Thanks of a different feather

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 3, 2002

&uot;We’re all going out to eat Thanksgiving dinner,&uot; my mother informed me about two weeks ago. &uot;You’re in charge of finding a place to eat.&uot;

My mother lives in Birmingham, the same city where we will be eating. I live in Hartselle, about an hour away, yet I am in charge of finding the restaurant. Go figure.

We’re planning for a party of four: my mother, my grandmother, my sister and myself. My dad and stepmom, Carol, are going to Atlanta to eat with her son and his family.

&uot;Are you sure you don’t want to go with us?&uot; dad asked, obviously anticipating the problems associated with going out to eat with the crew on Thanksgiving day.

I deferred.

I can handle it, I thought.

Being a thoroughly modern diner, I hopped on the Internet and found a lovely, if a bit pricey, restaurant in Birmingham’s downtown.

I called and made reservations for four. I had accomplished my goal. Or at least I thought I had.

The first warning sign was when I called my mother and told her I had found a restaurant.

&uot;Your grandmother said not to pick anything too expensive,&uot; she said.

Uh-oh. Looks like I was picking and, as a result, I was paying.

&uot;Do they have anything your grandmother and sister will eat?&uot; my mother asked. That was a really good question.

My grandmother is more than a little picky about food. My sister, Anna, who is 17, is a typical teenager. Her idea of fine dining is ordering fries with her Chick-Fil-A.

&uot;Well, I guess so,&uot; I replied, knowing full well there wasn’t a whole lot either my grandmother or sister would recognize on the menu.

I read the menu to my mother. Roasted acorn squash bisque with baby shrimp and sherry.

Salad with sun dried bing cherries, carmelized walnut halves and crumbled feta cheese with balsamic vinaigrette. Peppercorn and cumin rubbed veal tenderloin over creamed sweet potatoes and rum-grilled onion straws.

Georgia pecan encrusted filet of Idaho trout with grilled jumbo gulf shrimp.

&uot;Don’t they have any turkey and dressing?&uot; my mother asked. &uot;Where is the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie?&uot;

It was nowhere to be found.

&uot;Maybe we should change our plans,&uot; mother said. &uot;Isn’t there a nice buffet somewhere?&uot;

There was and that’s where we’re going for Thanksgiving.

At least grandmother and Anna will be happy as they put their macaroni and cheese and dressing on their plate, standing in line with hundreds of other people.

I, on the other hand, will go to sleep with visions of sun dried bing cherries dancing in my head