For me what that meant at Thanksgiving was to first give up expectations of what it should look like. When the Haiti disaster occurred I decided I wanted to do relief work the week of Thanksgiving. But a few months ago it became clear that might not be good timing. So then I signed up to go back to New Orleans and work with Habitat for Humanity. They still need so much help and have been all but forgotten. But because of Thanksgiving I found out their holiday schedule only had people working two days that week, so I realized fairly late that I should stay home and create a wonderful Thanksgiving for friends and family. Once that was decided I got very excited about doing the best Thanksgiving ever!
So, we got our guest list together and worried about people getting along. I decided to drop every expectation about how people would behave, react, interract. And, I kept dropping the expectations -- it doesn't happen just once, it's an active exercise. And I have to say it was one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever because the "chemistry" was perfect. It was joyful and stress-free.
How else was I lazy this season? I decided I felt like cooking for days! Seriously I was in the mood to cook and I wanted to make it the most amazing meal, decorate the most amazing table, and just cook up a storm. So, here's how it all got done -- the LAZY way ... step by step, a little bit each day so each day was relaxing and fun:
Saturday before ThanksgivingDesign the menu...
Sunday before Thanksgiving· Design the table and buffet table (you can see on photo above that I put post-its on the serving dishes to make sure everything is covered)
· Print out all the recipes
· Make shopping list for every single item on the menu - broken down into sections of the store -- Fruits/Veggies, Dairy, Dry Goods, etc.
Monday before Thanksgiving· Buy flowers
· Start setting the table (so that if what is in your mind's eye doesn't work in reality it can be tweaked)
· Buy new tablecloth (Because I was collaborating with Aaron, this meant adjusting the design in my head to accommodate his wishes, i.e., for a white tablecloth)
Tuesday before Thanksgiving
· Make Pumpkin Cheesecake and ice cream custard
· Finish setting table to see if anything missing
· Prep sourdough bread for stuffing
· Prep bread for Crostini
· Tape recipes to kitchen cabinets -- as recipes are completed they get thrown away but a great way to keep them in eye’s view and not get them messed up with food drippings!
Wednesday before Thanksgiving· Make Chocolate Apricot Tart
· Make gravy impromptu with drippings right before serving – add stock mixed with cornstarch to thicken