ThinkstockPhotos 122494763I have no excuses for getting out of cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. Last year I got out of it. This year it’s not likely. I went to visit my daughter. My daughter Grace won’t be here. Her sister Paige may come. I expect to see my brother and some in-laws.

The truth is I am a really good cook and I know how to cook the meals that my mother always made so special. I have to make candied yams, baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, turkey, stuffing, sauerkraut and pig tales and apple pie. If I am missing any of that my guests will be disappointed. I make the sauerkraut in memory of my mother who would not consider the meal complete without it. The only one who eats it is my brother.

I have tried to have family members cook some things but the reality is they fail me. I gave my sister-in-law the job of making the ham. She cooked the hell out of it on many occasions—even the ham where all she had to to was heat it up. So she has bought the ham fully cooked. She manages to dry it out. I will say in later years she has gotten better. I also assign her to make green beans. She does a good job with that.

Then you have the people who tell you they are going to make appetizers and bring the rolls. But when they show up late, well after dinner is supposed to be served, you take that task away from them the next year. I think it’s done on purpose.

Then there are the people who cannot cook at all—I assign them to bring ice and drinks. If you are asked to do that you know that you don’t have skills.

I will tell you a secret or two. I hate turkey. I never eat it. I have faked parts of the meal in the past. One year I got a cooked turkey from the grocery store. I hid it in the back of the refrigerator and when no one was looking put in the roaster pan to heat it up. I have bought the mac and cheese and put it in a dish of my own to heat it up. I pretend to make homemade rolls with the roll dough in the frozen section at the store. I have faked the pie by using canned filling and store bought dough. No one knew the difference.

Go ahead and fake your meal. I won’t tell. Remember these rules: don’t ask people who can’t cook to cook anything. Let the late people bring things that won’t ruin the meal. Happy Turkey day!!!

Lisa Robinson is the mother of two amazing young women. She is a freelance writer for several Baltimore area magazines, including Chesapeake Family Life. Lisa works as a news anchor and investigative reporter for WBAL-TV in Baltimore. When she’s not dealing with the drama of her two daughters, she’s busy cooking, working out, hosting her friends for get-to-getters, reading, and writing a non-fiction book. Lisa is one of the funniest people you’ll get to know. She relishes in saying the things others are afraid to. You can catch up with Lisa here and on Facebook and Twitter.