I’m So Anxious About Thanksgiving That I Made A Practice Turkey Last Week

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woman burning thanksgiving turkeyFor the first time ever, I get to host Thanksgiving dinner. Holy cow! It’s exciting, but it still feels a little weird to me – I’m 31 but somehow I still feel like I should be sitting at the kids’ table at an adult relative’s house. Does this mean I’m the adult now?! When did that happen?

The last several years have seen us visiting my husband’s aunt and uncle for Thanksgiving dinner. Now, I like to think of myself as a good cook, but when you are comparing yourself to Queen Cook of Delicious Food Mountain, well – that’s a tough act to follow. I may not be, I don’t know, Peasant Cook of I Guess We’ll Order Chinese Valley, but still, I need this to go well, which is why I made a practice turkey two weeks before Thanksgiving. Yes, I committed to spending close to a solid month eating turkey leftovers, just to make sure everything was awesome on Thanksgiving itself. Why, why, oh why did I decide to engage in what is pretty much the exact opposite of Cheatsgiving? Besides the fact that I’m more high-strung than a Stradivarius on the Eiffel Tower?

Because of my in-laws, that’s why. When my old co-workers used to have in-law complain-a-thons, or whenever I see Worst In-Laws Olympics threads start up on Facebook or message boards, I just smile. I always win these competitions, because I don’t have a reason to compete in them. See, I have the best in-laws on the planet. The actual best. (I don’t know if they read these posts, but in case they do, let me take a moment to say: Hi! Thanks for letting the terrific son you raised be stolen away by a weird, vaguely reclusive woman who promptly hustled him off to another state to live.) I have in-laws who do laundry and bring food and babysit and who have either never noticed or at least never mentioned my less than stellar housekeeping skills. My in-laws could beat up your in-laws in a fight, or at least in a team trivia competition, I think.

So I want – I need – to have a nice Thanksgiving because I have the nicest mother-in-law and father-in-law and sister-in-law in the western hemisphere. Hence the practice turkey. Because if I ruined Thanksgiving by not thawing the turkey long enough, or by overcooking it, or god forbid, by giving everyone food poisoning – they wouldn’t even say anything about it. Okay, they’d tease me some, but nicely, and it would be funny, too. And I’d probably laugh, even though I’d, you know, ruined Thanksgiving. Like a monster.

The practice turkey turned out pretty much as you’d expect: splendidly turkey-esque. The mister and I had a little confusion over how long to thaw the thing properly, but it turned out fine, because as it turns out you don’t really need two people with college degrees working in tandem to get a frozen-solid bird to turn into a thawed bird. We did run into one minor mishap: I don’t know where our gravy boat is! We served our dry-run Thanksgiving gravy in a large measuring cup, which was functional, albeit unattractive. On the whole, everything went swimmingly, although that does mean I’m now having anxiety about how you only have the best opening nights after a really rough dress rehearsal. And about another few weeks of eating turkey. Who wants to come over for drumsticks?

And don’t worry about the possibility of me ruining  Thanksgiving by not having a real gravy boat, either. Everything’s going to be okay … because my in-laws are bringing one from their house.

(Image: Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock)