? I want to say that everyone appreciates the opportunity to be grateful for their circumstances, the people in their lives, and the love and joy they share, but I’m leaning more towards “it’s the food.” Not because my circumstances, friends, and family aren’t awesome (they are!), but because the food is just that great. I have my friends and family all year long. I can call them up, go visit, or walk across the room and get my snuggles anytime I want. But when can I fry up a giant turkey, make 1,345 side dishes and whip up more than a few pies for dessert? Only on Thanksgiving, my friend. It’s a special time--for my heart and my digestive system.

It hasn’t always been this way. Thanksgiving used to be merely an excuse for me to eat copious amounts of pie and banana pudding because I was afraid to try the vegetable-laden side dishes and I didn’t really like turkey (more on that in a minute).

Calling me a picky eater is an understatement. My friends used to say my lunch tray looked like a massacre had occurred when it was pizza day at school. That’s because I would carefully lift the sheet of cheese off those rectangular slices of cafeteria pizza and wipe every ounce of sauce off with my napkin. If no napkin was available, I would just wipe my pizza on the edge of the tray until there wasn’t a trace of tomato to be found.

These are not the actions of a normal person.

I’m a little embarrassed to tell you this, but since I’m being honest—I never tried gravy until last Thanksgiving. I know. How does that happen? I guess the brown color and the association with the word “giblets” made me uneasy. I imagined that gravy was a potent potion of intestines and maybe mud. So, I suffered through 21 Thanksgivings eating my turkey bone-dry. When family members would say, “Do you want some more turkey?” I’d be like, “No, that was bland and generally terrible. Why would I want more of it?” After my first taste of gravy last year, I suddenly understood why someone would offer a second (or third…or fourth) serving of turkey. And I loved them for it.

Two more Thanksgiving staples I’ve yet to try are cranberry sauce and green bean casserole, but don’t tell my mother. I’m pretty sure she thinks I love her green bean casserole. (Update: I made green bean casserole for the first time this year. Added some cheese and bacon. It was divine.)

Thankfully, my daughter doesn’t share my picky eating habits on Thanksgiving or any other day. She loves vegetables and trying new foods. I don’t normally feel that bad about my pickiness, but when she asks me why I don’t want any Brussels sprouts or a bite of her broccoli, I feel a little bit like a failure.

That’s why I’m going to try to suck it up and eat like a normal person this Thanksgiving. Even though the sight of it makes me a little nauseous, I’ll try that cranberry sauce and I’ll eat the biggest serving of green bean casserole you’ve ever seen (okay, I’m exaggerating--I might try a bite). I’m thinking if any of it ends up being as delicious as gravy turned out to be, Thanksgiving might just be my new favorite holiday.

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