Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Relax, Don't Put Pressure on the Cook

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Relax, Don't Put Pressure on the Cook

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Macdonald, Times-Union food editor

If you have the time this morning to read this column, I can assume one of two things: Either you are a veteran Thanksgiving cook and you have this whole meal under control, or you aren't cooking and you have all morning to read the newspaper.

Oddly enough, this column is for the person too busy to read it -- the frantic once-a-year cook who feels it's his or her responsibility to put on a feast for family, friends and their brother's girlfriend who no one in the family really likes in the first place.

If you know of such a person, take a little time to assure them this meal isn't that big a deal.

Think about it realistically -- hours of work and preparation will go into a meal that will be scarfed down in less than 20 minutes. Put that way, the panic hardly seems worth the bother.

Actually, what makes Thanksgiving dinner different from any other is all those bodies in the kitchen. Everyone wants to help.

Some cooks welcome the company. I marvel at my sister Barbara this time of year when she has our mom, her mother-in-law, my other sister, an aunt or two and a couple of friends all bopping about her kitchen. They are yakking away and moving about in some kind of culinary ballet.

Other cooks are overwhelmed by too many bodies in the kitchen. I'm in this category. When I'm in charge of a big meal, I have a master plan, and it doesn't involve any distractions. The entire meal is planned on a legal pad with a time line detailing when each item needs to go into the oven or be removed from the stove top or get warmed in the microwave.

Whenever my mother-in-law offers to help me, I proclaim, "Out of my kitchen, woman," with a broad, sweeping point of my finger.

My meal is no better than the meal by committee and to be honest, I know the ladies have a much more enjoyable time in their cooking clutch than I do in my fortress of solitude. …

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