Be Grateful & Thankful – Kiss the Cook

Always learning and growing. I had a moment of clarity.

As a kid, I hated leftovers for more than two days. In my mind, I thought my mom was being lazy. Why couldn’t she cook a new meal every day? June Cleaver did! To be fair, my mom is a great cook. It was not unusual for us to come home from school and find homemade donuts or fresh baked bread. However, leftovers after two days never appealed to me. Fortunately, when it came to food, my father was appreciative of a good cook. He loved leftovers. In his mind, it was a sign you’d never go hungry. And it wasn’t like mom just reheated the same thing. She gussied it up. But when you have a picky eater (aka me) nothing is ever right. Not until I was an adult and had my nieces and nephews stay over for a few days (probably was spring break) did I appreciate the beauty of leftovers. My nieces and nephews have very healthy appetites and active metabolisms. After my close encounter with being in a kitchen morning noon and evening, I finally thanked my mom for being a great cook and putting up with my pouting over dinner choices.

Now I am prepping for my first Thanksgiving dinner by myself. I am not going home. Typically my sisters and I split up cooking duties. This year I am going solo preparing a full dinner for four. Confession: I am already tired! Every weekend this month, I have prepped side dishes and have them in the freezer. I made enough collard greens for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are in ziploc freezer bags. I made the cornbread for the dressing and it is in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Macaroni and cheese is in the freezer. The other little stuff is bothering me. Getting the right spices. I never made homemade rolls or pies. The thought of yeast gives me visions of an exploding dough. My sister made the sweet potato pies. She sent me the recipe and instructions. I’m worn out looking at all the recipes. Do I make homemade oatmeal molasses rolls or popovers?

It took forever to find the “right” bourbon for the sugar steak. I’m taking the beef roast to a new level. To help ease my increasing anxiety, my guy decided that a bourbon tasting would be in order. That was fun! So I picked the right bourbon for the sugar steak and fudgy bourbon balls. Now I have to pick up a turkey. I hope they have a 10 lb one. I’m not a big fan of turkey so I also have to get ingredients for post dinner turkey recipes. Martha Stewart’s turkey curry is on my list. Just need to find the curry sauce.

Making the homemade cranberry sauce seems easy enough. However, the baking is causing me much concern. Baking is not cooking. Cooking you can fudge or correct a mistake. Baking is a science, too much or too little and the whole thing is lost.

Now I understand why mothers cooking Thanksgiving Dinner look so tired and not like it was a holiday. Heck, for them it isn’t. It’s a nonstop cooking competition and no prize except smiling faces of overstuffed now gaseous loved ones. That’s the thanks a mother gets – smiles, farts, and questions as to why there isn’t more food. Not to mention the mad rush to Black Friday to get gifts for everyone. At least I’m done Christmas shopping. Just writing this has me longing for a spa – soft sounds of water, foot reflexology, a mani-pedi – now that’s something to be thankful for.

Bottom line – kiss the cook, bring a gift for the cook (that doesn’t require the cook to cook), let the cook eat before asking for second servings and prevent others from waking the cook once she’s finally dozed off.

Friday night – me, the oven, and Easy Off. How sexy is that! Now I understand why my Granny put aluminum foil on the bottom of her oven – to prevent spills from getting caked on the oven and smelling like an inferno causing the smoke alarm to go off. New wish list – self cleaning oven!


Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.