QUESTION: Who can we get to peel the potatoes?
WHAT I LEARNED: Potato peels are nothing to fool around with.
This is the last Thanksgiving and Christmas that we will be celebrating with both the kids still living at home.
At the turn of the year, my daughter will be moving out of state for her new job. I will miss her so much but I am excited for her too. This isn’t her first move away from home. She lived out of state for grad school so I’ve had some experience with this. Nevertheless, I’m steeling myself for her departure as best I can as I know this is the big one, the last one, as she heads out for good. I know not having her around on a daily basis will be a bit traumatic for me.
My daughter is the person who likes all the same things I do. She is the person who is always up for a good talk. Everything is fun with her – shopping, watching TV, eating her delicious cooking, watching her many crafting projects take shape, traveling together. I guess we’ll have to find ways to share some of that fun long distance.
My son will still be home so that will lift my spirits. My son is the kid I can watch the Search for Bigfoot and Grim episodes with. He’s the kid who can talk to me about politics. He was able to explain the ins-and-outs of World of Warcraft to his clueless mom. He has a great business mind and an enterprising spirit that’s very inspiring. When his sister’s birthday came up, he remembered she mentioned wanting a chaise lounge. He decided to barter for one. And he made it happen. I could never do that. I'm very impressed.
Both my kids love traditions and the holidays. My son is the kid who makes sure we have a pumpkin on our doorstep at Halloween. He’s the kid I can count on to make sure his dad doesn’t dodge the annual festooning of Christmas lights on all the available greenery in the front yard. My daughter is the one who cooks up a storm, helps decorate around the house, and wraps everything in sight.
And I am thankful for all of this. Which brings me back to Thanksgiving.
We like a cozy Thanksgiving. We have our menu which we play around with each year. This year it included: roast turkey with a cranberry glaze, potato bread dressing muffins, layered potato and sweet potato bake, rutabagas (old school favorite of my mom’s), rolls, cranberry sauce, green and black olives, and pumpkin pie.
There was a lot of vegetable peeling to be done – a big bag of Yukon gold potatoes, three pounds of sweet potatoes, and 2 rutabagas. My son stepped up to that chore with good grace. I wasn’t supervising him. I was lazing around thinking how nice it was to have a four day weekend, how good the turkey smelled, and how I was actually getting to sit down and relax for a few minutes before I initiated a flurry of side dish cooking.
I was kidding myself.
Yes, the flurry of side dish cooking was going to happen but not before the great potato peel adventure was put to rest.
That would take a while.
I could have intervened and stopped the great potato peel adventure if I had thought about how my son would solve the problem of a sink full of potato peels before he even started on the project. I wasn’t thinking about potato peeling instruction though. I was thinking about how lucky I was to have someone in there doing all that work instead of me.
Probably, it was a little too late to intervene anyway by the time I heard the first loud whirls of the garbage disposal and the standard brother sister arguments floating from the kitchen about how potato peels and disposals ought to be managed. Still, it really didn’t hit me just how much trouble we were in until the increasingly strident grinding of the garbage disposal filled the room.
I dragged myself up from my comfy seat on the sofa and headed into the kitchen. The sink was filled with a floating concoction of water, sweet potato peels, regular potato peels, and the waxy-covered rutabaga peels. There were a lot of peels. The garbage disposal was being turned on and off but nothing was going down the drain.
Emergency. Our Thanksgiving dinner was in peril or at least at risk for being seriously delayed.
We brought in the special forces – my husband with a plunger.
All cooking plans were set aside so that my husband and son could wage war with the disposal. Plungers were wielded. A snaky thing appeared. And wrenches. Hungry men crawled under the sink. Instructions were barked. Schedules were torn asunder. A few prayers were said. The patience of all was tested.
After a mighty effort, the disposal did its job. The peels were vanquished. The disposal warriors went back to football. The holiday cooks (my daughter and I) re-entered the kitchen with new urgency.
Dinner was going to be late. But we all learned a valuable lesson about the proper disposal of potato peels and increasing our basic kitchen skills.