A few years ago, couple of mornings before Thanksgiving, my mom burst into my sister's bedroom with blood trickling down her face. My sister, in her Dawn of the Dead-type mentality, screamed thinking that my mom had been attacked or worse, attacked and turned into a zombie. It was neither of those things. She had, in fact, tripped in our driveway and crashed into the pavement, spraining her wrist, bruising the entire right side of her face and twisting her ankle. Needless to say, she didn't feel up to cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Mom wasn't ever super enthusiastic about making Thanksgiving dinner and from her perspective, I can see that it was just another meal that she had to make except that there are more dishes involved, more people to cook for and a bigger mess to clean up at the end. To save the (holi)day, my dad offered to take over.
Now before you start getting all nervous about dad cooking, you should know that my father learned to cook at a very early age. He is also typically a very modest and humble man... except for when he cooks (which is only for company and when he can exercise his bravado in front of the largest audience possible). His cooking is the only thing I've ever heard him brag about and that year, he was determined to roast the BEST BIRD EVER. My sister and I were giddy with anticipation; my dad had never made "American" food before and Thanksgiving turkey had disaster written all over it - maybe we would even have a kitchen fire!
Instead, the turkey turned out awesome. He cheated slightly and used an Asian basting sauce, which turned the turkey a lovely golden brown and also allowed me to try my first Chinese Thanksgiving turkey. To his delight, it got two thumbs up from our family and our dinner guests.
From that year on, my dad has been a man on a mission. Each year's turkey has to be better than the last. And now every Thanksgiving I can't wait to see what type of turkey he's whipping up.** We've all come out winners in the end - Dad gets to brag about his cooking, Mom gets a break and Siri and I flex our inherited culinary muscles by mucking about making sides and dessert. After which, of course, we have to clean up the spills, drips and general mess in the kitchen.
*Case in point: This weekend, I accidentally dropped butter(???) on my pants and had to walk around the whole day with a stain that looked like I had a slight incontinence problem.
**Best part? My parents are both vegetarian and don't eat the turkey. More for me!