Thanksgiving Disaster



Mashed potatoes dripped off of my face and arms as I froze. I wiped the mashed potatoes off of my eyes to find our kitchen a disaster. I could feel the mashed potatoes dripping down my beautiful pink dress and I wanted to gag. What was I going to tell mom? That our kitchen was currently drenched in mashed potatoes and looked like puke? I grabbed the dishrag from the oven rack and carefully wiped my face off. I noticed my mascara smeared on the rag and I groaned. Great. Chunks of potatoes fell to the floor and the metal pot that was currently on the stove didn’t look like metal anymore. I could hear the shower turned on and I sighed in relief as I realized that now, I had time to clean the kitchen before my mom would flip. I opened the oven to find the turkey there, almost ready to be taken out. I could feel the warmth of the oven rush through my body. I closed the oven and continued to clean my dress. But unfortunately, it was stained. I ran down the stairs into the basement, which smell like sweat from the gym. I opened the closet door and looked through dozens of my dresses that were mostly either too small or too ugly. 

I dragged my hands lightly over the soft dresses and skirts that lay untouched in the closet. Luckily, I found a pretty lace black dress with tight sleeves. I grabbed it and quickly changed. It felt good to wear something that wasn’t gross. As I was busy admiring myself in the mirror, I could smell something, not good, but burning.

My blood ran cold as I realized what it was. I dashed upstairs, my feet were moving at the speed of light from fear. 

I slid into the kitchen to only smell the horrible bitter burned cranberry sauce that currently lay on the stove.

No no no no I thought as I turned off the stove. First the mashed potatoes, and now the cranberry sauce?

Luckily it hadn’t exploded, but the bad thing was that there were no mashed potatoes and no cranberry sauce. But we had the turkey in the oven, the stuffing that was being ordered from some restaurant down the street, and the rest was being brought by family. Okay, I mean Thanksgiving wasn’t destroyed and in reality no one really liked mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, right? I didn’t even believe that. I crossed my fingers that a miracle would just come and save us. But then there was mom. Oh no, she had no idea about the mess! She would flip if she found out, being obsessed with keeping the house clean and opening windows along with chores, and once she finishes her shower, she would find the kitchen looking like a mess. 

My mind was running through ideas on what to do. I grabbed the pot and emptied it out in the sink, but that wasn’t a very good idea because the next thing I knew, our sink was clogged.

I groaned and tried to pick out the cranberries, but they were squished into the disposal. Feeling crushed, I flopped onto the couch and stared at the ceiling, dreading the moment where mom scolds me. But it isn’t entirely my fault, I’m only 13 years old, and she just told me instructions that were pretty hard to memorize. And while she was taking a nice shower and doing her makeup, I would be stuck cleaning the kitchen and cooking. Actually now that I thought of it, how hard can it be to cook a whole meal for 15 people? Okay that did not sound as confident as I thought.

I got up and took out mom’s gray and white apron that was stained in pasta sauce. Lets just say, Mom isn’t a great cook. 

I tied it to my waist, feeling the tight bow start to untangle. I triple knotted it and went over to the pot of cranberry sauce, determined to make it myself. 

I thought about making the mashed potatoes, bti we didn’t really have any potatoes left. Unless we scrape them off the walls and pretend like nothing had happened. 

I unplugged my phone from our charging station (Which took up a quarter of our kitchen counter) I googled “How to make cranberry sauce” And luckily, dozens of results popped up. I clicked on the very first site which luckily had 4.5 stars. I began to read over the ingredients.

“Cranberries, water, orange zest, blah blah blah,” I mumbled as the list grew and grew. As soon as I finished, I checked off all of the ingredients to see if I actually had them. Oranges, check. Water, check. Cranberries, no. 

I frowned as my shoulders slumped. We had run out of cranberries which was basically the whole point of the sauce. So we couldn’t make cranberry sauce, nor mashed potatoes.

Just then, I could hear the water from the shower disappear. Panic rose through my ches as I stared at the kitchen, which was still drenched in mashed potatoes. 

I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t clean up the kitchen in time! I could hear footsteps on the stairs. Thump. Thump. 

I couldn’t let her see it. I ran to the stairwell, to see my mom walking down it in a white robe and a gray towel wrapped around her head.

“Hey honey, how’s everything going?” She asked, “Why aren’t you wearing the pink dress?”

“I realized that I’d rather wear this one, it’s cuter.” I lied. She seemed to believe me, since she answered, “Yeah the lace is nice. I’m going to check up on the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.” She walked towards the kitchen but I blocked the pathway with my body. Panicking, I explained

“The cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes are doing great, you should get ready!”

Mom gave me a suspicious look. and for a second, I thought she would shove past me and scream. But she just replied,

 “Okay, but please don’t let anything burn.” She turned around and walked back upstairs and I sighed in relief. Now I had at least 4 minutes to clean up the kitchen, since mom took forever on her makeup and hair. 

I walked back into the kitchen and stared at the walls and floor. I felt overwhelmed with the mess, since I wasn’t used to cleaning and cooking. We had a maid come once a week and I occasionally swept, since we lived in a giant house and we had people do it for us. But we didn’t have a butler or cook.  And since mom isn’t a great cook, we mostly just order pizza or sushi. We always had plates and cups, we just never used them. I know that most families plan out delicious dinners and have cookbooks piling in their kitchens, we never did that. Sometimes I really wish I did. I’ve told mom that we should cook a meal, but she would just say, “Maybe next week” or “We don’t have any food left.” But I’m not complaining about the way me and my mom are, I just think a little change would be nice.

