The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 22, 2012

Vos: Thankful for a holiday potluck

— I am full of thanks today.

Of course, I am full of gratitude for good health, my family, my friends.

But on this Thanksgiving Day morning, I am so thankful that I did not get up at 4:30 a.m. to brine a turkey. Or that I didn’t have to give any thought to keeping lumps out of gravy. Or to baking a last-minute pumpkin pie.

I am thankful that our Thanksgiving meal is a potluck this year that I’m not in charge of. Sometimes it really pays off to have bossy older sisters.

It’s not that I haven’t cooked the feast in the past. I have. But it wasn’t without numerous sleepless nights worrying about the flow chart of tasks to get everything on the table at the same time. (Now there’s an app for that.) There are also the nightmares about all the mishaps that could litter my kitchen floor.

You have to understand that I am the so-called cook who dropped an entire peanut butter pie trying to put it in the oven. I also brought my then 3-year-old to tears when I flipped over his dad’s “surprise” upside-down pineapple birthday cake and it gushed all over the plate onto the floor. “Well, that was a surprise!” I said, trying to reassure him it wasn’t the end of the world — just the end of homemade cakes at our house.

The first time I took on the Thanksgiving meal, my husband, who is the real cook in our family, was sick in bed. I gathered the troops to help, which amounted to my toddler. I put a cooked pot of potatoes on the floor, introduced the potato masher as a new Bob-the-Builder-like tool and put him to work mashing potatoes while I tried doing three other things at once. Five minutes later, I checked on my little guy’s progress. He was standing in the pot, wearing his favorite slippers, grape-stomping the potatoes to a fine pulp.

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