How a cook spends thanksgiving

With all the menu’s posted online documenting the extensive tables bloggers are setting for thanksgiving, I thought I’d share how most cooks will spend the holiday.

They will most likely spend the time working a grueling shift wednesday to acomodate all the people with extra family and friends in town, and go in early friday to do the same thing.

This leaves us with thanksgiving off usually. If any of us have family or friends close by, we drag our tired butts over for dinner, hopefully with enough time to enjoy ourselves. Maybe even with enough time and energy to shop for ingredients and cook a little something. The rest hang out with eachother and a few bottles of wine.

Much of my family requires a 6 hour drive, so like so many years in a row, I am taking the little time I have, rushing as fast as one can in thanksgiving traffic. Often I am late, or just in time for dinner. I eat, and then I pass out cold. I visit a little, and get back in the car to make it home for my next shift.

I am not saying this because I want pity, or anything like that. It comes after hearing countless comments like, “ooh, I wish I was at your thanksgiving, I’ll bet the food is so amazing.” Or even, “your family must get so many great desserts.”

The truth is, my family barely gets me. And it goes for most cooks. We work when you play, which means evenings, weekends, and holidays.

I dream of all the pies I would make for my family. The huge table I would set with room for my family and friends. The days I would prepare to make an amazing meal. The turkey I would brine, the side dishes familiar and new, the ooh’s and ahh’s and smiles I would give. Then the kitchen timer goes off, unrelenting in it’s reality, and I am pulled back into my daily schedule of cooking for customers instead.


2 Responses to “How a cook spends thanksgiving”

  1. kayenne says:

    i sympathize. been there, done that. i must be crazy to be considering and hoping to be in that position again – but, isn’t that what we live for – when at the end of the day, we think back with a smile when we recall that almost every meal sent out went off without a hitch? but missing holidays with family really do suck.

  2. Laurie says:

    Dana, I hope you got to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with your family.

    Over the weekend I was reading a new issue of Seattle magazine and said, “Hey, there’s Dana in the restaurant column!” reporting on your new job at Veil.

    Then I put down the magazine, and started flipping through Bourdain’s new book, No Reservations. “Hey, look, there’s Dana in the book!” Not identified by name, but anyone who knows you (or Gabe, Becky, or one of the other chefs) will know that the group photo near the end of the book was taken in Seattle.

    So we were thinking of you. Hope the last week of November goes well at the restaurant.

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