Too bad it takes more than wishing to execute the recipies we all hold dear for Thanksgiving.
It takes shopping.
This year, I divided my shopping into three parts. Most of the stuff I got from my local supermarket. I got the organic stuff and turkey from Fresh Direct and the rest from my local
Sounds simple, right?
Remember the scene in Apocalypse Now where Willard enters Kurtz's compound and they're all staring at him, that moment of dread?
Well, that's the feeling any sane person should get when entering a supermarket Thanksgiving week.
Because the market is a zoo, with people trying to round up their meal. Stove Top sells like weed at a Dead concert, shit you couldn't imagine eating, like canned Egg Nog mix, is flying off the shevles. There are people who spent $250 over the last month collecting their frozen turkeys and hams. There are the last minute shoppers, the people who are getting everything, with the kids they just picked up from day care in tow. And the topperoffers, picking up that one last item or two, like me.
The aisles are crowded, the people trying to remember what they don't have, what they need to get and to make sure little Kayla doesn't throw in an extra package of cheese. It is, in short, organized mayhem.
What is amazing is what people by, heavy cream, which has never been neccessary for our meals, collard greens by the bundle, pounds of sweet potatoes, macaroni, oil, and the ham.
When we had the large thanksgivings, a ham was as much a part of the meal as the turkey, on Thanksgiving morning, I will smell pernil, roast pork, because you can't have a Puerto Rican holiday without roast pork. But the ham matters.
Oddly, the shopping is the domain of the mother, from young to middle age, they seem to predominate, with a dad or two along for the ride. Because she isn't going to miss what she needs. Now, most cultural observations are silly, but here is one, there are few black women who will trust the provision of a thanksgiving meal to anyone without the closest supervision.
My mother once burst into tears over a too large turkey and made me return it. The replacement was suitable.
When I was in Fairway one year, looking for cheddar cheese for the baked macaroni, I asked the guy behind the cheese counter if they had any cheddar. He said, well, we have white cheddar. Now I love white cheddar, but as I said to the man behind the counter, "man, I'm making baked macaroni, I bring that home, they'll kill me."
He laughed knowingly and and pointed me to the precut cheddar.
Because I would have been killed if I did that. And he knew that. Show up with white cheddar for baked macaroni. Shit.
Even though my mother rarely did the shopping, her supervision was exacting. And I could see that on display. Men may have been along for the ride, but if the women were going to spend hours cooking, they wanted what they needed. In my family's case, if Bell Seasoning is missing, it is enough to send me into the streets on Thanksgiving morning in panic mode.
As I was standing in the checkout, this woman was going on about how she was going to cook her ham and her over roaster chicken, the Perdue brand name for capons, which I actually like. I looked at her and thought, that would be fucked up for those who liked Turkey. Then she explained that they were going to a relative's house for Thanksgiving. Then it made sense.
Ok. Someone on the Food Blog asked what kind of music they should play over Thanksgiving dinner.
The people I asked, laughed and said "Music? Why? Isn't there football on?"
I mean it is thanksgiving. If you don't hear John Madden in the background, it's like having a treeless, Santa free Christmas.
posted by Steve @ 1:08:00 AM