Back in the Dark Ages when I used to make pizzas, the night before Thanksgiving was one of the busiest nights of the year. Moms were not about to cook a big dinner when the following day they were chained to the kitchen. I imagine this is still a pretty big pizza night, although pizza is not what I think about when I’m preparing for a big holiday meal.

I don’t have any memories at all about food traditions on the night before holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas were pretty identical turkey dinners. Easter was canned ham – unless we went to Aunt Dolores and Aunt Phoebe’s house. Then it was leg of lamb – bone-in, of course, because nothing was boneless back in those days – with Aunt Dolores making the most fabulous lamb gravy on the planet. Something I have never been able to replicate.

The night before most holidays were probably just meals to get us fed. Pop was most likely at the firehouse because in order to be off for the holiday, he usually was working the day before. When we traveled to Bakersfield to be with my mom’s family, there was just constant food with the adults imbibing in copious amounts of alcohol. Non-stop food-and-fun from the moment we arrived until the moment we had to leave. Pretty much how it is, today, when my siblings all get together. We have our family traditions to maintain and pass on to the upcoming generations!

So grilling steaks and roasting some carrots is not bucking tradition the night before Thanksgiving because we don’t really have a night-before holiday tradition back here. Cooking a turkey on Monday was a bit of a step off the beaten path, but… if we’re going to have our traditional turkey soup on Friday, the bird needs to be cooked beforehand, right?!? Right. Monday worked for me.

And the steaks, tonight, worked for me! I marinated them in soy sauce, worcestrshire sauce, garlic, hot sauce, and pepar vodka. That damned bottle has been sitting around here for years. No one drinks it, so every now and again I find a use for a shot or two. I’m sure that next year at this time, I’ll be talking about it, again…

The carrots were drizzled in olive oil, sprinkled with S&P and a bit of Penzeys Tuscan seasoning. Potatoes sliced thin and fried with a lid on the pan to steam them.

This is one of the most laid-back holidays I have ever spent. My work is done, Victor will make an appetizer in the morning, and we arrive at 1pm with Nonna in tow.

We couldn’t make it out to the west coast to be with my family, but we’re going to be there next year – no question about it! There are some serious family traditions I need to help pass on!