written by: Rebecca Murray
Thanksgiving is by far the best holiday in my book. There is no other holiday solely devoted to food and I guess, to being thankful too. It brings joy to me that I can stuff my face and be celebrated for it. I am honestly a food lover at heart, contrary to my slim and slender figure and obsession with fitness. But for those who have known me forever, know the truth-Becky Murray is an eating machine. I have been shocking people with my eating abilities since I was just a baby. In my mother’s absurdly organized photo albums you can find the classic photo of me covered head to toe in birthday cake on my first birthday. And to this day, my wild eating habits can be witness, lets take the cafeteria for example. After I finish my own lunch consisting usually of PB&J, grapes, Pringles, and my all sacred staple, a Little Debbie Honey Bun, I scrounge the table like a coyote looking for scraps. I am not a fan of wasting food, so I offer to eat anyone’s leftovers, and most of my friends at the lunch table willingly throw me over whatever they can’t finish. But then there’s my friend Ryan. He will make a little pile of crumbs in front of me and obnoxiously yell, “Eat it up Chub Chubs!” This comment may seem mean to an outsider but I am truly okay with it. I was dubbed Chub Chubs by Ryan our freshman year due to my eating habits, and it has proudly stuck with me throughout high school.
I feel like there is an art to eating, especially when it comes to such a grand feast like Thanksgiving. To fully appreciate the grandeur of the meal, I feel like I must fast all day until it is served. It is quite a difficult task, especially in my one story house, where the aroma of turkey is unavoidable where ever you go. So to distract myself from my longing hunger, I busy myself in the kitchen with my mom, my aunt, and my cousin, Caity. The kitchen is a crazy place to be when my mom and aunt are cooking. Though they will not admit it, these two sisters are crazily competitive when it comes to cooking. These are the kind of sisters who watch the Food Network religiously and discuss recipes like they were politics. My mom and aunt have honestly been planning for Thanksgiving since our annual up north trip in August, so this meal is obviously a big deal to them. In the kitchen, Caity and I are left cutting buns, fruit, and other miscellaneous items, while the big ticket dishes are left up to the moms. We stand aside with our assigned mistake-proof cooking tasks and watch this cooking battle royale unfold. My mom is standing front and center at the oven, tending to the turkey. She repeatedly opens the oven, whips out her high-tech thermometer, pokes it in the turkey, and adjusts the oven’s temperature as needed, each time letting out a burst of the turkey’s scent, enough to make my mouth water. In the opposite corner, my aunt looms over the counter, preparing her asparagus wraps, a newcomer to the Thanksgiving scene, replacing a crowd favorite, the green bean casserole. Though I was sad to hear the green bean casserole was being replaced, I was anxious to taste my aunt’s new concoction. As I watch this cooking battle I find my hunger growing, and realize that I was on the brink of breaking my fast. I grew especially weak once I start cutting the strawberries for the fruit salad, and I unconsciously found myself popping pieces into mouth, until I was caught by my aunt who scared me from behind as I was putting another slice into my mouth.
A few more hours of this agony and it was finally time to eat. I find myself at the front of the line, plate in hand, feeling like I’m at the starting line of a cross country race. On your marks, get set, GO! I automatically grab the juiciest looking pieces of turkey, covered with the most skin, and move on to the rest of the dishes, giving each an equal opportunity on my plate. After cramming all 12 separate dishes on my plate like it was an art form, I set it on the dining room table. Before I sat down, I literally stood there in awe, gazing upon my plate. For some reason I found it to be beautiful and like one of my finished paintings, I took a picture of it, which Caity found to be strange, quite understandable. Soon my plate was no longer beautiful as it was demolished and replenished several times. Finally, on my last helping of stuffing I found myself reaching my limit and had to retire. I took a nap with Caity and we woke to find our moms still battling it out in the kitchen. It was dessert time and this would be the tie breaker in the match. My aunt made the first moved with a classic that could do no wrong, the pumpkin pie. My mom with a mischievous look in her eye, returned the attack by removing 8 crème brulees from the refrigerator. She topped each with sugar and then retreated to the basement without a word. I did not really notice her disappearance, as I was already attacking my slice of pie. My mom soon returned to the table, revealing a blow torch from behind her back. She started it up like pro, throwing flames over the ramekins filled with crème brulee deliciousness. I watch with excitement as the sugar melted into a boiling layer of caramel, filling the room with a scent comparative to a roasted marshmallow. Me, being the spoiled food loving brat that I am, called the first one that was finished. I impatiently grabbed the ramekin and cracked open the crystallized layer of caramel, tasting the creamy, smooth, richness hidden below.
Finally, the Thanksgiving food brawl came to an end. Though my aunt put up quite a fight, my mom’s crème brulee won the competition, hands down. But I honestly did not care who the winner was, I was just thankful for my talented family, who can be strange at times, but can create the best food I have ever tasted. And to a food lover like me, that’s all that matters.