I’m a tryptophan-atic

Editor’s note: this is not to brag, boast, or show off—I merely want to share the trials and tribulations that occurred over the weekend of Thanksgiving. I want to give thanks to the three dinners I was involved in, and the familiar familial farces.

Day one: Saturday

After moving my immediate family’s Thanksgiving to Monday, I learn that my partner’s family has also scheduled theirs for the same day. Much to my delight, my schedule now includes a “linner” at 1 p.m., and my family’s dinner at 5:30 p.m.

Day two: Sunday

The day before, I am told that his mother intends to roast a turkey, simply for the leftovers. We arrive and it is already in the oven. Homemade bread is cooling and an unidentifiable squash from their garden is baking. After losing a lengthy game of Victoriaopoly―even after owning Murchies and The Royal Bank (Park Place and Boardwalk respectively), the table is set, and the supposedly “light” dinner covers every inch of our plates. We begin stuffing our faces, and a quiet beep comes from the pantry.

“The squash, Russell!” My partner’s mother exclaims. Our plates heaping, this required me to eat my current spread to make room for the mushy root veggie. The ‘rents clean and I write while we all make room for apple crisp. (The infamous pies come later).

Dinner I: Success, but only the beginning.

Day three: Monday. “Buy one, get one.”

You really cannot have a true Thanksgiving dinner without a little drama. Waiting for the cousins to arrive, we hear that they were in a small car accident. Everyone is okay, and linner I is not delayed. We pass the time before food listening to an eight year old CD my partner burned, watching his dad Russell dance to The Jackson Five. However, the two that I had yet to meet in his family, don’t come in time before we have to jet off to yet another dinner.

The upside: broccoli casserole and four pumpkin pies. Yes, four. The table conversation goes from a Walking Dead Bad Lip Reading YouTube video, to Rachel’s infamous Turkey Story, and grandma’s love for brandy. I stick to ham, not to get sick of turkey. Keeping the tryptophan overload for later.

Dinner II: Success, but it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

Day three, later.

The Barrieau Bunch is in town, scattered across Nanaimo. We arrive to my older brother and mom, in my now spotless apartment (thanks, Eve). We’ve brought homemade wine, and I go directly to the fridge to eye up the banana cream and pumpkin pies.

Around 6:30 we realize that dinner will be late, as usual, and that our original plans to use two ovens won’t be happening. My brother, who completed his degree at VIU in culinary, steps up to the plate once he sees the deterioration of dinner. The small living room/kitchen combo is alive with voices, talking over one another, my mom directing from her chair.

By 7, we are laying out the bacon-covered turkey next to the bacon-broiled brussel sprouts, placing the dinosaur salt and pepper shakers with the sitting cow butter dish. You could say we’re an eclectic family. 

We talk politics vaguely, but get really into the discussion surrounding the name of my older sister’s potential photography company. Dishes are done, and leftovers stowed away for the travelers, cream is whipped with vanilla and icing sugar for the pies that now grace the counter.

My requested banana cream with meringue a la mom is a huge hit, collecting mmms and nods from the full faces of my siblings. The Muppets’ new primetime show plays on the TV and everyone chimes in with their opinion. The Swedish Chef karaoke’s “Rappers Delight”, and kills it.

Goodbyes are given, cars are started and the night slows. By now, I don’t think I could look at another spoonful of sweet, sweet stuffing without feeling my pants get tighter.

Thanksgiving 2015 was dramatic, delicious and full of discussion. Now that it’s over, we can look forward to another favourite holiday of mine—Halloween. Take a look around; we’ve got spooky sugar facts, fun recipes, a pop culture update for those consumed by the election, and coverage of Nanaimo museum’s new “haunted” autumn tour.

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