Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Etiquette Dilemmas

If Thanksgiving Day is here, can etiquette dilemmas be far behind? Here are two challenging scenarios and how a Grace would handle them.....

It's noon on TG. The turkey is still in the sink. It's still frozen. You have twelve people arriving at 4:00.

First of all, Remain Calm. No situation ever improves with panic or loss of temper. One way to expedite the thawing process is to put the frozen bird into a large sink or tub and run cold water over it. This is not instantaneous, and your dinner will still be delayed, but it will speed things up. If that's insufficient, or your guests have planes to catch, make some phone calls--most towns have a few reputable take-out food purveyors and you might get lucky and locate an unclaimed turkey, even at this late hour. Whole Foods, gourmet grocers, caterers, the local deli, even Boston Market might rescue you. You can also try restaurants and hotels. Anyplace that is vaguely American or Continental is serving turkey today and might just sell you one--for a price. If that fails, head to the grocery store--most are open for at least part of the day. You can pick up a few turkey breasts (not frozen!) and turkey legs, and roast them the same way you intended to roast the iceberg currently not thawing in your kitchen sink--but much, much faster. Alternatively, Chinese takeout is a viable option. No matter what route you choose, keep your sense of humor and hold your head high. These things happen, even to Graces, and what separates us from the Grunts is how we handle them.

Here are some more troubleshooting turkey tips:

Your adult brother and sister aren't speaking (really not speaking, like one walks out of the room when the other appears), but are both coming to family TG.

Ain't families grand? As a host, it is well within your scope to require civility from guests, particularly those related to you by blood. Call the siblings ahead of time. Express understanding and empathy (even if it's manufactured) for their respective positions. Then ask (firmly) that they suspend their hostility for the day in the spirit of Thanksgiving and for the comfort and ease of their fellow guests. They don't have to be teammates--or worse, opponents--in the family touch football game. (Under the circs, it might be best to bench them both.) They should be required to summon up a small degree of civility. Call the more reasonable of the warring parties. Tell him/her: "I am getting ready to call Bro/Sis to demand that (s)he behave at my Thanksgiving table; will you agree to a 24 hour cease-fire?" Make the same call to the other one, hopefully with the ability to say "I have already spoken to X. S/he is willing to suspend open combat at Thanksgiving. I hope I can count on you for the same." If the two of them are absolutely unwilling or unable to make this temporary adjustment, you are absolutely within your rights to request their absence.

OR.....Invite them in shifts. Have Sis for dinner and Bro for dessert. Inform them both that you are staggering their visits to avoid any explosions over the turkey.

So, Happy Thanksgiving, Graces!

1 comment:

Mr. H said...

I love the shift idea for the dueling siblings. If I could, I'd schedule the whole family for pop ins on Turkey Day, an hour at a time. It would add a whole new dimension to my already over scheduled family...