Chapter One: Melanie’s Story
It had begun, the frantic whirlwind in the kitchen hours before guests arrived for our yearly “orphans thanksgiving”. Since most of us are transplants still reeling from paying back our student loans – we have no family in town and are too broke to go home – my roommate and I host this orphans thanksgiving for friends. This year we decided to provide the entire meal and our guests only needed to come with empty bellies (and possibly some wine!). We had compiled a list of our friends’ favorite dishes from home and went over our shopping list twice to ensure nothing got left out. We had prepared for this moment all week and today was the day: turkey prep – check, stuffing – check, deviled eggs – check…. Onto to cranberry sauce… It is my favorite recipe, made with orange zest, a bit of crystallized ginger and the secret ingredient, champagne!! The simmering cranberry sauce made the whole house smell so delicious, and as I carefully transport the hot concoction to the blender I make sure not to lose a single drop. However, after pulsing and chopping the hot cranberry sauce I remove the blender and somehow the bottom disengages – the sauce begins to pour out from the bottom of the blender, covering my hands, the counter, and the blender in scalding hot red goopy (but delicious smelling) sauce! Oh no. There cannot be thanksgiving without the cranberry sauce, and there is no backup bag of cranberries. So, day of thanksgiving, three hours before our guests arrive I run to the store to get more cranberries – it has to happen. Third time is the charm, as the first two stores I tried to go to were already closed for the day! Luckily in the final shop the first thing I see is a mountain made of bags of cranberries – such a glorious sight as I feared I would be serving canned cranberry sauce! I grab two bags, just in case, and head to the cashier. Slightly frantic from all the running around, I offer the cashier my card to pay when she looks at me and says with a grin, “happy thanksgiving”. I smile back, take a minute and repeat back “happy thanksgiving to you, too”.