Holiday cooking falls on me. Unfortunately, kitchen tools are a bit out of my brothers’ league. If the utensil selection doesn’t involve a chainsaw or a power tool they wouldn’t know what to do with it. Sometimes I dread being the Kenmore Lone Ranger. Four burners, two ovens, plus a microwave—that’s a lot of territory for one chef. My mother’s been gone for over twenty years and none of my three brothers are married. I suppose they would contribute if I asked, but in my book, chips and salsa don’t qualify as Thanksgiving fare.
This year, however, turned out to be an exception. My brother Bruce, (the one who is a tree trimmer) brought over a rib roast that he smoked. During his debut performance with my electric carving knife, he commented, “This is cool. It’s kind of like using a mini-chainsaw.”
Bruce is an outdoorsman extraordinaire. He doesn’t have a stove in his kitchen, but he has an outdoor smoking station. I’m sure there’s a good redneck joke there, but I’ll refrain—he’s my brother. Now some things are good smoked, but this charring champion tends to go overboard. He barbecues everything, even normal foods that are not meant to be roasted. Anything that can be wrapped in foil is fair game for Bruce’s patio chimney.
I was stirring the gravy when the grilling crusader thrust a nut jar in my face. “Here, Christy. Have a nut,” he insisted.
I had tried his charbroiled pecans last summer. Those pecans were so seared, there was no trace of nut left. Could have been carbonized acorns for all I knew.
“Not right now. Thanks, Bruce.”
Garrett wasn’t so lucky. “Here, Garrett, try one,” he beamed.
Before it met his lips, the smoke stench told Garrett he was in trouble—but it was too late. Bruce’s gaze was fixed on his reaction.
“Mmm,” Garrett managed to mutter. But as soon as Bruce left the room, Garrett ran for the Kool-Aid to wash down the smoke.
Naturally, I was hesitant about sampling the experimental roast. But I gotta hand it to him. The guy with the primal palette pulled it off. The rib roast was an award-winning dish.
Sitting around the table with the spread of turkey, ham, roast and all the trimmings, plus more pies than the case at Luby’s, I had to wonder about the necessity of such extravagance, not counting the twenty four hours I had camped out in the kitchen.
The Lord must have known my concern. The day before I was randomly reading in the book of Esther. After the Jews were delivered from Haman’s evil plot, Mordecai called the entire nation to celebrate annually with days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. Even centuries ago, days were set aside to celebrate and reflect on God’s goodness. The Jews still celebrate the feast of Purim today.
Thanksgiving is not just a tradition that pleases man. God delights when we gather together as families to give thanks. In fact he often commanded His people to observe days of feasting. Feasting and celebration unites us in remembrance of God’s faithfulness. So this year, I finally decided to lay aside my dread of holiday meal preparations, but I did make another resolution as well—my brothers are helping in the kitchen from now on. In fact, I’m gonna ask my car crazy brother, Flip, to bring Crème Brule for Christmas. After all, I’m sure he has a decent blow torch in his tool chest.
Back Row (from left to right): My youngest brother Joe, the hair stylist, my husband John, me, my brother Bruce, outdoorsman extraordinaire, my oldest brother John, the car fanatic. John’s middle name is Philip, so I’ve always called him Flip.
Front Row (from left to right): My nephew Alex, (my brother Joe’s son), my son Garrett, and my nephew Austin, (Alex’s twin brother). No they are not identical. But besides being twins, they now have something else in common. After diner, Bruce led Austin and Alex to the Lord. Now we even have more to be thankful for!