Since being married, my wife and I have mostly gone to other family members’ houses for Thanksgivings and Christmases. In fact, I’ve always associated the Holidays with big family dinners. The two times we dined alone for the Holidays were last-minute changes where we had to stay home (here’s one of those times*). Though we enjoyed ourselves anyway, I remember having a nagging sense of missing out, or at least feeling a little guilty not being with the rest of the family.
Then comes 2020, and all the norms of togetherness go out the window. In-person visits become a thing of the past, with the exception of the rare, highly-controlled, backyard variety (with masks on!).
Hence, my wife and I spent Thanksgiving dining alone.
This was no ordinary dinner at home, let me tell you! My wife TOOK IT ON. She started planning our meal a week ago: she ordered items online, we took two shopping trips, she scoured recipes for just the right ones to use. She started cooking on Wednesday, and then yesterday she served up a “traditional”** Thanksgiving meal so delicious I haven’t stopped bragging about it (and am now writing about it).
Our plates were graced with:
- cooked game hens
- home-made cranberry sauce
- Brussel sprouts cooked in coconut oil and flavored with lemon
- sweet potatoes with brown sugar
- home-made cornbread stuffing
- home-made gluten-free rolls***
- home-made cheesecake
Oh happy day.
The food was delicious. The energy and care with which my wife took on creating our little meal was inspired. It might have been just us two, but it felt special nonetheless.
Everything was quite calm and comparably effortless overall. Before our meal, I helped with the dishes and minor sous chef duties, so my wife had the support she needed. There was minimal fuss or extra clean up. Needless to say, we also didn’t mind not having to drive for three or four hours to reach family.
As for me, I prepared for optimal feast enjoyment by running eight miles yesterday morning then, after a nice breakfast, mostly fasting for the rest of the day.
We got dressed up all spiffy for the occasion, sat down and enjoyed a meal that was filled just as much with love as it was with delicious food. We didn’t talk to a single other soul all day long, yet there seemed to be nothing we were missing.
Sure, there is something special about being with lots of people you love for a nice Holiday meal. But there can be something equally special about a simple, home-cooked dinner for two.
What can I say? It was, indeed, our perfect little Thanksgiving at home 🙂
*Back in 2018, when meeting virtually was merely an interesting alternative (rather than the only way) for us to have Thanksgiving with the rest of the family. Those were the days.
**I say “traditional,” but indeed the meal benefited from new-fangled gadgets like our Instant Pot. Also, it was completely gluten-free and sugar-free (though still sweet when appropriate, thanks to sugar substitutes!).
***These were, believe it or not, amazing.