Cooking My Mother's Gravy

The editors of Slate asked their readers how Thanksgiving cooking traditions get passed from one generation to the next. They collected stories and posted them. It seems that in many families, the one who cooks every year has a hard time giving that position up to anyone else. Some even refuse help from those who should be learning how to do it.
My mom doesn't accept much help in the kitchen, holidays or Mondays—not because she doesn't trust others to get it right, but because she just doesn't know how to slow down. Never did. And accept help? She's as likely to do that as she is to ask for it; i.e., not at all. She reminds me of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, who systematically gets his appendages hacked off in battle but still won't call it a day. Make no mistake, having grown up as one of five girls in an inner-city, working-class home, I'm no stranger to hard work. But there was never a time when we did more work than she did. Ever. Even at 83, I'm not sure it's even possible to outwork my mom. As she's aged, all we can manage is guerrilla warfare.

My mother and grandmother helped me learn the family recipes as soon as I was old enough to be interested, and I've been hosting the family feast for quite a few years now. Now if I could only get my children interested... How about your family? Link

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In my home we would shoot for having the holiday meal ready around 1 or 2pm, but we would usually not be ready to call people to dinner until 4-5pm. No worries, though, since there were always snacks available if people thought they couldn't make it until the table was finished. We probably talk a bit too much in comparison to actual work- but that's what makes it fun.
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Cooking a major meal like Thanksgiving involves careful timing and a lot of time pressure in order to have the meal on the table in top form when expected.

To learn from a chef that does not delegate well might work better if the lessons are scheduled in segments at times when there is not the same time demands as a holiday meal. Teaching can take considerably longer than normal preparation. As the apprentice becomes proficient it may be much easier to get the chef to accept help during the big meal preparation.
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