And finally, today was the day that she decided to call our family and say, “We’re hosting thanksgiving!” Which really made me happy, thinking that after today, mom would consider cooking more often. But if the dinner was ruined, then she would think otherwise. 

I knew that mom had a bunch of cleaning supplies in the closet near the bathroom, she just didn’t really use them that often. I opened the closet door and was surprised to find dozens of tools that I had no idea what they were. I felt a strange feeling in my stomach and I felt a little ashamed about not knowing how to properly clean. So I tried my best to figure it out myself and be confident. 

I grabbed some paper towels and some spray and began to clean. It felt gross, if I want to be completely honest. I could feel my face begin to burn as the minutes kept on passing. I tried my best not to ruin my dress, since mom’s apron was now stained in mashed potatoes. The more I cleaned, the more I wanted to be done. But it did feel good to actually work. And in less than 30 minutes, the kitchen had been cleaned! Beads of sweat dripped down my face as I stared at the kitchen, feeling proud of myself. I washed my hands, and my eyes drifted to the pot of cranberry sauce and a bit of my glory began to fade. We still had no mashed potatoes and cranberry-

Just then, I realized that a trail of smoke had been flowing past my face. I coughed and looked all over the kitchen. What was happening? Suddenly, I gasped as I realized where the smoke was coming from . I looked in horror as I noticed smoke pouring out from the oven, like water pouring out of a glass. I didn’t know what to do, I began to wav my arms around, which only made it worse. Shoot. I had no choice, but to tell mom. I gathered all of my courage and yelled,

“Mom! The turkey is burning!” Suddenly, the smoke alarm began to beep. Smoke filled the air and my lungs were suffocating from the gray smoke. I coughed as I ran upstairs. My heels made it hard to run. I burst into mom’s bedroom to find my mom finishing her makeup.

“The turkey is burning!” I gasped. 

She turned to me, “You’re joking. Take it out!”  I ran back downstairs. The alarm continued to irritate my ears and I could see the smoke pouring into the living room from the kitchen. 

I hurriedly wrapped the apron around my nose and mouth as I turned off the oven, but the smoke still lingered in the air.

I quickly opened the window and removed the apron from my face, relieved to feel the cool, autumn breeze brush my golden hair past my face. Soon enough, the alarm stopped and most of the smoke was cleared.

I sighed in relief. Thank goodness nothing had been burned. The usual lavender smell from mom’s febreeze had disappeared. I kneeled down and slowly opened the oven, preparing for a gust of smoke. But there wasn’t. I put on mom’s favorite red glove that grandma had knitted for her when she was a child. I could feel the warmth of the wool sink though my skin. But as I took out the plate and placed it on the marble, I looked in horror as the turkey was badly burned. The turkey looked like charcoal and the lemon had shrunk and turned brown. I wanted to cry. This was the first ever thanksgiving me and mom had ever hosted and the turkey was a mess. I gleaned at the clock behind me and saw that it was already 3:30. Great.

“Sam! Is everything okay?” My mom called from upstairs as I heard her heels tap against the thin hardwood floor. 

I flattened out my black lace dress as mom had appeared. She gasped in horror as she stared at the burning turkey.

“Sam! We can’t serve that today! Now what!” She cried as I stood at the side. By now the smoke was cleared and it smelled like autumn, but mom’s face hadn’t made things anything better.

“You shouldn’t have left the turkey in the oven while you were in the shower!” I told her.

“Yeah I get that now, but we need a turkey, I can’t cook another one at this time, plus the store will be packed.”

Mom lifted the turkey from the plate and watched as black crumbs fell from the bottom of the turkey. I watched in disappointment as mom threw out the turkey.

“What if grandma makes the turkey?” I suggested, hoping that it would be a good plan, but mom shook her head. “She can’t cook a turkey sam, shes almost 90.”

“There should be something we could do.” I mumbled, but even I didn’t believe that. “This is a disaster.” Mom sat on the couch.  “We can just eat the mashed potatoes and stuffing. That’ll work.”

I bit my bottom lip as mom glanced over to the stove. But judging by her face, she had noticed that cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes were gone. 

“Sam! Where is the food?” She asked me in a harsh tone. 

After a couple seconds, I managed to say, “They exploded.”

“WHAT?” She yelled and I froze, not knowing what to say or do, I felt terrible, I knew that she was mad, and we had no more time left. We’d only have stuffing and dessert, which made me feel even more guilty. 

“I’m sorry. It was a mistake, I promise!” I explained, but I could tell that “sorry” wasn’t going to fix this. 

Mom sighed and hung her head. “It’s okay, I know you didn’t mean it.”

“Wait, you’re not?” I stuttered, surprised that mom would let this slide. She nodded and a smile formed across my face. “Good.”

Mom looked at me with a raised eyebrow. “What?”

I got up and grabbed my phone from the counter and brought it back. I sat down and showed mom the order of the turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes.

“H-how?” She exclaimed and grabbed my phone, checking to see if it a]was actually real. I sat there, feeling proud of myself.

“I knew that you weren’t going to pull off a Thanksgiving dinner,” I explained, taking my phone back. “You can barely even cook a meal right, and you mess up every meal we make.”

Mom gave me an offended look. “Sorry,” I apologized. “But I mean, you have to admit it.”

“Okay, yes. I know I’m not the greatest cook. But what if we actually pulled this off and we had all of this extra food?”

“Then we have extra food!” I said and smiled. 

“Thank you Sam, this means a lot.” She wrapped me in a bear hug and I hugged her back. And at that moment, I knew that I didn’t want a change in how we ate dinner or how we lived, I had everything I needed, and nothing more.