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On Second Thought

Thursday, November 11, 2021
On Second Thought

Paper shame

This year my family will be eating Thanksgiving dinner on the good china, mostly because we have bad memories and don’t keep formal records.

We are getting accidentally fancy.

A long-time Hamilton family tradition has been that the person who messes up their dish the worst at the previous food-centric holiday is supposed to bring the paper plates to the next gathering. It’s our version of the walk of shame.

The problem is, since Covid began, our family hasn’t gathered in almost two years. No one can remember who screwed up last time, and it’s probably best we start with a clean slate anyways, as Mom’s Poppy pattern China hasn’t seen daylight in many moons.

Now that we’re all vaxxed up, the planning has begun. And we are one excited family, with the exception of dish duty.

My mother, bringer of the light, the Thanksgiving dressing and all things good, has not once had to provide paper plates because did I mention she provides the dressing? That’s all anyone needs to know about that.

The list of transgressions that necessitated the need for the paper plate tradition is long and hilarious. It began the year Kevin made homemade rolls for Thanksgiving and they ended up looking and acting like tiny hockey pucks because kneading is apparently Kevin’s jam. Three people and one dog were injured that year, but refused medical treatment and pledged revenge.

Then there was the year I brought the cherry cream cheese pie, without the cherries. This is a cardinal sin in my family, and I had to do the Hamilton walk of shame at the next family get together, walking through the gauntlet with my paper offerings.

Or, the year my niece brought broccoli rice casserole with a dryer sheet at the bottom of the dish as the secret spice. That was over a decade ago and I can still taste it when I think about it.

Everyone seems to have amnesia about their mess ups because I polled the family and these three incidents were the only ones any of us would admit to or remember intentionally.

The odds are probably in my favor to pick out the Chinet pattern for Easter 2023, as I’m bringing the only cranberry sauce (salad, whatever) I have ever eaten that I liked, and for some reason I am craving it. My Mom gave me Kathy Hicks’ recipe and that will be my culinary masterpiece this year - God and pilgrims willing.

I suspect there will some new arbitrary rule this year to determine who will wash all those dishes we aren’t used to having in the sink.