For years we've had a holiday tradition in this two person household. We alternate who prepares the holiday meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Even with two it can be quite a chore. Maybe even more so than for those who gather with family that provide extra hands. We've always managed rather nicely though the more elaborate the dinners became, in a competition we'd deny, one person doing the duties was difficult at best. Especially when it came to getting everything to come out on time. When it was Hub's turn I'd insinuate myself into the process to help do the dishes and utensils used in prep work to save a horrendous mess at the end.
As we've aged and slowed a bit, or had lapses in memory as to where the heck we left the blasted potholders, we talked about changing the rules. One could plan the menu but we would both help with the cooking. It had gone no further than talk until yesterday.
Being my usual generous self, I told Hub to call me if he needed help, fully expecting to settle in on the couch awaiting his feast. I heard maybe 30 seconds of grumbling before he called out, "Here, you can make this dish!" Surprised, I went to see what my chore was to be. The vegetable dish. It was a brussels sprout and butternut squash combination with a vinegrette dressing.
I looked around for the dishes with the prepped veggies, herbs, etc. He handed me a plastic bag full of sprouts and the squash. "Here." Chopped herbs? Measured vinegar, mustard? "The vinegar is in the pantry, the mustard is in the fridge." Okay. We definitely were not on the same playing field!
"How long does it have to bake?" "I don't know! I'm reading the recipe!" I caught myself short of getting short. After all it was Thanksgiving.
Okay, I had to prep the sprouts, par boil them and put them in an ice water rinse. I had to peel, seed and dice the squash, par boil it and put it in an ice water rinse. Fry bacon. Saute shallots, Chop herbs. Make the vinegrette. "Baking time?" "It doesn't have to be baked but I need to time it with what you're doing!"
Let's look at this. The turkey was in the oven. The stuffing was in the oven. We had finished with the appetizers and cleaned up those dishes. We eat in shifts you see. Helps the stomach settle between courses. The dessert was prepared and waiting in the refrigerator.
All he had left was to mash the potatoes and make the gravey! Of course he decided the potatoes had to be peeled at the same time I had to peel the squash. " Where the heck is that peeler!" "We have two. It's in the drawer."
The wonder of it all is everything finished exactly as it was supposed to and was one of the best dinners we've ever put together!
As we finished eating and were sipping the last of the wine I commented on how our kitchen isn't exactly designed for two people working together smoothly without planning. We were constantly tripping over one another. Hub said, "Yeah. When you give me my assignment for Christmas I'm going to make my little corner of the kitchen off limits and have everything I need right there!"
Want to bet? Oh, he'll have his assignment, all right, but if he thinks I'm going to make it easy on him, I'll have to remind him of my inner Grinch!
Oh heck, I probably won't. It wouldn't be in the spirit of the holiday. I just could have used a little forewarning on the changing of the tradition! And when it comes right down to it, tripping all over one another was rather fun and the dinner a mutual triumph! Who needs competition?