Preface: It has come to my attention that most of my family doesn’t read my blog- and someone in my family finds it “unimpressive”. So, these people no longer have diplomatic immunity. I may even start using their real names…
I have begun to really master the sport of “outsourcing”. I remember Thanksgiving 2002 that my now-husband and I hosted in Tampa for his family. Dinner featured all homemade items, down to the hand mashed sweet potatoes with maple pecan crumble to cranberry apple compote. I spent 3 days just prepping the nuts that were in the dishes. In the last decade, I have become a wiser Gina. Outsourcer Gina. I outsource birthday parties, holiday decorating, and now Holiday feasts. This year, I got away with peeling just 3 potatoes and making corn soufflé.
I’d like to share some of my secrets.
To ensure you are able to start drinking a smooth and velvety Cabernet at 1pm on Thanksgiving Day, do the following:
- Host Thanksgiving. I know this sounds counterproductive, but if you are willing to allow the bodies to come to your home for a few hours, they will feel compelled to bring food and wine to their gracious host (you). They will cater these host gifts more towards your liking than your husband’s, figuring you did more work than your husband. (Not the case really ever in this house where the husband does the laundry, dishes and breakfast.)
- Allow your children to sip on your Dunkin Donuts Turbo before the guests arrive. If you are lucky, someone will want to save the rest of your guests from the bedlam and offer to take them outside and play basketball…or hang lights. Even if the person offering is their father, you have still managed to deploy at least 1 child.
- Create a bogus food competition. My Mother, Mother-in-Law, Cousin and Sister all make exactly the same mashed potatoes. Even though in a blind taste test you couldn’t differentiate them, each would insist hers was the best. They all clamor over each other to try to make them. I got away with peeling 3 potatoes this year because my Mom, Cousin and Sister were all deliberating how much butter goes into the KichenAid. No one notices my slow, deliberate peeling pace and how many times I just had to “find The Nosy Meap”.
- Allow The Oldest (age 7) and Middle (age 5) sons to “help” and then be the adult who “supervises”. This includes placing the turkey butter sculptures on their respective plates. (Placing bets on who decapitated his turkey butter …)
- Start chasing children after the meal, looking frazzled and exhausted. (This is from drinking wine during the day, not taking care of children.) Guests will feel sorry for you and immediately start to clean.
- Buy dessert. Tell everyone you bought dessert because the days preceeding Thanksgiving were completely insane. List all the mundane running around you did. Make sure you mention that you had a horrible sore throat that required you to seek medical attention and that the toddler was in the Pediatrician’s office. These are both facts that cannot be disputed. Mention how much volunteering you did at the children’s’ school. (No one can verify your whereabouts….)
- After clean up, be sure to top off all your helpers’ wine glasses. And top them off again. It will be hard for them to recall your lack of participation the next day.
* My cousin, Alan, invented the phrase “Scam the Fam” at the turn of this century. My husband tends to miss every other of my family’s functions due to a mysterious stomach ailment. Or, suddenly, one of our children gets sick and Gregg volunteers to care for them. Alan has christened this action “Scamming the Fam”.