By the way, they only ask to be nice.
And then their eyes glaze over with fear. They are terrified that, instead of telling them a big long story about where I am going to be, I might say something like, “Well as a matter of fact, I have a huge surprise for you. This year, I’m cooking! And you must stop by! I absolutely won’t take no for an answer.”
Occasionally, people still grill me about my culinary fails: “Is it true that you poisoned at least one of your husbands when cube steak was on the menu?”
“Well yes,” I splutter. “But it was an accident. The kitchen light was very dim. I simply could not see that the meat was green.”
“What kind of turkey would you serve if you were planning to cook?” they ask.
“Jonathan Byrd’s, of course,” I reply with an eye roll. “You’re quite the comedic pilgrim. Aren’t you?”
“Will you have pie?”
“Whatever is on clearance at the grocery store,” I say with a shrug.
None of that is what they want to hear. Someone who believes in kitchen miracles occasionally assures me that yes, I can successfully make cranberry salad. But why do I want to put myself through that unnecessary stress when I can buy that Jell-O-looking cranberry stuff that comes in a can? And move on to more important things … like maybe a nap.
Some women find pleasure in holiday cooking.
But me? I find all kinds of disaster, mood swings and more than my share of nervous tics.
“It is so relaxing for me,” one of my cooking friends always says with a smile. “I just lose myself in carefully slicing the ingredients for delicious winter soups.”
“You’re a freak,” I growl at her. “I can’t slice and dice anything except my digits. In fact, I have an entire drawer full of Band-Aids.”
In the kitchen I am nowhere near relaxed. In fact, I need anger management training. I have been known to hurl small canned hams at walls when I couldn’t get them open. I have broken wooden spoons over my knee. Bad words also torpedo from my mouth. Plus I hate to wash dishes.
More than once, when I was far too stressed to clean it up at that moment, I have simply hidden the mess of dropped eggs with small rugs then had to scrape the sticky rug fuzz off the linoleum with a butter knife.
I have thrown away pans and baking sheets because the charred remains of a treat gone wild was just too awful for even the cookware to survive.
So you are safe. You can ask me about my plans for Thanksgiving. And then I will ask you for your address and what time I should show up with doggie bags in hand, to join you for dinner.