Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving Thanks I Didn't Burn Down My House

Thanksgiving, a time for family. A time for friends. A time for wanting to get so blasted drunk that I can’t see straight and keep thinking the raw turkey in my kitchen was really a tiny space alien.

Okay so I didn’t get drunk or burn my house down or end up in a loony bin. I did, however, gain an all new appreciation for anyone who knows their ass from a turkey giblet. All the damn work that goes into one meal is not worth it on a lot of levels. Yes, it is great to hear how good the food is and see the smiles of my loved ones (Equaling 2 people this year!) as they partake in the meal I literally spent all day cooking. But on the other hand, the shakes I was getting from stress as well as wanting a VERY LARGE glass of wine sort of counteract all that.

Now to be fair Ryan and I got several offers inviting us to various places for Thanksgiving. But I began to question people’s motives. Some were just being kind but I think there were a couple people that thought it might be safer if I wasn’t near a stove or oven when I am so prone to panic attacks. Plus, somewhere along the line I must have given off the impression that I don’t know how to cook and I am sure there was concern over Ryan, Gabe, and I all getting food poisoning.

Let me start my tale on the evening of Thursday Nov. 17th. I called my mom to ask if I could borrow her potato masher and turkey platter. I told her I bought my turkey and was going to put it in the fridge Monday when I got home from work. She told me to put it in the fridge on Sunday morning. I was shocked! It is a bird that I assumed was not that big but she was telling me that I needed to give it 4 full days to thaw?

When I checked the turkey on Wednesday night it still had a few bloody ice chunks inside it. First off, NASTY on the ice chunks. And second, it still had frozen stuff inside after 4 freaking days! And not only was there frozen ice but other treasures too! I know that there are guts in a turkey but why in the hell are there guts in a turkey? A turkey neck? Really Butterball? That seems like something people might want to consume?!?! It is already bad enough that I am going to have to stick my hands inside a dead animal carcass and now you are packing up their innards like I want them as a prize from some disgusting piñata? Get real and put a sealed Itunes gift card in there the next time. Guaranteed you will sell more turkeys.

The cooking process was unreal. I had to start my day at 6:00 am. Internet, I don’t wake up at 6:00 am to get ready for work. But I did on Thursday so I could get my rolls started. I was going to make rolls from scratch but at the thought of having to do all the other crap I bagged that idea and got some Rhode’s Bake-and-Serve which still need 3-5 hours to rise. I should have just wadded up slices of white bread into balls and called it good.

I also made FROM SCRATCH: sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, the relish tray (Yes I count that!), and green beans with bacon and onions. And of course, I made the turkey as well.

This is me making the roux for my turkey gravy. This is one of the first things I did because I was able to put it in the fridge and then add the drippings (Another nasty cooking term.) to it later right before it was to be served. I was excited at this point because I felt like Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray. By the end I felt like Lindsey Lohan after a loooong weekend.
And Gabe was helping me by making sure all the onions tasted delicious. His breath smelled so bad!
Here I am making the deviled eggs. What it that you ask Internet? What am I doing? Oh yeah! I am piping the filling into the eggs! Suck on that Thanksgiving!
And finally we come to the turkey. As you can see I really loved sliding my hand under cold turkey skin to smear butter on the breast meat. I felt like I was some deviant or doing something really inappropriate to that turkey.
Not a pleasant experience!
But the final results were better than I could have ever hoped for. I mean, look at that gorgeous bird! For my first try I think I kicked that turkey’s butt!
But I could not have done it without Ryan. Not only did he keep Gabe out of the kitchen but he was a great helper monkey! All I had to do was ask and he was right there with bowl or pepper or a spatula. The only thing he refused me was a 20-Gauge shot gun when I wanted to blow the turkey to bits in frustration.

And I can’t even take all the credit for cooking. Below is the dish Ryan did all by himself.
But honestly, I can’t say I regret making Thanksgiving this year. I tackled a cooking fear that I have had for years and proved to myself I am not completely incompetent. And when I see smiles like this from across the table it is hard not to remember why I did it in the first place.
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. No you are not invited to my house next year.

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