shelley hosted thanksgiving.

I can say without reservation, hesitation, or any other -tion word that I am far more traditional than my sister. I think we can all agree with that.

Actually, my friend Karen once suggested Shelley write a parenting book about all her very UN-traditional ways of raising Lucy. No one has ever suggested I write anything like that, anything "unconventional or nontraditional". Instead, I get questions about etiquette and manners because I'm boring and safe and trust me, Shelley is not.

Shelley has, without a doubt, been my favorite person since March 29, 1986. And I think, without a doubt, that March 29th is about the last time we did something the same. Or in the same traditional manner.

We both came from Fe.

That's about the last time our lives moved in any sort of similar fashion.

This year, Shelley announced that she and Lucy would be hosting Thanksgiving Dinner. I figured having a turkey was as close to tradition as we'd come with this meal. And, God love her, I was right.

I don't think you can expect green bean casserole from someone who serves Asian Food at their daughter's first birthday party. Or crescent rolls from someone who put a yoda hat on Lucy and sends her off to her first Santa picture.

A traditional dinner was not going to happen.
A Shelley-Giving would, instead.

Shelley did decide to prepare a turkey. With a plum glaze.
For sides, we would have roasted fall vegetables, carrots and shallots cooked in pancetta, sweet potatoes cooked with banana and brown sugar, an arugula salad with roasted grapes and shallot vinaigrette, and stuffing (spinach, cashews, currants, and bacon).

With Shelley, apparently when tradition goes out the window apparently ambition fills the void.

This menu was crazy ambitious. Have a look at it again. I'd say a 5 star difficulty level with a 22 month old running in the wake. I would maybe (maybe) try one of those recipes but only on a Sunday. These are not "after work" appropriate. And all of them crammed together in one meal and one kitchen. My sister. She's nothing if not adventurous. And seriously in love with the Epicurious app on her iPhone.

I convinced Shelley to come to our place the day before to "prep" her meal. This was the real Thanksgiving Day, but Lucy was at her Dad's (and who wants to eat without angel face running around?) so Shelley came to our place for some company while she prepped. (We had our Thanksgiving on Friday when Lu was back.)

Shelley ended up needing a lot of company.
Shelley prepped her meal for a solid 5 hours. I've never done anything for 5 hours straight. Bad attention span.

I died while she destroyed my kitchen.
Not because she destroyed it, more it was the amount of food she was making and the effort involved.

I told her this is why I cook with cans.
She went back to chopping her parsnip.

Maybe that's why most everyone has green bean casserole.
Or rolls. Or cranberry sauce and yams with the little marshmallows on top.
They're easy.
Then again, anything is easier that roasting beets for an hour in olive oil and parsley.

Friday (our Thanksgiving) Shelley would need to cook it all. 5 hours of prep needed to come together in a kitchen where Lucy is King.

Shelley called in reinforcements.
Me as sous-chef.
Chuck as child wrangler.

Chuck and Lucy accidentally wore matching outfits during the day.

It didn't seem to bother them.

Shelley cooked.
And she cooked.
And she cooked.

And another 5 hours later, the most beautiful, perfect plum-glazed turkey I've ever seen came out of her oven.

That is also what I said when Lucy was born.
Except minus the plum-glazed part.

So with all the nontraditional Shelley moments we've all watched, why did it catch us off guard when Lucy came out in her Thanksgiving outfit??

I guess what's terrifying is that Shelley claims (there is no proof) that she wanted Lucy to wear the traditional girly holiday dress but Lucy wouldn't have any of it. "No MA! Pants!" Lucy picked out the outfit.

Then added her Ruby Reds to it because it hadn't gone far enough.
Like Mother, like Daughter, isn't that what they say?

After 10 hours of cooking her very nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner, Shelley was ready for us to eat. Her table isn't big enough for all that food and the counters were covered. We'd given up on "clean cooking" during hour 3 of the second day.

I would have been mortified.
Shelley was almost, no, she was extremely happy to serve her dinner from the floor.

And it would have seemed so weird to do this at my house.
At Shelley's, it kind of felt right.

And in the end, her nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner was one of the best I've ever had. I can't believe she pulled it off. I can't believe we ate on time. And I still can't believe Lucy wore a tux.

But then again, it is my sister.


  1. Your sister is AMAZING and OUTRAGEOUS!! What fun she must be.

  2. My first shout out on the blog :) Celebrity status!!!


Tell me about it. Oh and thanks for validating my life.

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