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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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To Cook or Not To Cook....

To Cook or Not To Cook?

Thanksgiving is over and only the memories remain, the memories and the leftovers, that is. The fridge is full and we will be rubbing our tummies for a week and wishing we hadn't eaten so much. Every year at my house it's the same old question: "To cook or not to cook?"

"What are we going to do for Thanksgiving this year?" asked my honey.

"Why do we have to do something? Couldn't we just eat a frozen turkey dinner?"

For some reason, Thanksgiving has become a festival of food instead of thanks. According to Benjamin Franklin, it is because of those New Englanders who decided to feast to celebrate instead of fasting and praying, as was their custom. Now every year I have to worry about food. I usually say we will eat out and then change my mind at the last minute.

It's too much trouble to cook a turkey and I don't have time. Another problem is that turkeys do not come in small, medium, and large. They come in large and extra large. If you procrastinate long enough, it is likely that nothing will be available but the extra large. It is not a good idea to get a frozen turkey at the last minute as they are like cannon balls and take days to thaw.

I always say that eating out will be fun and not so much work and trouble. The reality of eating out, however, is that it is crowed, we are rushed, and the food is not as good as what I could fix at home.

The good news is that you don't have to deal with the leftovers. However, the bad news is that you don't have leftovers to deal with. Personally, I like leftovers and especially not having to cook again for a while.

I was hoping that maybe someone would call and invite us to dinner, but no one did. Probably they were at home hoping someone would call and invite them to dinner too.

So… I caved in.

"Do you want to cook a turkey this year?" I asked.

"Me?" replied my honey.

"No, ME! I just meant do you want to eat at home instead of going out?" You know how crowded it will be and we will have to wait forever. Besides, I can fix things that are not so fattening since you are on a diet."

"Isn't it too late to get a turkey? How will you get it thawed out in time?"

"We can go shopping tonight after work. We can get it fresh instead of frozen."

"FRESH!? Are we going to a farm?" He can be funny at times.

"No, not that fresh."

And so the rush was on. Once again at the last minute I decided to cook and wondered why I didn't decide earlier so that I wouldn't have to go to the grocery store at the last minute. I feel like the world's biggest procrastinator.

Procrastination, however, is a good excuse for taking shortcuts, like using the prefixed stuffing mix instead of making my own, leaving off things that are a lot of trouble, and cooking a small size turkey, presuming one is available. Without stuffing, it doesn't take the turkey nearly as long to cook either.

So… maybe waiting until the last minute is the new tradition at my house. It certainly seems to be since I do it nearly every year.

Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss

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