Breakfast: leftover rice and eggplant, a banana, handful of grape tomatoes, handful of pistachios.
Lunch: grilled ham, cheddar and apple sandwich on sourdough from the cheesecake place down the street, Miss Vickie's chips, small cappuccino. The sandwich is not as good as it usually is. It seems vaguely toasted instead of grilled and it is dry and flavorless. The reason I stopped at the cheesecake place at all is that I'm exhausted, as well as very, very annoyed, from my Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving waitress shift. We need to leave for Thanksgiving in a couple of hours (destination: a motel in N.J. tonight), and my daughter is texting me that she might be a bit late because she is going to the movies. This is one of her first true moments of teenaged irresponsibility. I guess I should consider it a milestone.
Dinner: 8 pm, Waffle House, Belcamp MD. 2 eggs over medium, 2 sausage patties, grilled tomato slices, biscuit with butter and mixed berry jelly. Coffee with half and half. I wanted to share a waffle with my daughter as a dessert, because I have still never had a waffle at a Waffle House. But she was too full.
Snacks: 4 cups of coffee in addition to lunch and dinner, 2 regular, 2 decaf, with half and half, including one regular cup of Starbucks purchased at 9:30 at night in Delaware. We made it to our hotel in NJ at about 11 pm. Two chocolate-dipped madeleines (packaged) from the same Starbucks, because I thought sugar might help me stay awake.
Breakfast: in the hotel lobby. Make-your -own waffles with syrup, butter, and mixed berry compote. I finally got my waffle. Also: rubbery weird scrambled eggs, and one over-salty, over-seasoned, fake-tasting sausage patty. Coffee.
Then I purposely did not eat anything else until Thanksgiving dinner at 3 pm. We drove from our New Jersey hotel to my niece's house in western Connecticut. Drank some water, had a glass of red wine.
Thanksgiving dinner: Turkey raised by my niece's farmer friends, smoked outside in a little smoker. This did not taste anything like the "smoked turkey" you buy in the store. My mother repeatedly mentioned how my niece "had said they were going to make one smoked turkey and one regular turkey," because my mother apparently does not care for smoked turkey. Every time she said this I gave her the hairy eyeball. Ever heard of gratitude, Mom-on-Thanksgiving? Also: mashed potatoes. Gravy. Two kinds of stuffing, one "regular," one gluten-free made out of cornbread (the latter was out-of-this-world!). Lovely little sliced squashes that were so sweet (also from a friend's farm). Green beans grown by niece and her husband (I should mention that the husband is the primary chef in this arrangement), dressed with a pesto made from sundried tomatoes also grown by them. A nice green salad brought by my nephew's new girlfriend. Rolls and butter, which as always were a superfluity on Thanksgiving. Am I forgetting anything? Oh, cranberries.
Thanksgiving dessert: Tiny slice of pumpkin pie, tiny slice of apple pie, both with whipped cream. A chocolate-covered pomegranate seed cluster, made by my niece. This last was a weird idea. My daughter loved them, though. Coffee. My mom brought the pies, which she'd purchased from some church ladies in Sunderland, MA. She only brought two; there were seventeen people; she'd been assuming there would be other pies as well. She obsessed over the potential pie shortage all during dinner. It turned out fine.
Snacks: Weak, depressing coffee with non-dairy creamer in the hotel room before breakfast. Coffee from the Vince Lombardi service area just south of NYC. The glass of cabernet, as previously mentioned. Half a shot of high-quality rye, post-dessert, brought as an offering by nephew's new girlfriend, who is a liquor sales rep! Nephew says, "I hate that she's doing that," wants her to go back to her laboratory science career. I tell him there's nothing wrong with being a wine rep. Indeed, it is a lovely addition to the family gathering.
Back at the room at night, where we are staying next door to my folks, my mom presses two snack bars upon me. These are in case we get hungry in the night, or on the road, or something. We forget to ever eat them. They are still in my purse.
No coffee in the room this morning. We are staying overnight at a Jewish retreat center/farm that is technically closed for the holiday. Since my niece's husband works at the retreat center, he arranged these rooms for us. Last time we stayed here, we went to the main building for coffee, then walked down to the goat pen to get some fresh milk for "goat's milk lattes." They were delicious. This option is unavailable to us now. I have to wait until breakfast in the restaurant at 9:30 to get coffee, which is almost unbearable. My daughter accuses me of being cranky, but hugs me and says it is not my fault "because you haven't had your coffee."
Breakfast: at a little roadside restaurant with my parents. The menu is kind of fancy in a rustic way. I have whole wheat pancakes with all kinds of nuts and fruit in them, with butter and real maple syrup and a couple of eggs on the side. The eggs are delicious, and I imagine they just recently came out of somebody's free-range chicken. My daughter and stepfather have corned-beef hash skillets, which look amazing. My stepfather picks all the kale out of his. The waiters (all clean-cut young white men) seem strangely clueless, as though they are all brand-new. It is later explained to us that this restaurant is run by an expensive drug and alcohol rehab center, and the employees are gaining job experience as part of their rehabilitation. That explains a lot.
Lunch: we skip lunch and go right to an early dinner. Daughter and I on the road again.
Dinner: 5:15 pm at the Delaware Welcome Center service area. We try Baja Fresh, which my daughter promised me was "pretty good." She had a burrito and once again pronounced it "pretty good," though she did not finish it. I had a quesadilla with pork carnitas inside, topped with pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole. It wasn't pretty good. The meat had that meat-flavored quality-- do you know what I mean? Beef-flavored beef? Chicken-flavored chicken?-- that makes it intense without being pleasurable. It was filling, however.