I was flipping through magazines at the eye doctor this weekend when I had one of those moments when I thought my heart might explode with the  joy of pure anticipation.  And for once, it wasn’t a bridal magazine.

It was Food Network Magazine’s Thanksgiving issue and … oh. my. God. Between the 50 variations on a classic stuffing recipe and a spicy twist on mashed sweet potatoes, I was beside myself. This is the first year I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Last year, I helped my mom make Thanksgiving dinner, and I had some ideas, but she really wanted to stick with traditional dishes, so we did.

It’s just going to be the two of us for Thanksgiving dinner, and though I’d love to be cooking for a crowd, maybe it’s best that it’s just us for my first solo shot at Turkey Day. If I had impatient, picky eaters interfering with the zen of my cooking, it wouldn’t end well, because I don’t get flustered. I get mad. Nobody likes an enraged hostess.

So far, the only dish I’ve committed to is Martha’s pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I’m fairly sure we’ll go with a turkey breast over a whole turkey, but it’ll have to be a large one, because I love turkey. While I’m tempted by the sausage-based stuffing (mmm … meat with a side of meat), I’d also like to try my grandma’s stuffing ball recipe, but I’m afraid it won’t taste like the ones she makes and I’ll be disappointed. There are so many twists on sweet potato casserole, but the classic version is so good, too.

I also need to shop around for some new placemats; fiance had these hideous plastic IKEA ones, and while I should be gratefeul a single dude even had placemats, they’re just not me. I spent 2 1/2 years as a sales girl at Pier1 and have an unabashed love for chic table settings. Unfortunately I’m also a messy eater, so I’m in the market for easy-to-clean chic. I’ve been looking in stores and online, like at CSN Stores — they have just about everything a home needs, from the chic table settings to bathroom cabinets.

But the cooking fun (and I am sincere in typing that) doesn’t end on Thanksgiving; fiance’s birthday is Black Friday. Last year, it fell on Thanksgiving, and I got him a pumpkin ice cream cake from DQ. It felt lame getting a store-bought cake, but our time was so limited that there wasn’t any other choice. 

This year, though, I’m making his cake from scratch. As all birthday cakes — and good meals — should be made.

Tell me about the first Thanksgiving dinner you prepared. Was there a major kitchen mishap? Epic dinner table drama?