Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving. Angst. Would you like some WHINE with that Turkey


All my gluten free friends are swapping recipes and posting menus on their blogs, and I've been thinking about Thanksgiving a lot.

I have a horrible confession to make.

I hate Thanksgiving. It causes me great angst.

This all stems back to the fact that when I was a kid, we rarely did the big "Thanksgiving Day" and I rarely remember Thanksgiving with extended family (last one I remember was when I was in college -- we went to Connecticut in 1974 and 1976).

I spent most of my youthful TDays at Morrison's Cafeteria or the Holiday Inn Buffet. Once in a while my Mom would cook, but there was always so much angst attached to it -- fights over turkey temperature, etc. I mostly laid on the floor and watched the parades. In about 1975, my Mom concocted a "new" family dinner consisting of Countryside Chicken Bake and Yam Baskets Louisianne. She also served corn pudding from the Southern Living cookbook from that. I inherited the tattered, faded recipes for those. I still love those recipes.

Thanksgiving was a big deal in my ex's family, and his mother always killed the fatted turkey for the whole crew. I hated not spending Thanksgiving with my parents, but his folks invited them over, and we all had dinner together. Once in a while I cooked at our house. It was a huge, angst-filled production. That went on for a long, long time. It was OK when we could bring home extra dressing -- I would just open a can of Ocean Spray and I would be happy. But most of it was angst. (I remember really enjoying cooking in 1983. I was in Germany. I was proud of that meal. And one or two in the late 80s, maybe. 1997 we had a lot of fun. But I digress.)

That's it. To me, Thanksgiving meals are a lot of angst. I HATE cooking for Thanksgiving. There. I said it.

The perfect Thanksgivings for the past four years have been with Randy. We always go to someone else's house (Usually my friend Pam, who has a great, crazy family). We bring home leftovers. (Pam doesn't mind sending us home with food). And I don't have to do much work. I have a lot of great home cookin and have fun! And I bring home food in exchange for a side dish or two.

So we're invited to Pam's again, but this year, I'm GF, and this lunch is fraught with cross-contamination danger. Randy said we should just stay here, but I just don't want to cook what I want to eat!

If I have to cook, I'd make turkey breast, my Southern Cornbread Dressing, and a GF modified green bean casserole. But that's about it. And Randy won't eat the green bean casserole. There would be corn. I might make some frozen/refrigerated mashed potatoes. Maybe. But if I mostly want to eat at someone's house, I don't want to have to bring the food I'll eat with me. I can't eat her turkey (she makes a rockin turkey) because she stuffs it, which causes cross contamination. I don't know what is in the glaze of the ham, so I don't know if it's GF. I know all the desserts are out. My favorite food is dressing. Can't have none of that. To me, the greatest thing about Thanksgiving is leftover dressing and that can of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce.

I guess the bottom line is -- I want someone to cook for me for Thanksgiving. And now, I can't get anything that resembles it without doing it myself. Which I don't want to do.

This is so dreadful! I love food, and I love cooking, and I am THANKFUL, but the thought of making Thanksgiving dinner this year just drives me nuts. I guess I'm feeling a little sad. I can't have my Thanksgiving and eat it, too, anymore.

I'll get over it. I promise. Don't worry, honey. I won't let you starve.

Much love, and I'm sorry I'm so WHINY
Ging

10 comments:

The Bouceks said...

I feel your pain, but for a slightly different reason - I can't stand turkey! Like you, I am so very THANKFUL, but I've dreaded Thanksgiving Day every year since I stopped watching the parades. I think I might be the only person on the planet that HATES turkey.

Fortunately, my mama is sweet enough to make my favorites (ham, mac and cheese, green bean casserole)in addition to all of the traditional stuff.

But, this year we are in PA, and I have found that you can make requests of your own mama that you wouldn't necessarily make of your mother-in-law. Double fortunately, we are having an Italian Feast Friday night and that is something I'm really looking forward to!!!

Good luck figuring out your plans!

Cassandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cassandra said...

Oh, Ginger. How awful to be feeling so much angst (it must be the word of the day) over Thanksgiving.
When I have to go to my in-laws, I always have to bring all my own food. So not enjoyable (but not just because I have to bring my own food).
But, my older brother's wife is so good to me (as are my parents), that I don't have to worry about much when I'm with them. I have a little preparation stress, but that's only in getting all this stuff ready to travel. But I'll be fine once I'm there.
It may take awhile, but hopefully you'll have someone soon who understands the cc issue and is willing to make it work with you. Or, you may start a whole new tradition, serving enchiladas or salmon on Thanksgiving.
Don't make it about the turkey. And remember, it's just a day. You don't have to celebrate it on Thursday. You can have your celebration on Wednesday night, and do whatever you want. Find a way to make it fun and meaningful. Besides, it's not like the pilgrims had cream of mushroom soup in their green beans and marshmallows in their sweet potatoes.

