I don’t understand why people who don’t cook 364 days a year suddenly think they can cook a large meal that involves roasting a whole animal. –Matt from Biwa
The man has a good point. I was in a fun position this year; I participated in another family’s traditions, in which the day’s schedule, alcohol list, recipes and soundtrack were (nearly) completely determined more than a decade ago.
So what’s a decent chef or excellent amateur cook to do? Stay the fuck out of the way? Try to be helpful? Well, my friends, I figured it out:
Tasting&Complaining’s Rules for Attending (Other peoples’) Thanksgiving Traditions (RATT):
- Offer to do all the prep work, to their specifications.
Reason: They get to start drinking early and admire your knife skills. You get to stay busy, thus not suspiciously silent. Also, you don’t start drinking early.
- Watch them cook per their traditions, stay out of the way, ask questions and compliment their recipes.
Reason: Practice with me:
“Wow, I didn’t think a recipe so simple would be so delicious!”
“French’s Onions make everything better.”
“Ok Uncle Trent, I’ll man the Fire Extinguisher while you fry that Turkey.”
“This pie is fantastic! did you make it? (only useful if you can see the Sarah Lee box from your seat)”
- Offer to prepare the Brussels Sprouts.
- Offer to clear the table.