Note: John Scalzi posted his Weekend Assignment topic a day early, but I'll be doing my response to it on Thursday as usual.
Well, my holiday weekend is off to a good start. After days (weeks, years) of indecision about where we will be eating Thanksgiving dinner (home or in a restaurant; if the latter,then which one?), we discussed our options and I made a few phone calls. No, KonTiki isn't serving dinner tomorrow. No, John doesn't want to chance waiting outside Marie Callendar for 45 minutes again even with a reservation. No, the buffet at the DoubleTree has no openings left except at 10:00 AM - and their dinner is $45 per person. No, Mimi's has no reservations left.
So we went shopping. I was at Safeway last night after my late night at the office, and saw that they still had a lot of food for the holiday. As of tonight, this was still true. One of the first things we saw was this:
Hooray for Pumpkin Anything! The attractively packaged mix for Pumpkin Bread came with a cinnamon grater. The one for Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie came with a whisk. Neato! But we didn't buy these. It was enough for now to photograph them.
These two items, on the other hand, I simply could not pass up. Last year we saw a display that was labeled as having Jello brand pumpkin pudding, but in reality had nothing of the sort. This year, we got the last box of the flavor in Safeway's holiday cooking display at the front of the store. The other stuff is pumpkin-flavored cheese(!), for which I bought crackers. That and beef stick will be lunch or a snack or something tomorrow. Breakfast will be the traditional Pillsbury orange rolls I've had on holiday mornings for over 40 years.
As for the main event, this is simply the first time I can remember, ever, in which we seem to have gotten everything I wanted for a holiday meal in a single trip to a single store, particularly the night before the big day. They didn't have giblet gravy, but that hardly counts - nobody ever has that any more. The store made up for this lack with turkey gravy, now in microwavable jars. Nifty! Mindful of the leftovers problem that arises from a whole turkey for just two people, we settled for a boneless turkey roast, the kind with both white and dark meat. I was surprised and pleased that the store wasn't out of these. Stuffing cubes - check. We're skipping the day-old bread, but I did get the sausage for the stuffing once John reminded me. Cranberry orange relish for me, jellied cranberry sauce for John - check. Rutabagas - check. Yams -check. Rum for John's egg nog, sparkling cranberry apple for me - check. And we got pre-made mashed potatoes and green bean casserole to cut down on the labor and dirty dishes.
Despite John's concerns to the contrary, this turned out to be the easiest and most pleasant pre-holiday grocery shopping in years and years. Oh, there were compromises - no drumsticks, no pumpkin pie - but overall we got what we needed, and even a few pleasant surprises. If this trend continues, tomorrow will help to lessen the bad feelings I've had about Thanksgiving at home, ever since that traumatic horror show of a meal with Mom back in 2002. It's about time I started to get over that.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks!