Updated 2010-11-26 16:33:20 ID=634:0

© 2010 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, Susan McGourty's Table Talk, a California Central Coast Lifestyle blog. 2011-06-09 16:33:16:80
©2008 The Romantic Table

Susan McGourty's Table Talk

Surviving the Holidays

Our family's Thanksgiving get-together went more smoothly than years past. Was it just a fluke or a trend of better things to come?

Both my husband and I approached this year's Thanksgiving with a tad of caution because we were doing a lot of cooking in our new kitchen's appliances for the first time. This was the first time that I had used my new ovens to bake my pumpkin pies as well as for roasting a turkey so not only did I "hold my breath" but also "knocked on a lot of wood", anticipating the worst.

But luckily I was pretty pleased with the results.---There was definitely room for improvement though as we weren't very happy with the pies' bottom crusts. It's going to take a little more experimenting to figure out just how to set the oven to get nice flaky crust bottoms.

Reflecting back over the past few days, I realized the reason that everything went so smoothly was that I had pretty much given up control of the situation and resigned myself to "what will be--will be!"

Normally I'm like a kid the night before Christmas, can't sleep - and worrying about all the potential pitfalls. Not this time! Between getting over a pinched nerve in the neck and having too much to get caught up in, making dinner for our family's relatives was the LEAST of my worries. So I took each moment one at a time without too much angst. -- Maybe I'm finally "growing up!"

With Thanksgiving just past, it's now a mad dash to "manage" Christmas and New Years. Again I'm going to just stay focused and not go overboard keeping up on some imaginary timetable. Especially this year with my husband scheduled for Jury Duty the week before Christmas in San Luis Obispo, setting a celebration schedule would be pure folly!

Staying "PUT" this year sounds good --as well as economically smart. -Money is tight for all of us and we're all doing more of our own maintenance and work ourselves.

Stay "PUT" reminds me of when I was little. After my mom died when I was nine and I was living with my grandparents, my father (who had remarried a few years later) on Christmas Eve would have me visit his parents at their house with him, leaving the grandparents that were raising me alone. Then on Christmas Day I'd have to go celebrate over at his new family's house -again leaving the people that were raising me behind. I hated that!!!

It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I put my foot down and didn't relent! That last Christmas I spent with my maternal grandparents I stayed "PUT!" We sang Christmas carols around the piano, we savored the little things in life that meant a lot to us and just thoroughly enjoyed each other without having to watch the clock "to go somewhere."

Thank God I DID get to enjoy Christmas with the people that meant the most to me. The following Christmas, my Nana was dead and a year and a half later, so was my grandfather.

Sometimes slowing down and not keeping to a social calendar is smart. Take stock and spend the time with those that really matter. Life is too short trying to adhere to rituals set by others.





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A tip from Sue!

Sauteing whole garlic

If your recipe calls for whole garlic, it doesn't burn as easily when in larger pieces. But you do need to score your garlic cloves all over in order to release the garlic juices and fragrance .Always be careful to avoid burning the cloves. It'll make the garlic cloves bitter and ruin what you're cooking.