My friends started a tradition many years ago (in high school) of having what is now lovingly known as "Thanksgiving Feast." Back then it was just an excuse to eat Thanksgiving food twice, our metabolisms could easily keep up, and each of us just asked our moms to make an extra of something they were already making anyway.
The Feast, while still attended by many of the same people year after year, is always hosted by MK, who sends out an Evite that includes a poem that she makes up herself. This year she even managed to include some election banter and the gate code to get into her apartment building. She and my friend SR live together in uptown Dallas, so they were co-hostessing the event.
Nowadays we all have to do the cooking ourselves, which is fine because my friends are great in the kitchen. People who have never been to The Feast are always surprised at how serious everyone takes their cooking responsibilities. I walked in with my friend RW to the apartment, which was warmly lit by lamps and candles, to see people greeting each other while holding casserole dishes, my friend SR in the kitchen (apron on, whipping up potatoes, not a curled blonde hair out of place) and see MK topping off wine glasses in one hand and setting out a platter of baked brie and crackers with the other.
You know, just a regular Sunday night.
The food never disappoints. The company isn't bad either. New friends and old always mingle well together at The Feast; probably thanks to the wine and the interesting playlists MK always has going on her iPod. I think the first year we did it, we went around the table and did the "what are you thankful for" thing... but since there are about 30 people hovering around the apple pie with crumble topping, we opted to socialize instead.
I brought broccoli cheese casserole; a favorite every year at my family's Thanksgiving gathering. My dad's mom, who passed away several years ago, was the queen of Thanksgiving. I think the first year that everyone had to cook without her was a disaster because know one knew exactly how to do her recipes with the same finesse.
Her signature dish was really her cornbread stuffing, but my favorite has always been her broccoli cheese casserole. After making it for the first time ever on Sunday, I don't know how anyone does this with anything less than four hands. I think I know my way around the kitchen but this was seriously labor-intensive.
Nothing was made easier by the fact that there are no instructions written down anywhere. My own mother wrote down the ingredients, probably 12 years ago, on a torn-off corner of a yellow legal pad. That's it. She knows all of the amounts and instructions and baking time by heart. This meant that meant that every 90 seconds or so, my mom got a "what's next?" question from me while I was cooking. I even tried to do that thing where you balance your phone between your head and your shoulder while stirring and pouring and talking, which only resulted in cooked rice littering the stovetop and several broken-off sentences on my end while chatting with my friend BF.
Apparently multi-tasking is one of the cooking skills I have yet to master.
"Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence."