things i learned from thanksgiving

dad doing dishes in tub

dad does the dishes in the bathtub

How was your holiday? Other than a waterfall in the kitchen, doing the dishes in the bathtub, my camera acting up and a tiny hangover, mine was great. I do, however, have a few thoughts for what to do differently come Christmas time.

1. Menu, menu, menu! I’m going to get the items I want to serve written down this week and no later. I promise not to force my friends to make everything this holiday! Promise, promise. I learned so much watching Aziza last year and Kate this year and if I remember it all, I know I can pull off Christmas dinner at my house handily, if not with gusto. Nigella Lawson also told me I could make chili and potato skins if I feel like it. Easing up on the traditional food is looking like a must-do for ease and simplicity.

menu

4. The plumbing. The pipe below our kitchen sink burst just as the food was done, pushing dirty water and rusty pieces of metal onto the floor and forcing us to do dishes and wash hands in the bathtub. Fun! It’s still not fixed, but believe you me, the plumber who arrives tomorrow will do a thorough check on each and every pipe in this apartment.

3. Space. My plan to push two tables together in our library/foyer actually worked well, but I didn’t think of places to put the food that wouldn’t fit in the center of said table. I’ll make sure to have some cleared surfaces for dishes — and “prezzies” as Mama Okun calls them — on Christmas.

4. The table. I will have semi-matching dishes not borrowed from friends. Four Zara Home plates purchased at the thrift store this weekend for eighty cents a piece (they have no US stores so I feel extra lucky for the find) will go a long way when paired with my white Crate and Barrel wedding gift plates. Mix-matching is okay as long as there’s a semblance of order. Additionally, I will actually make myself some placemats and napkins with ye old sewing machine. I realize that I have given away dozens since I learned to sew and have kept not one tiny scrap for myself. Looks like my pre-holiday-to-do list just got longer.

zara home plates

5. Decorations. Kate laughed when I told her my Thanksgiving decorating plans: flowers in old thrifted vases. Which would have been great had I had the vases… She brought some great gourds over and I haphazardly threw them together in bowls, but I know they would have looked so much prettier and added to the festive mood with proper vessels. I’ll do much better on Christmas, KB, promise.

I think our guests had a nice time and Ok and I really enjoyed spending time with those who came over. A special, special thanks to Kate, Erick, Sydnye and Elliot for their kitchen prowess and to Papo for those delicious vegan pies from the Riverwest Co-op in Milwaukee. I promise to work harder and smarter next year.

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