Thursday is Thanksgiving and I have to say I am thankful I am not hosting it. It’s not because I don’t love hosting a family gathering. I revel in having everyone gather at my house for an event.
For me, the anxiety is centered on making the turkey. I have almost completely resolved my issues with touching raw poultry (a post for another time), but I am not yet confident in successfully making the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal.
However, I do take great pride in my contribution to the Thanksgiving meal: side dishes and appetizers, but desserts are my favorite due to their special meaning.
Every year, I make a coconut cream pie. I prepare the same cook-and-serve vanilla pudding not only because it tastes better than instant pudding, but I feel like I really made something complicated by standing over the stove and stirring it for fifteen minutes. I carefully roll out the premade pie dough (I have to draw the culinary line somewhere, right?), and I lovingly pour the decadent pudding with bits of flaky coconut into the pastry shell to become our traditional dessert.
Although coconut cream pie may seem like an untraditional choice for Thanksgiving dessert, for me, it isn’t Thanksgiving without it. Until recently, I despised pumpkin pie (and still loath apple pie) and instead of having no dessert after I begrudgingly ate my dinner as a child, my mom thoughtfully made me a coconut cream pie.
My kids aren’t pie people at all. In fact, if given a choice between pie for dessert or nothing at all, I believe they would choose nothing. Instead of forcing them into pie, I have begun making them chocolate chips cookies for dessert.
This year, I am also making a gluten-free dessert inspired by my current obsession, Pinterest. My aunt has to follow a gluten-free diet, and although she could scoop the pie goodness away from the evil, gluten-laden crust, that just seems cruel.
To me, food is more than just food. Food has the power to show our love and demonstrate our acceptance for an individual’s preference. I am grateful that my mom validated my individuality by making me a coconut cream pie, and I feel honored to do the same for my children and loved ones.
Is sometimes food more than just food? Is there a Thanksgiving dish that has special meaning for you?