(By the way, it didn't make much sense the first time, and it wouldn't let me edit it - thus the deleting. I need a few days of a medically-induced coma to get back up to par, lol.)

Ginger Carter Miller, Ph.D. said...

I wonder if my Mama would have made me gluten free food. I wonder.... And hey, I remember making you ham and mac and cheese and green bean casserole.

And thanks, Cassandra. I know it will work out. I just needed to vent a little, I guess. This is the first time in seven months that I've actually resented having to be gluten free.

Cassandra said...

It happens. Have your pity party, but make sure you leave before midnight.
I had an idea for you - why not a sushi Thanksgiving party? I saw you were asking about nori. That could be lots of fun. Everybody could sit at the table (or on the floor!) and fix their own sushi, while talking, etc. You could even have dessert sushi.
(This coming from someone who knows absolutely nothing about sushi, lol).

Cheekalina said...

Ging -
I'm gonna join your whining - but with a twist.

Thanksgiving was never my favorite Holiday. Too much dang food. (Wasn't until I was diagnosed that I figured out why the heck I felt so ILL after eating all the glorious gluten served in that one meal alone.)

And then.. .well.. then I met my love. And the first meal I had with his ENTIRE FAMILY (God forbid I actually meet one or two of them before having to meet 22 of them!) was Thanksgiving.... Chinese-style. Yes, turkey with chopsticks. Holy-HELL! The nightmares that I was going to send turkey pieces flying across the tablecloth with my poor chopstick skills. (At that point in my life I was grateful for wooden chopsticks to which food tends to stick. The problem is that at home, people have the washable, plastic SLICK-as-Hell chopsticks.) Oh LORD!

Needless to say, when dinner was over (and I survived), my love's mother turned and said "Why, Katie, we should have given you a fork." BAWAHAHAHAH - Heck no! I've done it - I am the chopstick-master! (Ok.. I proclaimed this silently to myself but DANG did she make me LAUGH with this comment!)

We we married the day after Thanksgiving the following year. A two day wedding (Friday and Saturday). I took back Thanksgiving.

Now my biggest complaint about T-Day? The CRAZY amount of food in our house because my love stills insists that we cook for 20! (Even though there are only 8 of us.)

So Ging - get your butt on a plane. Gluten-free Turkey Day in WA. On me. =)

Now... wouldn't that be fun?

And I promise - you can have ALL the leftovers your heart desires.

But this thing with cranberry juice on your dressing? Umm.. you're gonna have to explain that one, babe. =)

Ginger Carter Miller, Ph.D. said...

Kate, be careful what you offer...too bad the Air Tran sale to Seattle ended last night.

And by Ocean Spay, I meant the canned cranberry sauce. I know. I'm a luddite.

Gluti Girl said...

Oh my gosh I have both laughed and got tears in my eyes reading this post and the comment attached. Turkey with chopsticks....that is just so funny! But sad for you to feel sad over the day. I have felt that way about Christmas many times.

Thanksgiving was always my favaorite holiday growing up. I could live on stuffing. I love stuffing so much that the week before getting scoped I made a huge pan of it and ate it for days. I am determined to make a good gluten free stuffing this year!

But what I would say to you is this, embrace the day. Make it your own! I think you should reinvent Thankgiving for yourself. What do you really want it to be? You could make a totally differnt food that you love that has nothing to do with turkey. Or go out somewhere. Is it warm in Georgia? Have a picnic! Cook hotdogs out on the grill. Eat with chopsticks! You get the idea!

And, I like the Oceanspray cranberry stuff. It's what my grandma always had and she was the best!

Sandy said...

Hey Girlfriend,

I can so relate to your problem. My family has progressed big-time with "Critter-Free" offerings.

However, this year we are stuck here, deep in orange country, alone.

At least you have some buds there!

Love, Sandy

a kelly said...

Dear Ginger Carter Miller
As a Canadian I did the Thanksgiving Angst early in October so I TOTALLY understand. It was also my first GF holiday. I kept trying to tell myself it's about the people not the food, but it was a hard sell and I wasn't buying it. Amazingly I was given about 4 GF desserts from 2 other non gluten eaters, including a "just as good or even better than gluten" pumpkin pie. I chose carefully from the holiday feast at my friends: unstuffed turkey, cabbage rolls, unadorned veggies and salad. They were careful about cross contamination in my honor. And I did make a point of talking to more people than I usually do, including 99 year old Mrs Twist (I did a post about her, the sweetie!). I think I'm slowly getting over the angst. So much of my life has been centered around food. This year I am just so THANKFUL to feel finally healthy....
Alexsandra