Let the Thanksgiving menu negotiations begin!

Thanksgiving decorations You’ve probably experienced this – either on the offspring side or on the parent side – but still, it’s a funny little shock when it happens.

Here’s how it usually goes:

The chef who’s deciding what to cook for Thanksgiving thinks, “Hmm … you know, we’ve always had THIS for Thanksgiving dinner. I think I’ll mix it up a little bit and fix THAT instead.” In the chef’s joyful excitement over the perfect change in menu, they happily exclaim their plans to their children.

Now, depending on the ages of the children, you may experience this kind of a reaction: “What! but we always have THIS for Thanksgiving dinner! It won’t be Thanksgiving without it. Chef, how could you?” If you have a particularly dramatic child, you may get additional theatrics that include stomping, arm waving or any number of physical movements, which again only serve to shock the living daylights out of the unsuspecting chef who is just thinking of how much fun it will be to cook something a little different on this most important and unique of American holidays.


Well, I had that happen a few years ago. Now that I have adult-ish children who still have strong opinions about what constitutes a Thanksgiving feast (can’t imagine where they got those) in addition to their own dietary concerns, I know better. These days, no matter how much wrangling it takes, I clear the menu with these folks before I start cooking.

This Thanksgiving, it is also JUST US FOUR. This means I only have to clear the menu with these four people but we have the added difficulty of one unique once-in-a-lifetime-per-person event: wisdom teeth surgery. Yep, it’s wisdom teeth time for at least one of my daughters and she’s going to get it done the Monday before Thanksgiving Thursday because that works with her school and work schedule. So, we hope it will all be well and she’ll be able to chew, but who knows? She asked for pumpkin pie and we settled on pumpkin cheesecake because I found a recipe on Cooking Light that I am crazy to try. Nice compromise and no arguing involved. Score one for the chef.

Pumpkin on the porch

We’ll probably use organic canned pumpkin … not this one. This one will likely be eaten by this guy as soon as I stop shoo-ing him off the porch.

Hey, I get Thanksgiving dinner too

My other girl is not having surgery but is insistent on stuffing, “… because it’s just not Thanksgiving without stuffing, Mom.” OK, stuffing it is – no wrangling there. However, we are having a turkey breast and not a whole turkey. Why just the turkey breast? Because Mr. Man wants to smoke an entire brisket and four mostly vegetarian people trying to consume an entire brisket plus an entire turkey is just too much. As it is, we’ll have to freeze portions of the brisket for a later meal anyway unless we start inviting really hungry carnivores over to clear it out the house in a flash.

Hmmm … note to self, perhaps it would be good to find some lost and hungry people to help with that brisket.

Empty Thanksgiving dinner table - the planning stages

Emily is watching Max try to touch his toes. A little preparation exercise is good for the abs …

Emily watches Max try to touch his toes

… and it leaves more room for turkey!

fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!

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