Readers share their plans for a low-key holiday
Published in November, 2020
Many of us will be doing the holidays differently this year. A few readers and friends have shared their plans for a dialed down version of Thanksgiving. We hope yours is a happy one!
Michael W. Brinkman
My wife, Lois, and I have hosted Thanksgiving Day dinner with our children for over 50 years. And over time the family grew. We have six children, twenty-six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. This year we'll be celebrating here at home alone. But Lois promised me that she wouldn't serve me a Hungry Man's TV Turkey Dinner. In the afternoon the family will join in on Zoom together from Cincinnati, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Saline, Arvada Colorado, Port Huron, and perhaps Las Vegas. During the get together each of the members who are old enough to talk--and that's thirty or so of us--will mention at least one thing that we are thankful for. Now that's a lot of thanks giving!
Every year, I'm the one in charge of cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family and I adore every aspect of it. I look forward to picking out the ingredients carefully so I know everything that's going in my food. It's a ritual to get up early and cook food for people I love.
For years, it's been my son, my mom, my brother, and my partner. This year, instead, my son Josiah and I will have dinner together.
I want to show him that even though it's just me and him, the time together is still something special. I'll have him actually help me do a bulk of the cooking. I usually do everything by myself because I'm so particular, but I'm excited to share this cooking adventure with him so he can start throwing down in the kitchen. He'll learn how to cook everything from scratch. I want to show him the love that goes into cooking for family and for yourself, that all of what you need can be found
locally and raised in a healthy way, and what a difference it makes in the meal.
I will miss my brother and mom but am lucky that they don't live too far. I'm going to cook another turkey and sides and deliver it to them near Flint. I'll leave the goods in the garage and say hi from a distance.
We were going to have a Very Small Thanksgiving - just me, my wife Eve Silberman, and her brother Alex. But the day after Alex moved into a new group home in Pontiac, a housemate tested positive for Covid-19 and he went into quarantine. To try to make it up to him, Eve is ordering Thanksgiving dinners for the house (individually packaged - this is not the time and place to gather around a table!).
The thought of making a turkey dinner for two was discouraging--all those leftovers!--so I was relieved when Eve suggested we move up that venerable American Jewish holiday tradition - Chinese takeout for Christmas - to Thanksgiving. She still wanted pumpkin pie, so my Wednesday Kroger pickup includes a can each of pumpkin and condensed milk. I'll use them to make a filling that I will pour into ovenproof bowls and bake. (I'm no good at crusts, and if the crust's no good, who needs the calories?)
The Kroger order also includes a bottle of Martinelli's sparkling apple cider. We'll use it for toasts on three family video calls - one with Eve's brother and his wife in Minneapolis and their grown sons in Portland and Buffalo; one with my siblings and our Mom, scattered from California to Turkey; and one with my first wife's siblings in Michigan, Connecticut, and Colorado. Apologies in advance if we break the Internet!
[Originally published in November, 2020.]
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