I knew it was a bad idea the moment the words left my mouth.
In my head it seemed like a good idea, it wasn’t until after I mentioned to Luka that we should celebrate Thanksgiving together that I realized the mistake. What mistake is that you’re probably wondering. After all, it’s completely normal for people who have been in a two year relationship to spend Thanksgiving together. You're right, it is. What I failed to realize was Luka wanting to do everything from scratch.
“Why do we have to cook though?’ I clung to the mattress as Luka tried to pull me out of bed. “There are stores and restaurants we could have ordered a fully cooked meal from.”
“Because cooking is tradition,” he gave up tugging at my legs and ripped the covers off me and the bed. “My mom cooked every Thanksgiving and I had to help her. We’re a family now so it’s only right that we start our own tradition.”
“Eating at Bob Evens was my tradition. What’s wrong with doing that?” I said, burying my head under my pillow.
“Come on, Jace. I really want to do this and I need your help. I did most of the prep work last night and Skyler and Daryl are bringing dessert so there really isn’t that much to do.”
Letting out a loud, exaggerated groan I rolled out of bed and stretched. “Fine but don’t blame me if everyone gets food poisoning. I haven’t cooked anything that wasn’t already frozen.”
“That’s why I’m going to be in charge of cooking the turkey,” he said, heading out of the room. “You handle the vegetables and help with cleaning. Trust me, it’ll be fun.”
“Explain to me how this is fun,” I said, waving a half peeled potato at him. “I’ve peeled so many of these things I’m starting to feel like Forrest Gump.”
Luka looked in my bowl and shook his head. “You only did three. We need at least six to make enough mashed potatoes to feed four people.”
“If I don’t eat any, can I stop?”
“No. Keep peeling, Forrest.”
Making a face I picked up my peeler and went back to work. “What time is Skyler and Daryl coming?”
“They’ll be here around 12. The turkey should be ready by then.”
I looked over, watching as he stuck his hand into the bird and pulled out the organs. “Why couldn’t we at least buy turkey parts instead of a whole turkey? The legs are the only part worth eating.”
“Next year, I promise we can eat TV dinners for Thanksgiving and you can sleep until Christmas,” Luka said, filling the giblet bowl with water and setting it aside. “Now hurry up with those potatoes because we still have string beans to fix.”
“What’s to fix? Open a can, melt some butter, add salt then and nuke it in the microwave. Done.”
Luka went to the refrigerator, pulled out a large bag of fresh string beans and plopped it on the counter beside my bowl. “The tips need to be cut before I can cook them.”
“Do I look like Gordan Ramsey?”
Faced with his sad, puppy dog eyes I relented and sliced open the bag. “Is there a certain way I need to cut them?”
“ No, just cut off the tips on both ends but finish the potatoes first.”
“Aye aye Sir!”
To be fair, cooking wasn’t that bad and he did do a majority of the work. He seasoned the turkey and kept an eagle eye on everything as it boiled and baked while I retreated to the safety of the living room couch to watch the parade. I never cared for it in the past but it seemed like the traditional thing to do so I cranked it up loud enough for Luka to hear from the kitchen and forced myself to watch it. I was half unconscious from sheer boredom when Luka’s sharp yelp of pain launched me into action.
“What happened?” I hurried into the kitchen and found the oven door open and Luka clutching his arm to his chest.
“Burned myself trying to take the damn turkey out of the oven,” he said between clenched teeth. “Shit, it hurts bad!”
“Let me see,” I gently pulled his arm away from his chest and frowned at the red welt seared across his arm. “You really got yourself good. Stick your arm under the faucet and I’ll get the first aid kit.”
I made Luka soak his arm for a good 10 minutes under the faucet before applying Aloe Vera gel and bandaging it. I then took over the food preparation while he instructed me from the sidelines. Fortunately the bulk of the work was done, the potatoes already mashed and the beans glazed in butter. All I had to do was wrestle the bird from the oven and get it onto a serving platter to cool.
“Are we done? Please say yes,” I said, going over to Luka who was nursing his arm.
“Yeah. Done,” he looked over at the wall clock. “It's 11:30. We better get ready before Sky and Daryl show up demanding food.”
“How’s the arm? Do you need some Advil or anything?”
“I’ll take something, don’t worry about me,” he smiled, giving me a kiss before heading to our bedroom. “You better shower, babe, you smell a little ripe. I bought you a new shirt yesterday at that new Banana Republic store that just opened. I’ll get it. ”
Knowing it was pointless to argue I headed to the bathroom, discarding pieces of clothing along the way. Dinner turned out to be pretty good and I admit I did feel proud of myself seeing Skyler and Daryl enjoy food I helped make. Now I’m not saying I want to do this for every holiday, a point I drove home to Luka when our friends had gone and we were elbows deep in washing dishes, but maybe cooking Thanksgiving dinner from scratch wasn’t the worst idea in the world. Maybe it was even a little fun but let's just keep that bit between us.