In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would re-post my blog from last year's turkey day. This year promises to be different-- I've got the chief Turkey maker with me this year- thank God for Moms. (and we're not letting Matt inject the wine this year).
For me, cooking Thanksgiving dinner is like giving birth. Supposedly, women have a chemical in their brain that makes them forget the pain of childbirth- otherwise, we'd all be like China, and only have one kid.
Thanksgiving is like that for me. Somehow, in the beginning of November, I actually get excited to cook this monstrous dinner, and I somehow forget all of the pain and suffering that it usually brings. Then, on the actual day of turkiness, with the Macy's Day parade blaring in the background, and I'm dressed in my stinky jammies and haven't brushed my teeth yet or had a cup of coffee, but oh by the way, I've already made 2 pies and diced 12lbs of onions, I suddenly remember: this stinks.
I used to take the 2 days leading up to this hell-i-day off from work, so I could "prepare." That doesn't happen anymore. One of my bosses is teething, and is so grumpy that the only way she'll stop crying is to be bounced on my hip. My other boss must continually be reminded to take potty breaks (see earlier blog post) and that involves me reading the Fisher Price Little People book to her ad nauseum. Add to this party of frivolity a rather festive husband, who never takes a day off- and thought this would now be a good time to clean out his closet (NO JOKE) and pay some bills until he was "gently" reminded that his services were needed in the hip bouncing and potty break department. Said babysitter was then enlisted to help me inject the turkey with wine, and he took it upon himself to sample the marinade. I'm not sure who was more sauced- it's still up for debate.
When you actually break down the staples for this dinner, you realize you're screwed. Especially if you only have one oven, which in my current kitchen- is the case. (I hope, dear renter of my beloved kitchen in San Diego, that you thoroughly enjoyed my professional range. I miss that double oven more than Coronado Beach). Somehow, you have to get the following things WARM to the table with only one oven: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, green beans and cook a pie or two in the interim. It sounds like some lame-o David Blaine stunt.
Plus, to complicate matters, I happen to love to cook. And Thanksgiving is just not that much fun to tinker with. Turkey is pretty boring, there's only so much you can do with stuffing- and no matter how much of a sophisticated palate I think I am developing, I still feel compelled (and am not ashamed to admit) that I LOVE a good sweet potato casserole and jello salad. (Yeehaw y'all!)
But Every stinkin' year, I make this day as hard to deal with as possible--- cranberries from a can? A pox on you. They must be home-made, and gently tossed with orange rind, lemon rind and green apple. Turkey in a roasting bag? For shame! It must be injected with wine, then basted with melted butter and more wine every 20 minutes! (Potty breaks only last 15, so we're good there). Pre-seasoned bread crumbs? How pedestrian! One must suffer by cubing and drying their own bread.
So, for all of this turkey snootiness, you think it would garner some good praise at the big showdown, yes? NO. Not if your husband invited a couple of fellow medical folk that didn't know, or care what the difference is between pepperidge farm and my loony bin of home-made craziness. Immediately after sitting down to dinner, they all launched into their routine of tossing around big Latin words and something called "crit numbers" that did nothing more than remind me of how kind it was of Mr. Cruikshank to let me pass his chemistry class. After 30 minutes into the meal, someone finally made an off-hand remark about the food, and I realized 2 things:
1. I'm serving hungry man tv dinners w/ stovetop next year. As long as we serve plenty of wine, no one will know the difference.
2. I needed some humble pie w/ ice cream to bring me back to reality. No more green beans with cognac or inebriated, injected turkies. But I will have seconds of the jello salad.