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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Gardner Woods


I was certain when I handed the roasting pan to my daughter and turned over my father’s pearl-handled carving set to my son a dozen years ago that I had prepared my last Thanksgiving dinner.

I no longer needed the turkey baster.

Along with the meat thermometer, the guard was passing.

Yet here I am up to my neck—in grocery lists, un-ironed napkin sets, mismatched wine glasses, lack of serving pieces and mixing bowls, and an antique dining table so narrow guests across from one another knock knees—wondering what I have gotten myself into.

I am hosting Thanksgiving this year.

Doesn’t matter how the honor was bestowed.

What matters is how on earth to navigate the lumpy road ahead.

For fifty years, I fixed a damn Thanksgiving turkey.

I’ll do it again this year.

I need help.

I’ll have help.

My son-in-law will do the mashed potatoes. He likes them chunky. Make that lumpy. My daughter-in-law, the green beans. And the gravy. She is beyond patient, patiently stirring and stirring to lumpless gravy.

It’s up to me for the rest. Organic? Fresh? Frozen? How many pounds? Endless turkey options. And then there’s the small oven. Single oven. How to orchestrate the timing for the dressing, the turkey, the candied yams, the rolls, the pies?

The last time I made a turkey, I covered it with butter-soaked cheese cloth following Martha Stewart’s prissy instructions.

It’s different now.

Early Thanksgiving morning, I will bring my laptop into the kitchen (after Wordle, Connections, and Spelling Bee) and fire up one of a bounty of You-Tubes offering step by step instructions for preparing the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.


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