I tell everyone that dinner starts at 4:30pm so they can show up by 7.

**Grandma: If Grandma were here she would definitely throw down. It sucks that she is gone, but it’s a blessing that she is here in spirit and memory. Alas, that’s life.  I probably will never eat chicken gravy again because can’t nobody’s chicken gravy come close to grandma’s.

  • Check Rice & Chicken Gravy
  • Vegetable Rice
  • Rice Bread *Mr. Donald’s rice bread ain’t bad either. I guess.

Mom: This lady is always sending people to the store and leaving something off the list. Just when I think everything is bought, she calls. “Oh I need some bouillon, if yall want the food to taste sweet. I need my Maggie cubes, the one with the red wrapper. Oh, and I need more pepper.” No matter how early I buy the ingredients, she’s always cooking last minute, but the food is always ready and on point when everyone arrives.

  • Palmbutter
  • Cassava Leaf
  • Spinach
  • Rice
  • Fufu & Pepper Soup
  • Shortbread

Lem: Without this woman, our Thanksgiving would lack the basic American necessities. She comes through with the dishes, but her kids don’t never be ready on time. You would want her to prepare her meals at the dinner location. Nine out of ten chances she will have to leave and get her entire family ready then come back all late. We cannot have the turkey and mac showing up late.

  • Turkey
  • Baked Macaroni
  • Stuffing
  • Cranberry Sauce

Des: I never met a man who doesn’t eat meat, but can cook the hell out of a meaty dish. My Jamaican brother comes through with all the island dishes. He is another person, who you want to drop off the food early. He’s gonna show up mad later than his wife and kids. Then all night, he’s gonna be hanging outside in the driveway or the backyard or the garage.

  • Oxtails
  • Jerk Chicken
  • Fish
  • Rice & Peas w/ Cabbage

Babs: She comes on time. She brings the same dish, which she has mastered and nobody can do better. Except for that one time when she tried to use Miracle Whip and screwed up her recipe. Other than that, she’s solid. She’s gonna end up doing other folks’ last minute errands because she’s always early, even when she tries to show up late.

  • Potato Salad

NT Teta: I know we will have something to eat with and drink out of. She comes on time and she’s not cooking anything, but she is bringing all the utensils. If we’re lucky she might make some banging pineapple upside down cake. Plus she will help me gather and recycle all the plastic forks to protect the sea turtles.

  • Plates, Cutlery, Napkins, Cups
  • Maybe Pineapple Upside Down Cake

NT Jo: Jojo is coming through with the Heavenly Package. Her dishes are infamous and made by request. Just like her niece Lem, she’s probably showing up late. You can only pray that she has sent her meal ahead with someone else. When she shows up, the party turns up a notch.

  • Angle Hair Pasta
  • Angel Food Cake w/ whipped cream

Big Moc: NT Gogo is another person, who sends me to the store with a grocery list. When I bring her the ingredients, she laughs at my frugalness. Somehow, she makes it work though. She shows up on time, brings her dish and puts her wine coolers in a corner of the fridge. Everyone knows not to touch her Smirnoff.

  • Fried Fish
  • Cornbread Souffle
  • Sour Apple Smirnoff  *it ain’t for you

NT Kitee: She says she doesn’t eat meat, but her plate will say otherwise. Still, she brings all the vegetarian dishes and — I’m not gonna lie — they are delicious. NT Kitee used to be one of the early birds, but after hours of waiting on everybody else to show up she became a late comer.

  • Veggie Chili
  • Veggie Meatballs
  • Fruit Platter
  • Veggie Platter

Me: I’ve graduated from dishes that nobody touched to something substantial. I remember my first real dish —green bean casserole. My mom ate it out of courtesy. I think my grandma tasted it and said it was fine. It was one of the only dishes left on the table, after dinner ended. I’m better now. Much better.

  • Jollof Rice

Kia: This fool always says she has to work so that she can miss out or show up at the end. If she comes, she will show up with Des and their eyes will be a little red. Poor things. They work so hard. Either way, she’ll send some desserts or store bought pie ahead.

  • Sweet Potato Pie w/ Vanilla Whipped Cream
  • Apple Pie

Syd Boo: As soon as she arrives, what’s the first thing she does? Packs a plate and tucks it away safely. Syd boo is gonna make sure she has food for tomorrow. She comes through with Kelvan and a nice store bought cake. She’s not on time, but she’s not super late either.

  • Cake

Malik: He says he will bring ice cream. He shows up and puts the ice cream in the freezer. He forgets to put the ice cream with the desserts and ends up taking the whole thing back home. This never fails. Very clever Malik. Very clever.

  • Ice Cream *nobody tastes  -_-
  • Store bought pies

Kae Kae: Her desserts come in some type of Tupperware, which will double as a to-go carrier. All night, I’m going to try and get in her business because that’s what big cousins do. She will be taking pictures and videos for The Gram.

  • A Dessert: Cookie, Brownie or something sweet

Rock: He’ll probably show up around the beginning of the dinner with the drinks. Then again, he could show up kind of late. I never know, so we have to have a few drinks ready, just in case. Either way, we are going to have a dance battle before the end of the night and I’m probably gonna win.

  • Drinks

Uncle A: I will find him in the living room probably watching a game. Before the end of the night, he is gonna have a long conversation with me about school, politics and life.

  • Drinks *plus something for the adults to sip 😉

Uncle D: He never responds to the group text, so I never know exactly what he’s bringing.

  • ???

Kiema Kiema: It really doesn’t matter what Kiema brings, I’m sure it will be worth it. She shows up with Elijah, who runs around with Lem’s tribe: Logan, London, Lydia and now Liyah. The yelling and laughter, in the house, will multiply by 10. Yaya will have to ward off the smaller kids because she’s so much younger than the bigger cousins, but so much older than the younger ones. Poor Yaya.

The Rest of the Fam & Friends: Show up and bring anything they can. Thanksgiving is family, food, music and laughter. Thanksgiving is good times.


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