A Time-saver for the Thanksgiving Hostess

Why does Thanksgiving seem like such a warm fuzzy holiday until it actually arrives? You picture yourself around a big table of smiling relatives and friends before a huge, perfectly browned turkey and five or six sumptuous side dishes.

Unfortunately, if you are the hostess, one by one these ideal fantasies disappear as the actual day approaches, and the reality of bringing this feast into fruition begins to weigh on your mind. The first bubble pops when you enter the grocery store to purchase the last few items you’ve forgotten. Suddenly the list seems very long and you begin to feel like a blind sardine pushing a half ton truck through a crowded stream.

When you get to the checkout, the second bubble pops when you faint as the checkout girl tells you the bill is over $100. A kind older man who is not fixing thanksgiving dinner helps you to your feet so you can put the groceries on your credit card. As you leave the store you notice other shoppers who are audibly crying in the check out aisles.

After you get home and put away all the groceries and sundries, you are exhausted and fall onto the sofa in relief. As you are resting the third bubble pops when you realize you don’t have enough chairs, so you quickly phone your nearest relative who has some folding chairs they can bring when they come TOMORROW!!!

Suddenly you are back on your feet beginning your preparation for two pies. Now the remaining bubbles are popping simultaneously, as you realize you will be spending the entire day tomorrow baking the turkey and making the stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. What in the world are you going to do?

My tip for the exhausted hostess: Do thanksgiving backwards. PUT THE TURKEY IN THE DISHWASHER!

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‘Thank You’ is a Supernatural Phrase

Tomorrow most of us will be sitting down at the Thanksgiving table. How many of us will thank God for the things he has done? And what about the rest of the year? How many of us take time to thank others for the things they do?

 ‘Thank you’ is a supernatural phrase when used sincerely. If it is said with a thankful heart, it can unlock God’s blessings and men’s confidence.

 When you say ‘thank you’ and mean it, you take the focus off yourself and give it to the person you are thanking. You are saying ‘I acknowledge you,’ and ‘I appreciate you.’ It blesses another person, it blesses God, and it blesses you.

 When you say ‘thank you’ to God you are honoring him and he will bless you. The words are like supernatural keys that unlock God’s desire to give you more, and they work the same way with other people. When someone thanks you for something you have done for them, doesn’t it make you feel good? And doesn’t it make you feel like you would be happy to help them again, if the opportunity presents itself?

 Sometimes it is difficult to remember to say ‘thank you’, but it is crucial to a successful life. I first learned it in the seventies when I was married to a heroin addict. My husband stole things from our home to sell for money for his habit. He even went around to our friends and neighbors and told them we had no food and no money and they gave him money. Of course he spent it on heroin. I was truly mortified when they told me.

Finally it came to the point where we were going to lose our home. My Christian girlfriend Marilyn suggested I read “Prison to Praise”, a book by Merlin Carothers. In the book Merlin explains how he decided to thank the Lord for being imprisioned and when he said ‘thank you’ things started changing in his life.

 So I decided to thank God for my drug-addicted husband and losing our home and SUDDENLY there were answers. My husband went into rehab. Our landlord kicked me and my children out, but we found a little cottage to stay in for nothing. Someone even gave us a car! Our church arranged for us to get free dinners until we were able to get on welfare and relocate to a HUD townhouse.

 This was a wonderful lesson in saying ‘thanks’! I have used that lesson many times to get through the thick and thin in life. Sometimes I thank God for the good things and sometimes for the bad. Try it, you’ll like it.

 Can we teach our children to say ‘thank you’, instead of ‘gimme’?

 

Betty Crocker – The Early Years

When I first got married in 1964, I didn’t have a clue about how to be a housewife. I was still in my last semester of college, and all I knew was what a knife and fork looked like and which appliance was the refrigerator. I did have experience at the sink, washing my hands and getting a drink of water, but as a teenager I had studiously avoided Mom’s kitchen. It really was a studied avoidance, because after dinner, I often gave my mother the excuse that I had to study, so I couldn’t help with the dishes. Unfortunately, it was true. I always had so much homework my eyes fell out every night at 10:00.

But I’m getting behind myself. My husband and I managed to eat out for the first few nights. My mom had given me her Betty Crocker Cookbook and after several days of screw-ups, mishaps, and culinary disasters, I decided to make chicken, mashed potatoes and peas. At least I knew about the three food groups: easy, difficult, and impossible.

Betty’s Cookbook  informed me how to bake the chicken, which turned out to be blackened but edible. It was the mashed potatoes that proved impossible. The recipe said to put the potatoes in a pan with ½ inch of water. Betty forgot to mention that the water needed to cover the potatoes and have an extra ½ inch on top of them.

Anyway, I burned the potatoes. I did cook the canned peas in a small saucepan with water and they turned out fine (1964 was during the pre-microwave period in culinary history). I think my husband was still hungry after dinner, but he didn’t say anything. The next night we went to “Big Boy” for hamburgers and fries.

My history of not-so-good dinners finally changed when I had children and was forced to stay home all day and take care of them. I began to care about cooking. Really, I began to care about eating, and I was serving Kraft Macaroni and Cheese every other night, so I needed to study up on making nutritious, edible and tasty dinners.

A neighbor taught me how to make a delicious pot roast. I’m getting hungry just talking about it. I had finally conquered baked chicken and I understood every step of making creamy mashed potatoes. My girlfriend found a great recipe for spaghetti sauce and I learned how to make that. At that point I was able to boil noodles.

“Mom, I learned to make spaghetti sauce from scratch.”

“Really?” Mother was astounded.

“Yes, it’s delicious.”

“Better than Chef Boy-ar-Dee?” Mom looked incredulous.

“Yes, Mom, even better than Chef Boy-ar-dee.” I remember laughing to myself because Mom thought sauce that came in a can would be better than homemade sauce.

So finally, as National Feast Day comes around again, I think back to Betty Crocker and Chef Boy-ar-dee, and although their food was not nutritious the way we insist our food be now, it was fairly good and kept us from going hungry when Mom was busy.

Chef Boy-ar-dee is a real man from Piacenza, Italy whose name was spelled Hector Boiardi. He had a famous restaurant in NYC and was one of the first chefs to package his ingredients together in a box for sale to the public. People ate it up!

Unfortunately, Betty Crocker is a crock. Yes, I’m sorry to burst your bubbles, but Betty isn’t a real person. She was started by the Washburn Crosby Company in Minneapolis in 1921, invented to give a personal touch to thousands of requests they received about baking. Here are some pictures of Betty during her early years.

Betty Crocker

Turkeys Queuing up for Badminton

I have to admit I was ignorant about the abilities of turkeys. There have been so many jokes about these birds I just figured they must be as stupid as people say. However, last spring I had the most amazing experience. I saw a flock of turkeys walking across our backyard, and I ran to get my camera. I got the shot of the birds, never even noticing they were headed for the badminton net.

Later on, I looked out and I was astounded when the turkeys began gathering around the net. From out of nowhere they produced racquets and birdies. They separated into two teams, males and females and began volleying the birdies across the net. It was amazing how good they were. Who would’ve thought? And you wouldn’t believe the noisy gobbling!

The female turkeys won three games to two. They celebrated by pecking the male turkeys all the way home to their nests in the woods. Unfortunately, none of the pictures of the turkeys playing badminton turned out, but I have this one to prove that turkeys will line up to play.

Do you have any anecdotes involving turkeys that you’d like to share?

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