Two days before Thanksgiving I went to the doctor for my weekly appointment. Although my blood pressure had gone down (a good thing), she wanted me to stay on modified bed rest. And then she asked me about my turkey day plans.
I hadn’t made any, because my family does dinner at my grandmother’s house in San Jose every year. Its the one time each year that my aunts from Hawaii come to town. My dad has six brothers and sisters, and I’ve got a boatload of cousins. Its kind of a big thing. But with me being 9 months pregnant and on bed rest … a 2-hour round trip wasn’t sounding relaxing or restful.
My doctor agreed. In fact, her response to my family’s tradition/plan was: You know, Whole Foods makes a FABULOUS turkey dinner. Translation: You’re an idiot and you’re not going.
My family totally understood, and one aunt promised to swing by the house on Black Friday to drop off leftovers. But that still left the actual turkey day itself: What were we going to do?
Enter Trader Joe’s. Damn, but I love that store. Did you know that the clerks will let you test the cookies before you buy them? And that at the sample counter, they keep a stash of cookies for little kids to try? Or that they don’t care if your kid eats a banana while you shop? (Some of the checkers know us and will either offer to toss the peel or give us a plastic bag to put the remainder in before they even start unloading the cart.)
But did you know that they do a riff on turkey dinners? That they sell a 1/2 turkey that you just throw in the oven for an hour? That they sell frozen mashed potatoes that actually have a GOOD texture when you microwave them to life? That although their brussels sprouts au gratin looks like a hot mess, it is actually DELICIOUS beyond belief? Or that their carton of ready-made turkey gravy is one of the best I’ve had? And even though I’m not a stuffing person, their sausage and sage stuffing? Good stuff. It even had cranberries in it.
The sides spent about 4 minutes each in the microwave before serving. The turkey spent an hour in the oven before I got to carve it. The portions were perfect — enough that the Hubbs and I could gorge in Turkey Day fashion yet still have just enough left over for soup. And although we didn’t cut into the pumpkin cheesecake until last night? That sucker was TASTY.
All that food and the only things we actually had to wash were the oven pan, our plates, silverware, and the mug with the gravy in it. Everything else went in the recycling bin.
All in all? It was a quiet and tasty turkey day. And although I missed seeing the rest of my family, it was really nice to just relax at home all day.