I know how hard it is to work at a real job, take care of your family and still make it look effortless to have prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.
As you go about your tasks, keep this in mind and remind the children:
PERSPIRATION DRIPS TO THE EARTH.
KNOW YOU THAT YOUR BOWL OF RICE EACH GRAIN FROM HARDSHIP COMES."
Last year I was just learning how to blog. Obviously, I'm still in the experimental stages. As I look back on doing the Thanksgiving posts...and having just reread them...I am amazed at how much time I devoted to it and just how complete they are...from my perspective. All were done before I learned how to include pictures.
I invite you to visit those other posts. I will probably combine them in the future but not this year. There is nothing fancy about the instructional ones. I hope you find them simple and easy to follow.. There are actually a total of ten posts related to Thanksgiving on this blog. Yes...it is a very important holiday to me.
So many memories of Thanksgivings past flood my mind...and heart. I always hope that what I can contribute will make memories for others.
It is the one time of year that I don't consult with Pedro about who I can invite to dinner. I have always invited everyone that happens to mention that they don't have family or plans. Our first Thanksgiving together he was surprised to find strangers joining us. He knows me better now.
Two years ago, we had twenty family members celebrating with us in our small house. We had the dining event in the garage where we had set tables with hurricane lamps and Thanksgiving decorations.
In 2008 and 2009 we spent the event at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. Just the two of us enjoyed a very elegant dinner with champagne and candlelight in 2008.
In 2009 there were ten of us at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch.
This year we're cooking again.
We will have two of our children with their families and some dear friends from "the mountain". I estimate there will be ten of us. If the weather stays nice, we might dine "al fresco". The only thing that could "dampen" that idea would be rain or wind. The forecast is for sunshine, high 70s, and gentle breezes.
I am thankful to feel healthy enough to offer to cook, to have a husband who makes delicious cranberry sauce, is an expert potato masher and turkey carver...and, to have family who still want to come to my house for dinner.
Getting here isn't very traditional though. It's "Over the Gila (river) and through the cactus to Nana's casa we go...the truck knows the way to carry the kids through the brown and green saguaros"...lalalalala.
Happy Thanksgiving and God's blessings to everyone!
This blog title could have been "Janet’s Soup Kitchen and Salsa Factory" but then I would’ve left out the best part.
This day started out like most days…an episode in the kitchen. It was a mess to be cleaned up as a result of being organized and prepared…and it’s only 5:30 AM.
It is Wednesday, the day before the big day. Yesterday I took the frozen container of perfect chicken stock that I had so painstakingly prepared and babied, out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator to thaw. It will be used as the broth for the turkey gravy and stuffing.
I placed it on the top shelf of the icebox with the many beverages we had just purchased for the “big day”.
As I removed a beverage from the shelf to have with dinner last night, I noticed that there was moisture on the shelf around the container of chicken stock. I assumed (if you assume something it makes an a.s out of you and me), stupidly, that it was condensation dripping from the outside of the thawing container.
WRONG!! This morning there was chicken broth all over the top shelf and the beverages were swimming in the slimy greasy yellow stuff.
On further examination, it was discovered that there was a big chunk of plastic missing from the bottom of the container. I’ll have to look for that later…in the gravy.
I know this will be hard to believe from someone as experienced as I am in the kitchen…it’s only been 66 years that I have been eating and going on 45+ years that I have been cooking…but something else just happened that “blows me away”, so to speak. I wish I could blow away at this point. What was I thinking when I decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner?
My task this morning was to take the turkey out of the icebox, (praying that it was thawed) putting it in the brine and back in the IB for the day.
Sounds simple, right?
With plastic work gloves on (that I had worn last night to clean the oven…yes, I washed them well) I removed the packaging from the turkey. It seemed to be well thawed with some parts still frozen where I had to remove the packages of giblets and neck.
I placed the turkey in a large bowl in the sink and ran cold water over the ends to finish the thawing process.
I was able to get my hand inside to retrieve the package and rinse the inside of the turkey.
Except for one important thing…there was no package of giblets. There was a neck all right…not in packaging…and some piece of indescribably sickening piece of something that looked so disgusting it made me want to throw the whole turkey away. I picked it up with my gloved hand, closed my eyes and tossed it in the trash.
I dug around inside blindly searching for the giblets. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake I have made in the past a few times…roasting the package of giblets in the turkey stuffing.
There was no package. I felt something that felt like a liver or gizzard or heart…but when I pulled it out it was fresh turkey meat.
OK…so now I have demolished the inside of the turkey. Maybe no one will notice. I think I’ll make a double batch of stuffing just in case.
Maybe the "package" will be floating in the brine later today.
I rinsed the turkey and placed it in the brine in a large stock pot. I had adjusted shelves in the refrigerator to make room for it after cleaning up the previously described mess. As I went to pick up the pot it didn't take me long to realize I couldn't lift it out of the sink.
Of course, there appeared my "knight in painting clothes" to rescue me once more.
Mi amigo Pedro made his famous cranberry sauce yesterday and it was delicious. We had a taste last night with our chicken. One good thing has happened.
This is only Wednesday…about 27 hours until show time.
I can do this!!
One way to avoid these situations is to not cook Thanksgiving dinner but then you’d miss all the fun…sarcasm intended.
With any luck at all there won’t be more blog posts on this subject.