A tried and true tradition

Nikta Mansouri

My mom starts preparing for Thanksgiving about six months in advance. Around May, she’ll start thinking about what she’ll cook this year.

Of course there will be the staples: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and my personal favorite, pumpkin pie. Then, she’ll start researching Thanksgiving décor. How should she design the centerpiece this year? How many candles should be on the table? Should there even be candles on the table? Suffice it to say, Thanksgiving is a big deal at my house.

Like my mom, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I think it’s the best time of the year. The leaves are changing (as much as they can change in Los Angeles), the air is crisp and Starbucks starts to serve peppermint mochas. But most importantly, it’s when I get to see my whole family, all under the same roof, enjoying each other’s company.

Three months before Thanksgiving, my mom calls the whole family to make sure that everyone knows that they’re coming to our house. She doesn’t even ask anymore because it’s a given that Thanksgiving is always at the Mansouris’.

A month before, my mom starts to narrow down her list of what to make. The specialty this year? Beef stroganoff. She does the grocery shopping a week before and begins marinating the turkey the night before. Finally the big day comes. By the time I come down into the kitchen, my mom already has a pie in the oven and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the TV. The smell of the food has already filled the house, and the countdown to dinner has begun.

After I spend hours helping my mom prepare the food, setting the table, cleaning up the house and getting ready, the family finally arrives by the dozens.

Being Persian, family is very important to me. We love an excuse to get the family together, make way too much food, sit around a big table and eat as much as possible. So Thanksgiving seems like an ideal holiday for us, which is why I think my mom loves it so much.

My dad and uncles sit  watching the football game, pretending like they know what’s going on. My little cousins run in circles, infuriating their parents, while my older cousins talk about cars and girls. Meanwhile, my mom is still running around frantically making sure everything is perfect. I love this. I love watching my family talk, argue, play games, and eat together.

While I’m really looking forward to getting a lot of rest over Thanksgiving break, I’m also really looking forward to spending time with my family again.