About that roast...

Wednesday November 24, 2010


You have to understand that food is very important to our family. It’s kind of a love language – I love to give it and they love to receive.

Much has happened around our dinner table over the years, and eating together is almost a rite for us. I firmly believe what I wrote on Monday. For me, there’s nothing like cooking for boys who say, “Oh, Mom, this is great” or “You made my favorite – I must be the favorite” or, as they leave the table, “Thanks, Mom. That was awesome.”

If you’ve ever cooked for an appreciative crowd, you know what I mean. It’s a joy.

With that background, you can understand how I set out with relish (pun intended) to plan Thanksgiving week meals.

We’ll only be blessed with two of the four boys this week. We’re having to share the married one this holiday and the California boy has work conflicts. But these two have been eating college food, so I know this will definitely be an appreciative crowd. (And oh yes – one of the boys has a friend who is far from home this holiday, so he’s coming here. “What’s one more boy?” I say.)

I plan a nice lasagna for the first night they’re home. Next comes the bird with all the trimmings. That will be followed up with the traditional roast, which they love. (Beef Bourginon is a close second, so I may let them choose on that one.) Saturday will be Chicken Cacciatore, and we’ll grill burgers after church on Sunday. I visit the grocery store and stock up, ready for the week.

The phone rings. “Mom, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you. My friend who’s coming? He’s a vegetarian.”

Oh, my. The gusto drops out of my menu plans. I love cooking for my crowd, and now, suddenly, what I’m cooking is not for our guest. Instead, I’m scrambling to make sure my side dishes – usually somewhat of an afterthought – are special enough.

Does this really happen?

I quickly text the California boy, our newly-proclaimed vegan. (Yes, I’m already wondering about him and the Christmas meals at my oh-so-traditional mom’s house.) “Call me. I have a question for you.”

Curious about my text, he calls and I explain the situation, ending with, “Matthew, what do I do?”

“Okay, Mom,” he says in a calming tone. “First you have to find out if he’s vegan or vegetarian. If he does dairy, it’s going to be easier.” Happy to help Mom, he tells me what to ask and vows to do some research for me.

Another text, and I find out the guest is a vegetarian who eats dairy, eggs, and fish. A little sigh of relief. The desserts are still good, breakfast will work, and the gallon of whole milk will easily be consumed.

But I must admit, I’m writing this at 3 AM on Tuesday morning. I awakened with visions of broccoli, squash, wild rice, and beans dancing in my head and I can’t get back to sleep. In the morning, I’ll dive back into my cookbook, parsing all those recipes in search of more tasty side dishes.

And I’ll be looking for some kind of meat substitute – something, maybe, to use in that cacciatore for our guest? I’ve already decided to buy a veggie burger to grill.

Just not sure yet what to do about that roast.

Gratitude here? Oh yes, eventually – after the initial shock. After all, it’s a bit of a challenge, and I’m all for learning and growing. My California boy is getting a kick out of helping Mom along on this one. And I just may find a new favorite recipe or two for all of us.

6 comments:

Heidiopia said...

Good luck, Laura! You'll enjoy having a houseful at least. :) Happy Thanksgiving!

Laura said...

Laura,
I might stop by your house this holiday! Wow, it sounds like you really know how to feast in your family--on food and love. Happy Thanksgiving, friend. May it be abundantly blessed.

Melissa said...

Everything sounds delicious! I admire your resilience!

Can you substitute eggplant in the cacciatore?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Clella said...

Oh Laura I'm sorry but I love this story!!! You will be such a wonderful hostess and I know this young man will be blessed at your home. Blessings for a wonderful Thanksgiving. Clella

Lisa notes... said...

I'm sure you've already come up with some great vegetarian dishes by now. I have a niece who has gone that direction, and it is difficult for the cook, but she is very gracious to eat all around the meat dish and enjoy the side dishes instead. I'm sure your friend will be blessed at your table. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Karen said...

Wow, that is a big shift in food plans. You could do veggie lasagna, and ......hey that's all I know. You had me at the beef, love it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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