Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sage Advice

Thanksgiving is almost upon us.

My California daughter, Debbie, is winging her way from Santa Monica and my unofficially adopted daughter Christina is braving the elements all the way from Washington DC to help my Arizona daughter Ruth, granddaughter Izzy and me celebrate grandson Kazuki's first Thanksgiving. Izzy has been industriously producing paper turkeys (even disguised one as a ballerina) in her kindergarten class. I bet she could craft a heckuva centerpiece out of dryer lint. 

Ruth is busier than Karl Rove's spin doctors. So busy, she initially planned to find a store or restaurant that would produce a Thanksgiving dinner ready to serve. However, Debbie is severely allergic to sage, which is often used in turkey seasonings and stuffing.  Ruth’s attempts to determine whether the ready-to-serve dinners contained sage resulted in answers that ranged from, “what’s sage?” to a very unconvincing, “um ….nooooooooo?” 

I put on my Super Dad cape and dashed to her rescue.   There was still plenty of time to buy and defrost a bird and I found a fabulous sounding stuffing recipe which involved no sage.  My recipe plans were dashed when I turned on the news and discovered the Hostess Bakery which produces Twinkies, and a variety of other ridiculously named empty-calorie vessels, had ceased operations and filed bankruptcy with the intention of liquidating.  Damn the bad luck – Twinkies, an integral part of my sage-free turkey stuffing, are now an extremely hot commodity and available only on eBay. 

Mean Eileen, who is not known to be a culinary adventurist, stopped gagging and heaved a sigh of relief at the news.  She pointed out that the local newspaper's website featured a list of more than thirty area restaurants were open and serving dinner - no shopping, cooking or dishwashing.  Then she downloaded a smart-phone app which reveals how long a wait to expect at various local emergency rooms (in case some sage sneaks into Debbie's dinner).  All I had to do was get Ruth to pick one of the restaurants on the list and make a reservation.

About then, Ruth reappeared and before I could even get Mean Eileen's idea fully articulated, she had reclaimed Thanksgiving dinner and shamed me for even thinking of denying her children the opportunity to etch in their little heads the memory of their mommy desperately examining the electrical switch box to figure out why the oven stopped working and wondering aloud for the umpteen-millionth time how her mother managed fabulous holiday dinners with such ease.  

I will sit very quietly like a mouse in a cage with a boa constrictor.

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