This morning as I was thinking through what I was going to write about today, I kept coming back to the stress I am feeling about cooking the turkey for Thanksgiving this year. This has come as a surprise to me because, in general, roasting a turkey is something I feel pretty confident about. I mean, this isn’t the first turkey I have ever made and every other one has been a success, but as I become more public in my persona as a health coach who is passionate about food, I feel increasing pressure for everything I cook to be: 1) perfectly delicious, 2) the healthiest option possible, and 3) simple whenever possible. That’s a lot of pressure, especially when we are talking about a turkey that will be serving 20 people!
I think that a lot of people feel this sort of pressure about cooking. They worry that it won’t be perfect, that someone won’t like it, that they will be a failure. I think this is especially prevalent with holiday dishes. It is a time when we make meals we don’t usually make, dishes we aren’t necessarily comfortable cooking. It is a time when there are more people present, should we fail. It is a lot of pressure.
But then I read this post today by Real Mom Nutrition and it suddenly took a lot of the pressure off, both for the Thanksgiving turkey and for all of the meals I serve other people. I didn’t go into this work because I believe in a specific diet or lifestyle approach and I don’t live with rigid food guidelines. I just try to do the best I can with the knowledge that I have, while also trying to keep my sanity and sense of balance. Yes, I try to include healthier options wherever possible. Yes, I try to offer my kids a variety of healthy and exciting food options. Yes, I advocate for increasing our vegetable intake and decreasing our processed foods. But it is also true that I offer my kids dessert almost every night (sure it is homemade and usually on the healthier side, but it is still dessert). And I do often have pretzels, and even sometimes pirate booty, in my house. Because I believe that food is about nourishing our bodies and giving us energy, but it is also about fun, community, and enjoyment, and sometimes that includes “junk.”
So I think for this Thanksgiving turkey I am going to give myself permission to let go of that need for perfection. I am going to remember that this holiday is, of course, about the food, but it is also about being together and being grateful for all that we are blessed with. Sure, I am going to do my best to make a great bird, but I am going to do it in the way that I am comfortable with and the way that I will enjoy it the most. Maybe it won’t be the healthiest approach, may be it won’t be perfection, but it will be good.